So here's something you should know about me: I didn't learn to drive until I was 23. I got my license at 19 but never actually drove a car until I was 21 and not with any kind of regularity until I was 23. I don't think I took another human being in my car until I was 24. Driving has always been an issue for me.
When most people are 15, their parents begin to take them out in the family car to learn to drive. Nothing fancy, just some back roads, some parking lots, what have you. That way when the child is 15 and a half and enters drivers ed, he or she knows which one is the gas and which one is the break, and some rudimentary steering techniques, so as not to endanger the instructors or anyone else outside the immediate family. My parents did not do this. The first time I sat in the driver's seat of a car was with a scary old italian man with hairy knuckles who had never encountered a 15 year old who had no idea how to drive. Needless to say, it did not go well and I did not attempt Drivers Ed again until I was 19 and prepared to actually get a license.
My parents attribute my unwillingness to drive as a direct result of having learned to drive the riding lawn mower at an early age. I grew up on almost two acres of flat, grass covered land that had to be mowed frequently, and so my dad taught me to ride the lawnmower, probably when I was 11 or 12. I would get that lawnmower going in 5th gear and ZOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM. Except that several times, even with the absolute visibility, I hit a tree or the fence. Hard. And they are probably right. It did scare me a bit to think that I could do that in a car. Trees don't sue. At least, not yet.
But all this not driving affected my sense of direction and caused me to never have any idea how to get anywhere. I don't even know the real names of roads. I think of them as that one by Ruby Tuesday or, in a famous incident: Dead Raccoon Road. In Greensboro, where I went to school, there was a road that is much like our New Center Drive, not in that it is clogged with huge discount stores, but that it connected College and Market, also the two main roads of Greensboro. Or at least I think that's true. But anyway, one night I saw a man by the side of the road, cradling a raccoon in his arms and giving it what totally looked like CPR. Subsequently, I have no recollection of what the actual name of this road is, which makes it difficult when we go home to visit.
As we are doing this weekend. Dead Raccoon Road, here I come.