Friday, February 7, 2014

DRIVING WITH MAMA

Mekkar first learned how to drive when he was twelve years old. His mama felt that maybe she had waited a bit too long to teach him a little bit. It was common in the region for kids, Mekkar’s age, to drive any number of motorized vehicles. The main exception was the highways away from a person’s village. Few really worried about whether one had the proper national driver’s licenses or not at that time. It was not a big concern as long as an individual could operate the vehicles and machinery in a safe and proper manner. Plus, there were not many traffic police wandering through the area either.

The sticklers for obeying all the national driving laws were always individuals who were employed by some money-grubbing government agency. Way down south the minimum age limits for obtaining the correct driving documents are much higher. This stuff was for the big city folk not us country people, thought Mekkar.

Mekkar and his mama were about to begin his first driving lesson together. He thought, in his mind, that it was an unfortunate thing that his mama was his driving instructor. He preferred to take these lessons from his papa instead because Henrik was calmer and laid back. His mama was too feisty and not patient in his opinion. Mekkar’s papa was less likely to react in a manner that would result in him getting frustrated and distracted. Especially, if Mekkar made any inexperienced driving mistakes and a possible argument might occur. Mekkar right then thought that Sirga might be just a little too crazy to teach him how to drive a car.

However, the boy realized that he needed to make the best of it and appreciate the opportunity to learn offered to him at this time of how to drive a vehicle. Another benefit was he also got to spend time with his mama. More experiences to develop his own growing independence streak were important issues with him too. It was a stage that Mekkar was going through as he was getting older. Becoming more self-sufficient would only be a larger concern to him in his teenage years. Sirga said that many people her son’s age have those same attitudes. Many emerging young people gain the mindset of wanting to show themselves as capable people before they reach adulthood. This is reflected by not having the desire to be constantly around their parents and pursue other interests. Mekkar’s mama admitted that she was like that also, but commented that the circumstances were very different in the post World War II era.

Sirga’s backed her nicely kept cherry red 1972 Porsche 911 Carrera sports car from the garage. Mekkar excitedly opened the door so he could hop in behind the wheel and his mama moved over to the passengers’ side. She reminded her son that this two-seat prime machine came right off the line, brand new, from the factory. The boy was trying to get the clutch and shifter timing down as they drove away from the house. After about twenty minutes they reached a flat stretch of highway. There were few cars on the road where they at during this part of the day. It was a very flat terrain with little overwhelming visible scenery for Mekkar to be distracted by. This was not a major highway like an Interstate freeway in America or the multi lanes of the German autobahn. In this section, it is primarily one lane going each way side by side with large center divider. Every so often there would an extra lane so slower vehicles could be easily passed. The average driving speed was fast, higher than the posted limits. The season didn’t matter either even when the road was like an ice sheet during wintertime.

The weather was a nice sunny day and not too hot for Mekkar’s liking. They were cruising along at about one hundred miles per hour (160.93 kilometers per hour). Mekkar was now feeling confident as a driver. However, his mama wanted to give him a surprise test. So, without slowing down Sirga reached over from the passenger’s side with her leg and her foot slammed on the brake. Well, Mekkar had to react quickly to get out of the slide they were now in. When he regained control of the vehicle, he lost his cool and yelled at his mama, “What are you doing? Are you crazy?”

Sirga’s reaction was not what he expected at all due to her usual straightforward intense demeanor. This time she was sort of calm which surprised him. It was the total opposite from her normal personality. Before long, Mekkar’s mama did return to her usual character and snapped at him, “First of all, don’t you talk to me like that!” The car was still moving as he was attempting to gather his wits. She then slapped Mekkar across the face with a whap and it stung. Mekkar replied back in a sharp tone, but he was focusing on steering the car as it slid off to the side of the road into an open field.

As they came to a stop, Mekkar was glad that he didn’t roll the car. He repeated again, “What did you do that for?” He added, “Why did you slam on the brake while I was driving your car at that speed? You do know this is my first driving lesson.” Mekkar’s mama responded, “I chose this area because the ground is relatively flat here. I felt that there was little chance of rolling the car over here. If you slide off the road, no big deal!” She continued on, “I have driven this road many times, so I knew what to expect. Also, it is easy to get back on the road again after going off the highway”. Sirga went on further, “I started to see that you were confident in your ability to handle the car. You know how long winter is and it’s coming soon. You should already know this through previous experience.” Mekkar took this as a backhanded compliment from his mama. The motor was never shut off throughout this ordeal. The youngster next put the car in the right gear, got back onto the road and the driving lesson continued. At this point, the flustered Mekkar just wanted to have this training time over with and get home as soon as possible.