Monday, April 8, 2013

G - Changing Gears

The powder-blue car lurched forward awkwardly. “Give it more gas! Give it more gas! Let off the brake more slowly! What have I been telling you?? Can you not hear me?!” David shouted at his daughter from the passenger seat.

“I’m trying! Stop yelling!” fifteen-year-old Kelsey shouted back.

“Don’t you yell at me, missy!” her father hissed as the car sputtered.

”I just can’t get it. I just can’t,” Kelsey wailed.

“Stop acting like a little kid! You’re not 10. Just do what I told you. And stop stalling the car! You’re tearing up my engine. Are you going to pay for it when you destroy it?? ‘Cuz I don’t think you have that kind of money. Show a little respect for my vehicle. Now put on your turn signal and go left up here,” he ordered.

“I just want to go home,” Kelsey whined.


Kelsey was almost in tears now. She just wanted out. “But, Dad –“

“Young lady, you *will* do what I told you to do. Right now. Make a left turn at the next light.”

Kelsey was shaking. Which one was the blinker? She fumbled for it as he yelled again.  “Use your signal! What do you want – for us to get hit?!” he screamed and flipped on the signal himself. “Geez! How did your driver’s ed teacher have the patience for this? You could not pay me enough to have that job! I can’t believe he passed you!”

Kelsey sat at the light, unsure of what to do. “Dad, what do I – how do I –“

“Just turn! It’s not rocket science!”

She turned the wheel. David reached over and promptly yanked the wheel back in the other direction. “I thought it went without saying that you yield to the traffic, moron! Are you trying to kill us?!”

Stunned, Kelsey got through the rest of the lesson the best she could. But that was the day it had all changed for her. It wasn’t about her learning to drive or grinding the gears or even making her father angry. It was the way her father had spoken to her that day. The way he had treated her. Something inside snapped. She’d show him what it meant to change gears.


  1. Just one of the many reason I think the age for driving needs to increased, not decreased. Kids, are kids and they really aren't ready at that young age to drive. Traffic is so much worse everywhere then when I was young and learned...but then we didn't get our permits the day we turned 15.5 either.

    I remember drivers ed...some of the kids in my car scared the heck out of me, and I didn't feel safe being in the car with them. So...yea maybe adults yell. I taught my DD to drive and it was pretty smooth. She had graduated from HS, was 18. Hubby taught her to park. It's better for the kids, the car, the parents, and the insurance to wait until they're older.


    1. I agree. It was nerve wracking for me to learn. A yelling parent never helps either.

  2. This makes me think of when my dad tried to teach me how to drive a manual shift. He yelled at me instead of explaining what to do. When I was in my late 20s and doing well financially, I decided to finally learn how to drive one by buying one. The car dealership guy finally taught me how to drive the guy when I took my test drive! LOL

    From A to Z, Kristen's blog:

    1. Yes, my dad did that too. Thanks for reading!