Thank you Mom and Dad for ‘teaching’ me how to drive

November 15, 2019 — by Shama Gupta

Thank you, Mom, for getting over your fear of being in the car with me, and for teaching me how to “keep everyone alive when I’m behind the wheel.” Witnessing you being uncomfortable in the passenger seat has been a blast so far. 

Thank you for telling me to change lanes. Thank you for looking at my blindspot at the same time I do, before finally turning back to me and telling me that I didn’t check my blindspot. I know that moms don’t really have eyes on the back of their heads, but I didn’t expect this!

Anyway, I seriously think it’s a safety hazard that you also choose to text my sister while I’m trying to drive. I know going places is a lot more fun for you since I started doing the “driving” part of it, but I’m not a professional yet. And if you don’t help me get better now, I’m going to fail my driving test (on Dec. 20 — if you don’t see me driving spring 2020, don’t ask me why — I probably failed). 

But most of all, thanks for all the iconic things you say to me while I drive. Here are some of my favorite ones:

“When are you going to get the ‘student driver’ sticker from your friend? You really need it, you’re annoying everyone on the road.” It’s been more than six months, Mom. I’m really sorry, but I procrastinated that one so long that I don’t think I need it anymore. 

“Hold the wheel tighter. If you hold it this flimsy during the test, the instructor will fail you on the spot! And you think that you’re stronger than me …” OK, I will admit I was being careless that one time, but hey, I’m most definitely still stronger than you.

“WHY is your reaction time so slow? I didn’t put you in sports as a kid for this.” Mom, I’m pretty sure I have a good reaction time. Maybe this is because of your reaction time in noticing my reaction time. So don’t worry, all the rides to sports practices weren’t for nothing.

And although these are great, what’s a “thank you for teaching me how to drive” letter if I don’t mention Dad? 

So thank you, Dad, for roasting my height. Personally, I think I’m the average height for my age, but I guess average isn’t good enough. After I adjust the seat he’s sat in, he says “Shama, you’re SO close to the wheel. Why are you so short? You need to drink more water and eat more and grow taller.” And to this, I honestly have no response. 

Thank you for knowing how to get anywhere. Seriously, your sense of direction is crazy good. But I find your directions hard to follow when you tell me to drive on the left lane, only to say that I need to take a right just before the intersection. I know I should be flexible and patient on the road, but that becomes hard with these instructions. 

Thank you for telling me to slow down when I’m going 28 in a 25. Of course, this doesn’t apply when I drive with my sister, who thinks my seat positioning makes it hard for me to step on the accelerator (seriously). But, I heard that our neighbor got a speeding ticket for going 30 in a 25, so I’ll take your advice seriously on this one. 

In all seriousness, thank you guys for teaching me how to drive. I know that you guys are both doing it so I’ll be able to drive away from home and into the real world, but I’m learning so that I can drive right back to you. And Mom, don’t worry. I know I didn’t inherit your and Dad’s sense of direction, but the GPS will guide me when I’m lost.