Last night my husband and I completed a six-hour driver’s safety class, taken in order to receive a discount on our auto insurance. It was an eye opener, and I don’t mean the content of the course. I guess I’m naive, but I tend to assume that the majority of people in my town are educated, more-or-less healthy, clean themselves regularly, know the basics of polite discussion…but events like these really make me wonder.
I’ve surmised that there must be a lot of people in the world who have no one they can talk to. The instructor would ask if there were any questions and time and again someone from the class would raise a hand then launch into a long, rambling description of their own experience of hitting a deer, or some obscure feature of a car they once owned, or their fears regarding all the bad, other drivers on the road (not them, of course). I could just hear my mother the Kindergarten teacher (after asking for questions) gently reminding an overly talkative student: “Have you got a question for me, Johnny?” or “Can you make that into a question, Abigail?”
And the guy who sat beside us? It was a miracle he was even alive, much less driving around. He sounded like he was drowning when he exhaled loudly, which he did often. The rest of the time he was either breathing like Darth Vadar or snoring in his chair, slumped down, hands resting on an enormously round, distended beer belly. Oh, and he also smelled very much like cat piss. Old cat piss. The woman on the other side of him kept moving her chair farther away and holding a tissue up to her nose.
There was a truck driver there, who really couldn’t contain himself and kept blurting out the answers that he knew before the instructor could say them himself or even ask a question. Often he’d get so ahead of himself (Kindergarten class again) that he’d start to blurt out the answer that he knew he had somewhere back in the recesses of his mind, only it wouldn’t come, so he’d interrupt the instructor with, “Oh! Yeah! The clutch–but the–and then—yeah…” and run a hand down his face and over his beard. Amazingly, the embarrassment didn’t stop him from doing the same thing every five minutes or so.
And I don’t know if it was my bored mind “going there” or not, but all of the sudden everything the instructor said was sexual. He kept talking about pumping and pumping harder on the brake pedal, then repeatedly rubbed two fingers side to side in a hole created by his other hand to show how to pump gas properly, and then kept referring to the transmission as the “tranny.” Example: “You’d be better off stripping your tranny than crashing.” But, yeah, it was probably just me.