Hell on wheels, Part I

Everybody remembers the day they got their drivers license. It is the one time in life where you don’t mind going to the DMV to stand in line and wait for hours on end to get the beautiful plastic proof that says you are somehow qualified to drive. A day full of great memories, right? Oh for so many that is so true…and yet for some of us…

I guess I should start from the beginning. My birthday is in September. And I didn’t want to waste an entire semester taking boring Drivers Ed. Who does? I didn’t want to sit behind practice machines or watch horrible movies about “Susie didn’t wear her seatbelt – so she ended up a messy smear on the Interstate” or something like that. And I certainly didn’t want to do the so-called driving course that was spray painted in the back of my high school. No thank you. So my parents very graciously enrolled me in A-1 Driving School in downtown SLC on 400 South which took I think 2-3 weeks vs. a 14 week semester (or something like that).

I was so excited to go learn about “driving”. The second I stepped into the class I felt like I had somehow graduated to being an adult. Driving a car was serious and only very cool, very mature, and very highly sophisticated individuals got to drive cars around. And then I remembered my meathead skier boyfriend…so maybe not.

Still, I was excited for the challenge. I expected that my class of driving compadres would all be nearly 16 year olds like myself, all tittering with joyful anxiety to get our arses out on the road. Boy, was I ever wrong.

First off, I was the ONLY almost 16-yr-old in the bunch. Second, I was the only girl. Okay, that’s not entirely true. There was an Asian couple but the wife never spoke or said boo to anyone. So I half forgot she was there most of the time anyway.

Here’s how the class roll played out:

  • Me – an excited, “can’t-wait-to-get-my-hands-on-my-license-soon” 15 year old
  • Joe – a 19 year old who had had his license revoked and was trying to get it back
  • The Ying-Yangs (that’s what I called them) – the Asian couple that had only been in Utah for something, like, 2 days…oh, and only the husband spoke and UNDERSTOOD English
  • Hairy Larry – a truck driver who had been driving commercial trucks for 8 years – without a license mind you – and finally decided he should become legal
  • Toto the Monk. I am DEAD SERIOUS. I had a monk all dressed in his monky garb as part of my class. Big, swaddling, orange mandariny robes and all. He NEVER SPOKE EVER.

Aaaaaand that was it. Well, except for my driving instructor who looked like Telly Savalas after an 8 year Krispy Kreme binge. That was my illustrious driving group. I really wish I would’ve had some sort of class portrait because it absolutely would’ve been suitable for framing. Our lovely driving family captured for all time just for my own amusement.

We lost Joe pretty quickly. I didn’t know it at the time (because I was quite the naive young lass) but I wondered why Joe always left these funny rolled up papers in a pile outside of the driving door entrance. Yeaaah…Joe was on the Kick Stick. He was having his last dance with Mary Jane but the music never ended, so he quit coming after the first test we had. Because he got an F. Adios, Joe.

The car we had was an oversized Lincoln something-or-other, equipped with the Instructor side brakes. I came to hate those brakes. Telly was overly anxious and very tap-happy. Sitting in the back of the car, I swear I had whiplash half the time.

We went to Sugarhouse Park for our first driving experience. I was brimming with anticipation and really, really wanted to go first. But Hairy Larry got go-ahead from Telly, mainly because he pretty much knew how to drive. Heck, he was driving unruly 18 wheelers cross country and a dinky little Lincoln sure wasn’t going to be any problem. Hairy Larry got behind the wheel, expertly took us around the park, and I remember thinking, ‘I can do that‘. He never had to come out driving with us again. He passed with flying colors. Dang Hairy Larry.

Oh, but there was so much fun in store with the rest of us left in the car…stay tuned for Hell on Wheels, Part II.

Just wait, Amy, the good part is coming. 🙂



  1. Amy Goeser · August 7, 2009

    AHHHH! You can’t stop there! I’m waiting…………

  2. Pingback: Hell on Wheels, Part II « The Eyes have it

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