In the driver's seat

Favourite Man and I got chatting about the kid yesterday - and in particular his life-skills and social coping mechanisms (most of which leave much to be desired, but are being tackled bit by bit). Well, FMan decided it was time for a bit of a learning curve.

Earlier in the day he'd helped the boy get his online banking access sorted out - after the usual struggle with numbskull institutions. The kid had sorted his passwords and how to access his account, we'd both checked that transfers of cash worked, and that was the first big educational experience of the day done.

Next though was an entirely different challenge.

FMan's current vehicle is a Land Rover Discovery 2 TD5 Automatic. Very comfy truck, easy to drive, goes smoothly in spite of a few engine niggles. Well, we loaded up the kid and headed off to a new complex-in-progress nearby. They've put in the roads, but not much else. We've often gone there for some peace, quiet and sweeping views of sunsets. Yesterday, however, was for something new.

With some serious coaxing and downright ordering, we stuck the kid in the front seat. In the DRIVER'S seat. Adjusted the sunshades so he couldn't use the "sun's in my eyes" excuse, stuck my sunglasses on his face, and FMan proceded to educate him in the uses of various pedals and levers required to get the truck to move in any direction.

He will be getting his license on a manual transmission, but auotmatic is a good choice for learning how pedal and steering wheel react to pressure/movement, so we battled the initial resistance and grumpy face at having to do something new, and off he went. Slowly. FMan had plotted a route - straight first, then a left turn down a steep hill, around the corner at the bottom and up another steep hill, turning right to get back to where we'd started, then turning the truck around to face in the original direction. No traffic to worry about, no-one else around.

And the kid did it! He took the first two turns a little sharply, but he managed to keep going in a good line, hit the accelerator sufficiently to make it back up the hill, and didn't give us whiplash with brake manipulation.

Yes, he's only 14 (turns 15 in June) - but hey, wouldn't you want to learn to drive earlier rather than later? Wouldn't you rather hit your driver's test knowing what you're doing than fresh out of driving school and still sweaty-palmed?

So it's started - the driving lessons are underway. A lot more practice will happen on the automatic while we ponder where to get a small, reliable manual for him to fiddle with. And then, if he's really good, it's on to Olivia! :-)