Walking down to celebrate Rachel’s passing the driving test with lunch at Bizen, we were hailed from across the road by a man in a parked car. “Did you pass?” he called out. I didn’t recognize him and couldn’t imagine that he was talking to us. “Did she pass?” he said again. I noticed the teenage girl standing on the sidewalk behind him, also looking at us and smiling, and that it was a white sedan. The girl testing before Rachel had been in a white car. I hadn’t seen her or her parent, but they had seen us. We all nodded happily and exchanged congratulations.
There is probably no easier place on earth to take a driving test than here in Great Barrington, but it was nerve-wracking nonetheless. As the “sponsor,” I had to sit in the backseat but keep my mouth firmly shut, “or I’ll fail, Mom!” I actually considered putting something in my mouth to keep myself quiet. Rachel must be a true Londoner: she learned to drive late and reluctantly and doesn’t really want to have to do it. But as she might end up working somewhere much more remote than this, where people drive all-terrain trucks, and she wants to be able to go to the theatre this summer and to the airport and train station, she buckled down to it.
We’ve been talking about the long saga of her learning to drive. One favorite moment was when I discovered she was studying the British driving manual without realizing what it was. All the signs were different, and the illustrations were backwards. I guess that wasn’t the best start.