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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Not the smartest choice I've made

Yesterday, my neighbor came over.

That's never good.

In the past, that usually meant helping her move furniture. I had a husband and a teenage step-son who she was constantly asking for help. When she figured out that we were tired of helping her, she would wait until the adults left and come pester my step-son. Eventually, my step-son reached adulthood and moved out, and I got a divorce.

And then I married a man with tattoos.

She hasn't been around much since.

I'm pretty sure she's afraid of him.

But yesterday, she came over. It was quite funny because all the dogs were upstairs and doing their usual "let's eat the stranger" act, so I kept the screen door closed while I talked to her. My screen door is one of those where the glass slides up - exposing the screen in the middle of the door. It always amuses me when people lean down to the screen to talk - like I couldn't possibly hear them if they just stood normal and talked. And that's what she did. She has gotten very slow in her older age, so it always takes her a while to get to the point.

Apparently, she had gone to renew her drivers' license and has passed the age where they let you just renew. You have to retake the driver's test. So, they issued her a permit and instructed her to come back the next day - but she needed to have a licensed driver with her. That's where I come in. Would I be willing to go with her today so she could take her test? I didn't hesitate to say yes. For all that she can be very annoying, she doesn't really have anyone. Her son and grandson live out of state, and while she attends church regularly, I don't see anyone come by the house to spend time with her. Of course I would help her out.

I didn't think much of it until I got in her car this morning.

I am willingly getting in a car with someone the State of Montana isn't sure if they should give a drivers' license to.

That's kind of scary.

She pulled out of her driveway, crossing the traffic lines into the wrong lane. Okay. No oncoming cars. It certainly wouldn't be the first person I saw do that. She's a little slow about shifting gears, but so far, so good. And then we turned a corner. Too fast! And then we came to a traffic light. Her car was way too far out into traffic! More scary turns, some late signaling, no signaling for lane changes. I was feeling REALLY grateful for the seatbelt I was wearing.

And then I had the horrifying thought - what if they don't pass her and she's not allowed to drive anymore?

I have a feeling she's going to be asking me to drive her places.

Like most downtown areas, ours is a series of multi-lane one-way streets. When she couldn't decide which lane she wanted, she slowed down to about 2 mph while she thought about it. The car behind us honked. She pulled up to a stop light. It turned green. She sat there and thought about it. The car behind us honked. We got turned onto the street she wanted and got stopped by the train. As most people do, she put the car in park until the train passed. Once it was gone, she stayed in Reverse just a little too long before getting the car in the right gear. I'm sure the driver behind us had a mild heart attack as we started rolling backwards - but at least this driver didn't honk.

When we got to the DMV, I happily waited inside with my book while she took her test. I guess she did okay because they passed her.

And I lived to tell the tale...


Kate said...

SCARY! Oh my gosh!