It’s been a big week. This is something I want to start doing each Saturday evening as I mellow out after a long, arduous five days. Yes, only 5 days, but each one was 10 hours long at least. I measure my work days from the time I get into Argenta & fire her up, until I arrive home & shut her off. Everyday this week has started with a 7:00am or 8:00am lesson, which means I need to haul my arse out of bed at least 90 minutes prior to rolling up where-ever I’m supposed to be. 5:30am wake-up calls are hard when you’re 58 years of age, believe you me.
But…..once I’m awake and in the groove, I enjoy the company of 90% of the people I see. We talk, I teach, I learn, they learn, and hopefully, I’m helping deliver a new breed of driver to the roads of Australia. One that is more critical of their own performance, as well as that of those around them. One that will, hopefully, teach those who come after them in a similar fashion to me.
I especially like taking out the girls. Hey, what man wouldn’t? It’s not like that though, I enjoy the company of every single woman who has ever been in my car. They talk to me, they share their lives with me, and in return, I show them how to stay out of trouble, avoid hazards and basically keep driving safely, hopefully for life. Very few of the young men I take out engage on the same level. I have 17 year old ladies who will swear like longshoremen, and young ladies who place their trust in me to help them out in their very private lives. It’s rather strange some days, especially when a ‘client’ asks me what I would think about having my daughter’s boyfriend sleep over. Mind you, my daughter is 30 years of age & her own woman, has been for the last decade at least. I look at these kids and wonder why they ask me these questions, and not their parents?
The males – can’t call them ‘boys’ because physically, they’re not. Mentally…..well, that’s an entirely different issue. It’s scientifically understood that males mature more slowly than females. I can attest to that from my position as someone teaching each gender to do something that we are not naturally attuned to do. The young men I take out rarely engage with me as the ladies do, probably because they expect me to be something that I’ll never be. The grumpy old man teaching kids to drive. It’s not me. Still, the rare one will, and that fills me with warm fuzzies and feelings of success. To me, it’s an honour if I can get a young man on side, actually listening to me and acting on the advice I try to give them. I have one very special ‘mate’ at the moment, who is THE most confident young man learning to drive I have ever met. His Mum & Dad are wonderful people, and Mitch himself is equally a product of their upbringing. I fear for Mitch……and this will seem strange……because of his confidence. It only takes one errant mistake on test day to really screw up a confident personality. Don’t get me wrong, Mitch can out-drive anyone I currently take out, by a long way. He is always grateful to me for taking him out, which is somewhat embarrassing as I really enjoy doing it. It’s also embarrassing to have his Dad chase me up the road so he can pay me the $65 for the 90 minutes I just spent with his son. Max, if you read this, don’t ever do that again!!!! I know where you live and money isn’t why I do what I do. Yeh, it keeps the car running & my mortgage paid, but that’s not why I do what I do.
Which brings me to the purpose of writing about my week. It’s not all bubbles & fizz. I have some really difficult clients. Some have cognitive issues and at least one I have refused point blank to take out again. I don’t need to live my life in fear of dying, even if I do have dual controls in the car. Some risks simply aren’t worth taking. Making those decisions hurts, but I know for me, it’s a necessary decision. Move on, help those who can be helped with the knowledge that I have and the expertise I can offer. I am not a psychologist even though the human mind fascinates me. I want…..NEED…..to bring people to success. There are some of us who simply should not be in control of a deadly weapon on the roads. Sadly, there already are some. One need only drive around the roads that I do to see that. I worry about the kids I take out. I tell every one of them once they pass the Practical License Assessment, that I was told this arvo to call a test – thanks Ali – that I don’t want to read their name in an obituaries list. Hopefully, that simple goodbye means something. I live in hope.