Our mother was not known for her superior driving skills. In fact, she was a menace on the road. Her parking skills were legend and no doubt she was used by the Department of Motor Vehicles as an example of what not to do when parallel parking. She seemed to fight the steering wheel and was a real hands on driver, when she wasn’t trying to slap me for questioning her ability to drive safely.
Mother never liked constructive criticism and always believed she was an excellent defensive driver. She was defensive alright but not in the true definition of the word. Mother thought the rules of the road were for everybody else and she didn’t have to pay much attention to signs, traffic lights or speed limits. Sometimes she drove so slowly, we thought she might have drifted off to sleep. Other times, you would swear she was trying out for a position at the Indianapolis 500.
As with so many other aspects of her life, Mother’s driving was a matter of one extreme or the other.
Somehow, with her horrible sense of direction and lack of common sense driving skills, she escaped the long arm of the law. She never received a ticket, never lost her license and never learned how to parallel park. She was never arrested for driving under the influence either, despite many nights when she closed down the bar and drove husband number three, who was even more drunk, back to their little abode. The fact that she was never pulled over and breathalyzed is a miracle.
I had one speeding ticket over thirty years ago and have never been charged with an accident. Recently, my car had a problem with sudden acceleration and caused an accident. The next thing I knew, my driving skills were being questioned and I was ordered to retake the written, driving, and vision tests. I was also ordered to have my doctor review my medical history to make sure I was safe to drive. Failure to comply would have meant a suspension of my license. I am still reeling as to how this could happen to me and yet Mother’s driving record was never called into question.
There is something very strange about this set of circumstances. Or as I like to say, something’s not adding up. Our mother, who refused to follow the rules and went though life parking on the odd side of the street, never had her driving license revoked. And now I am a marked driver. I just hope I don’t have to wear a scarlet letter!