Driving Ms. Crazy (in Norway)
Posted on September 4, 2013
My childhood Sundays were spent at Grandmother´s house with the entire family. We may not have always made it to church, but as far back as I can remember, we made it to Grandma´s. I looked forward to spending time with aunts, uncles, cousins, and the endless buffet of food, but the highlight was getting there.
As Daddy turned turn off Highway 231 onto the clay road, my excitement would escalate. And each week, after crossing the railroad track, he would pull over to let me climb onto his lap so I could drive the remaining 1.82 mile stretch to Grandma´s. Occasionally he would forget, but I would remind him. I can still feel the bouncing sensation of the steering wheel as the car made it´s way across the washboard like road. I remember the dust the car kicked up on the dry days and I can remember almost sliding into the ditch after a good rain. `Driving on clay can be just as slippery as ice´, Daddy would say.
As I approached driver´s license age, I began to pester the daylights out of my parents about getting my driver´s permit, and on my fifteenth birthday no one was going to rest until Kim was driven to take her exam!
Thirty years later, I find myself puzzled as our sixteen year old NEVER asks to drive.
In Norway, kids get their driver´s license at eighteen. However, they may take Driver´s Ed at sixteen and begin practice-driving in the same manner American kids do under their restricted license regulations.
This being Norway, there are of course added requirements. As of 2012, before a child can begin driving, the parent, or whoever is going to be teaching the child to drive, must also sit through a refresher course to earn the GIANT RED “L” that must be placed on the car when a `Learner´ is driving. And, since I relatively recently completed Driver´s Ed in Norway, I managed to convince Dream Baby he needed the refresher more than I.
Five months after his sixteenth birthday, and six months after Sr. earned his giant red “L”, Jr. has STILL not mentioned signing up for Driver´s Ed, practice driving, saving for his own car, nor any of the things I am certain I drove my parents NUTS over!
So, this past Saturday, out of the clear blue…
Dream Baby pulls over, gets out of the car, walks around to my side and kicks me out of shotgun, all while mumbling something about he had to take the refresher course so he SURE wasn´t gonna sit in the back seat. He then TOLD a surprised Jr. to take the wheel.
OH LAW! I was a nervous wreck, and a horrific back seat driver!
It´s one thing to learn gradually over the course of years on a flat dirt road. But, to give MY CAR to a sixteen year old boy, who thinks he is an expert at driving because he has rounded ALL of the the Need for Speed games, is INSANE!
Did I mention we were on the side of a mountain?
Eliane and Esten thought it was great fun, wanted to know when they would get their turn, and egged him on by saying, `Faster Erling faster´!
I was filled with less uplifting comments like:
slow down, Slow Down, SLOW DOWN!
stay on the road, Stay on the Road, STAY ON THE ROAD!
and stop, Stop, STOP!
I received a piercing stare from Dream Baby´s crystal blue eyes, and one was bulging.
So I began occupying myself with taking pictures of the experience instead of vocalizing every single thought that crossed my mind.
It was NOT easy to bite my tongue.
Because along the hairpin turns
we met bikers, joggers, blueberry pickers, and roller skiers.
We witnessed construction, one-way bridges, and several fishing distractions.
The free roaming laws in Norway allowed for quite the livestock excitement.
But, like those that have been through this before myself, we survived….. somehow!?!
Want similar Goodness and Grit? Don´t miss this earlier post Driving in Norway !