I Don’t Know Why This Incident Has Stuck with Me for 45 Years

OK, back to the memory well one more time.

I’ve recently shared a couple of college memories (Reliving the Glory Days of College and I Consider This One of the Greatest Athletic Feats I’ve Ever Witnessedand a grade school memory (Music Monday: The Song I First Slow-Danced To), so I figured it’s time to share a high school memory.

I don’t have many fond memories of high school, and I wouldn’t consider the one I’m about to share as being a fond one, but at least it’s not a bad one.

It was my junior year, and I had recently gotten my driver’s license. One day my parents let me drive to school by myself, and I was quite excited, and I’m sure a bit nervous as well.

Everything went fine, until it was time to go home.

I was walking to my car when a fellow junior (John C.) asked if I could give him a ride home. Of course, I said yes immediately, excited by the simple fact that somebody I barely knew was willing to get in a car with me.

As we started to back out of the spot (not a skill I had practiced before), I just turned the wheel as far as it would go in one direction and pressed down on the gas pedal. I was busy looking behind me to make sure there were no pedestrians, not even aware of what was going on with the front half of my car.

That’s when John very calmly and quietly said, “keep an eye out for your front side”.

I took my foot off the gas, and turned around to look at my front end; I was less than a couple of inches away from the car parked next to me.

Fortunately, I was able to remedy the situation (with a little more help from John), and I was able to back out and drive John home.

I don’t know why this memory has stuck with me for 45 years, but I think it has influenced my driving, or should I say, parking habits to this day. When looking for a parking spot, my first choice is to always look for a pull through, so that when it is time to leave, I can just pull straight ahead. In the absence of that possibility, I am a big fan of backing into parking spots. The added effort up front is well worth it when it’s time to pull out.

So thank you, John, for teaching me a little bit about how to drive a car, and not feeling a need to yell or ridicule me as part of the lesson.

It’s one that has stuck with me for years.

2 thoughts on “I Don’t Know Why This Incident Has Stuck with Me for 45 Years

  1. I think that is a good memory! Reminds me of the time I put on the brakes at a stop sign just before I was to enter busy Columbia Pike. My foot went all the way to the floor board and the car did not stop! Shocked as I started to roll into oncoming traffic with no brakes, I somehow knew to throw the car into park and saved myself.

    No cell phones so how did I get word to my mom that I needed a tow truck? I was a few miles from home so I must have walked all the way home or to a friend’s house to call home.

    “Not a fond memory, but not a bad one either” because I ,like you, avoided an accident and learned from the experience. Now brakes have a warning sign, a high pitched wailing sound when they are beginning to get warn enough that they might fail.
    Still, I am fearful when my daughter, now aged 21, drives. I know the many things that can go wrong for inexperienced drivers and my car has the dents she’s put in it to prove it!

    I enjoy your sharing your memories, Jim, they always spark similar ones from my youth 🙂


    1. Hi Susan – that must have been scary drifting into traffic with no breaks. Thank goodness for the lizard brain kicking into action! I think we always worry about our kids driving, my oldest is 36 and my wife and I still do. And I always appreciate your comments and perspectives.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s