So, here I was –with a credit card to pay for the class and a Sponge Bob lunch box borrowed from my son. I knew that teens must take that class, but as an adult (or grown- up teen) I was not obliged take it. However, I had already decided to take it from the beginning hoping it would boost my confidence and will help with my fear to learn to drive.
Teen classes are set up for 30 hours which comes to two consecutive full weekends. Sure enough, as soon as I decided to sit in the class room, it happened to be the first warm and sunny weekend in Atlanta. Well, I showed up in the sunny Saturday morning in the class room, naturally late. The instructor, a tall strong black lady, opened the locked door and let me in. The 9 teenagers (4 boys and 5 girls) in the classroom looked at me with real surprise on their face. I had to tell them that I am from Moscow and not everyone drives there. I don’t know if they understood my accent, but nobody smiled.
I took the last row of seats, my notebook and prepared to listen all about road rules, restrictions and signs. I was sitting and patiently waiting when the actual slow and detailed process of learning driving will start. Instructor asked kids about their experience in driving and apparently all of them did pretty a good amount including highway and interstate driving. My ambitious dream was to learn how to reach the closest supermarket from my neighborhood to buy bread, but I kept quiet. Those kids had different dreams. And it was good for them. “So, That’s good! You all were on the road,”- said the instructor,- “Then, let’s move to the main stuff” The MAIN STUFF included terrifying car crashes stories the instructor was telling from her own experience. After her scary stories, she turned on a movie with even more convincing stories about dangerous driving habits and terrible weather conditions such as lightening, fog and tornados. There were real people and real stories. I don’t know how teens felt about that, but I personally was crying and sniffing, and scared even more than I was before and I wanted to stop the class right there. But the instructor locked the room. She said this was for our safety. Well, we were stuck there until the lunch time (to be continued)