Back when I was in high school I took a class in driver education. It was one step putting me a little closer to becoming an adult. Like any new driver I was nervous. Very nervous. Suppose I couldn’t control the vehicle, what then? There would be serious consequences. Maybe someone would get hurt…badly.
I learned to drive in one of those specially equipped cars that had two sets of pedals. A set of pedals for the driver and another set of pedals for the passenger. Just in case. I didn’t actually get behind the wheel of a car for a month or two. First you had to learn all the symbols and rules and laws. After that you had to learn about the windshield wipers and turn signals and rear view mirrors and things like that.
When I finally did get to sit at the wheel of that specially equipped vehicle I adjusted the seat, reached up and fiddled with the mirror a bit and pushed on the brake pedal a few times before leaving the parking lot. We went down the road forward about a mile and a half in a pretty much straight line and then pulled over to the side so I could rest for a minute. Then we did a little reverse move and went back in the opposite direction ending up right where we started. Pretty cool. The second time I went driving (with the instructor) we went forward in a straight line for a much further distance and then tried a right hand turn. We drove straight some more and then made a couple more right turns and got back to were we started again.That was cool because we didn’t go the same way to get to the beginning. The next week or so I practiced different kinds of parking and I was getting better when a car wanted to pass and I even passed a car myself.The big lesson was driving on the highway. Learning to merge and then flow and mingle with all the other people. That’s what I remember most, learning how to merge. Getting out there on the highway with all the other adults, merging into traffic, watching out for each other, everyone keeping up a good flow. There may be a few stops or obstacles along the way but mostly everyone moving forward together, changing lanes once in awhile still keeping in the track and getting on with their independent adult lives.
I’ve been driving many years now and I’ve come to find out that a lot of adults don’t really merge all that well. To keep traffic moving along and maintaining that forward flow takes a bit of give and take. Too many times adults aren’t watching out for all the other adults (and children) that are on the same road. It’s always better for everyone if each of us gives just a little. Maybe if everyone had to redo that driver education course and take a lesson in merging our highways would be a bit safer and more friendly.
Being friendly and safe brings me to another topic. I didn’t really want to weigh in on this debacle in Washington about the debt ceiling that has been going on the past several weeks. I figure there have been enough experts, commentators and pundits to cover the topic thoroughly, not to mention the hours and hours of energy already burned by the whole D.C. Gang. A vast amount of energy that should have been used to solve some of the problems of this country. The whole affair is shameful. I have no illusions about our representatives in congress. Some very intelligent, others extremely dedicated and others just plain nit wits. I did imagine though that all of these people were adults and just like me, before they could become an adult they had to take a driver education course and learn how to merge. That’s one of the important things adults are supposed to know. How to merge and keep a good forward flow. The whole Washington Gang should be ashamed. The entire affair is pitiful. What kind of people are these that we are allowing to drive this country and don’t know how to merge?
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