Had a run in with the police today. Well not a run-in but we had some explaining to do. We finally got Aaron's car running and hope to let Ronny drive it back and forth to college. 37 mpg is alot better than the 12 mpg my Dilse (my old farm truck) gets. Problem is this 96 Dodge Neon is a stick-shift and Ronny has never driven one before. So, lucky Dad gets to teach him how to drive again!
In my experience, teaching someone to drive a stick shift is kind of like nailing a raw egg to the wall. Difficult, messy, frustrating, and you usually end up breaking something. Anyhow, I knew I would need a wide open space to let him get the feel of starting from a dead stop in first gear, reversing, and listening to the engine rev when getting up to speed. The highway was out. We do not yet have a W-M- parking lot in our little town, so we went up to my dad's auction house on Thornburg mountain to practice in his parking lot which completely surrounds this former church/now auction establishment.
Ronny had some trouble at first, the obvious jerking stops, killing of the engine, squealing of tires, and revving of engine but then he soon got the hang of it and I had him drive laps (at low speed of course-never getting out of first gear) come to a stop, reverse, stop again, and the take off in first gear for another lap. After about 15 minutes he got the hang of it pretty well so we decided to head for home with me driving.
As we started to pull out of the parking lot onto State Highway 9/10 a police officer (with his wife in the front passenger seat) pulled up to us and rolled down his window. My window was already down because Aaron's Neon has not an operable air conditioner.
"You the fella dravvin laps round dis here bildin?" he asked (I am spelling like he talked)
"Yes sir" I replied.
"We got us a ree-port that dere was a sespishus man in cover-alls standin behind da auction house and a reckless driver doin laps round da building. Da ree-port says dere's a girl drivin."
I looked over at Ronny and giggled. "My Daddy owns this place", I said, "I'm just teaching my son how to drive a stick shift. "
"Ya know, dere rilly ain't no-place round here ta teach sumboddy ta drive a stickshift safely. Ceptin mebbe down at the duck field just afore you git inta town."
"Right now we're just working on getting into first gear. I didn't want to teach him out on the road."
The officer smiled; his wife was doing well to hold in a great big belly laugh that I could see was trying to work its way out. "Well, dat's da way it shood be done."
"Sorry for the trouble." I was trying to end the conversation but was unsuccessful.
"Hey dat's okay. I'm jest glad I ain't gotta wrat out a ree-port. Sumboddy jest called it in t'us."
"Probably one of my Daddy's spies."
"Uh-huh. Well you fellers have a good afternoon."
I got the feeling, as we drove back down the mountain, that the officer and his wife were returning to a now cold fried chicken and tater salad supper.
Now anyone with any common sense could see that we weren't doing doughnuts, or making Dukes of Hazzard jumps and spin-outs, never getting over 10 miles per hour, plenty of halting jerky stops, one person standing outside the car observing and an obviously inexperienced driver in the car; what crime could we be committing? I think the level of paranoia in this country is way out of proportion. In the old days (the 80's) if I had been the teenager in this situation, the neighbors would assume I was learning to drive my first stick shift and go about their business. But today I was suspicious because I was wearing overalls and standing behind the auction house in the parking lot and Ronny was a girl driving recklessly.
I blame Fox News.