“What do you think you’re doing?”
The young man behind the wheel had put on his left turn signal before pulling into the turning lane. “Um, I’m letting the driver behind me know I’m making a left,” Kevin said.
“That is totally unnecessary,” said his driving instructor. “You don’t have to use that signal until you’re actually making the turn.”
“I don’t mean to contradict you, Sir,” Kevin said, “but isn’t the point of signaling to warn people ahead of time of what you’re about to do? I mean, it’s for my protection, too. They could end up rear-ending me.”
“Well, you know who gets screwed if that happens? They do. The one who does the rear-ending always gets charged. Ha! So, don’t be so frisky with that turn signal of yours.”
Kevin sighed as he stopped for the red light.
“Now put on your signal,” said Mr. Kean, the driving instructor. Kevin complied.
“Um, Sir, don’t you think that once I’m in the turning lane, other drivers will assume it’s because I’m turning?”
“Now, Son, you have no way of knowing what other people assume.”
The light turned green, so Kevin eased into the intersection as he waited for oncoming traffic to pass.
“What do you think you’re doing now?” asked Mr. Kean. “You’re going to get us killed out here!”
“I’m getting ready to make my turn, as soon as this traffic clears,” Kevin replied. “There’s still plenty of room if someone wants to pass through the intersection.”
“Back up, I said! Get back behind that stop line.”
“But if I do that, the light may turn red again and I’ll never make my turn!”
Kevin checked the rear-view mirror and put the car in reverse. Sure enough, the light turned red again.
After making his left turn, Kevin proceeded down Turner Avenue. Mr. Kean told him to turn left again. Kevin put on the turning signal as he edged next to the center line, then came to a stop.
“Now, Son, that was the wrong thing to do.”
“What? What do you mean?”
“I mean if you want to make a left, you should pull your car all the way to the right.”
“Why? It will block all the traffic behind me,” Kevin said. “Why should they waste their time and gas waiting for me to make a turn?”
“Why? I’ll tell you why! You’ve heard of aggressive driving, right? Well this is passive-aggressive driving. And another thing. When you do pull over to the right to make a left, don’t use your signal, just turn your wheels to the left. The other drivers will be able to tell you’re making a left by the direction of your wheels.”
“That’s not the way my parents drive,” said Kevin, making his left turn.
“Well, Son, that’s why the State deemed parents unfit to teach their children to drive and made it mandatory that you learn to drive from a bona fide, certified, college-educated driving instructor such as myself,” Kean told him. “By the way, you’re driving in the wrong lane.”
“The wrong lane? No, this is the driving lane. That,” said Kevin, pointing to the left lane, “is the passing lane. That’s only for passing.”
“Well, on some roads that’s the case, but there are exceptions and route 33 going east of the city is one of those exceptions.”
“Why? Why? You gotta slow these people down. If you drive at 45 miles-an-hour in the passing lane, that’ll force them to slow down,” Kean said.
“Yeah, but everybody’s stuck. And who made you the traffic regulator?”
“Listen, Son, don’t argue. Just pull over into that so-called passing lane.”
Kevin put on his signal.
“No, no, no! Have you not heard a word I’ve said? Don’t use your signal. Keep ‘em guessing. Just drift on over into the lane.”
Kevin shook his head as he followed instructions. He needed to pass this class so he could get his license, and it wouldn’t do to disobey this guy.
“The thing you’ve got to remember is that when you’re on the road, you have to think of yourself,” said Mr. Kean. “Don’t worry about the people around you … Now, what did you go and do that for?”
“The lady wanted to get into this lane so she could make her turn. All I did was let her in!”
“Don’t you know that’s an attack on your manhood? Never, I said, never let anyone into a lane ahead of you. You think you’re being real nice, don’t you? But do you know what she’s thinking of you now? She’s thinking what a wuss pushover you are. You’ve got to maintain control!”
Kean shook his head. He looked at his watch.
“Your driving lesson is over for today. Let’s go back to the school.”
And thus another Virginia driver is born.