Edith and the Driver Safety Class

The Sun Coast Retirement Center was hosting a class on Driver Safety sponsored by AARP. Since Edith still drove and wanted to save some money on her car insurance, she signed up.

Of course, Edith knew all the other participants with the exception of a couple of outsiders who were “townies.”

The morning arrived and Edith, coffee mug in hand, came in to sit next to the instructor. Edith greeted the other classmates with her usual smiling oblivion to their subtle body language that said “Oh boy, are we in for trouble today.” Even though her glaucoma surgery had gone well, she had never been one to read the clues others sent her way. Not that she cared what they might be.

June, the 70 something instructor, started the class on time and explained that they would be done in 4 hours, including a break for lunch. There were booklets and name tags laid out for everyone and the video was set up and ready to go.

The first unit was about “Why Are We Here?”  One of the hazards of driving at an older age was getting on and off highways. Edith, of course, had an opinion about this: “If I have my turn signal on, those other cars should move over! They’ve got other lanes!”Edith and the Driver Saftey Class

Everyone rolled their eyes or stared at their booklet. June moved on.

When the next unit was about “What’s Changing?”, Edith had even more to say. “Well I take 18 pills a day. Those are the ones I tell my doctor about. I don’t count all the supplements. After all, they’re all natural so what can be the harm.”  June tried to interject that some over the counter vitamins were very powerful. It was lost on Edith who had read in Reader’s Digest about the benefits of each and every one.

Vision and hearing changes were discussed. Since her surgery, Edith felt she had perfect vision and her hearing was acute. She could hear what was whispered at the next table. How do they think she knew about everything going on?

Brain health? “Well of course my brain is healthy! I might be a little slower in reaction time, but who notices?” Obviously not Edith. She just ignored the honking horns and screech of brakes thinking the other drivers were not concentrating.  And as for flexibility, she preferred to think that her stiff neck was not a liability. That’s what mirrors are for. What blind spot?  Her old car didn’t have GPS, Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems, nor a working cruise control so Edith zoned out during those pages and started to wonder about lunch.

Unit three. Halfway. They say you have to check your car’s fluids, brakes, and seatbelts. You are supposed to be 10 inches from your steering wheel at your chest. Edith, being short, has to move closer to hit the brakes. Of course, she has to see the road between the steering wheel and the dashboard too. They just couldn’t make a car to fit Edith. Estelle, her 12 year old car, was just fine and she certainly wasn’t going to pop for any custom adjustments at this stage in her life.

A bunch of boring stuff Edith already knew, like lane markings and passing zones, followed. Edith daydreamed about the cupcakes she saw during the bathroom break.  While the class was talking about roundabouts, Edith was thinking chocolate and sprinkles.Edith and the driver safety class

At last! Lunch was brought into their classroom and she raced to be first. Everyone stayed out of her way. “Fish sticks again! When are they going to serve us REAL fish? Was this even in the ocean? What do you think Christine? Are you going for the meatballs instead?”

Lunch over, apple juice consumed, and it was back to Unit 4: What Strategies Apply? It was news to Edith that the new guideline for length between cars was the 3 second rule and that June recommended that it was best to yield to everyone else. “ Really?  I think they should respect my age and yield to me!” By now, June had plenty of practice with Edith and ignored her. Skids, backing up, deer and even sharing the road with others – like big semis- were covered very quickly. June was on a schedule and didn’t want to be interrupted.

By now it was 1:30 and everyone was interested in getting out of there. Edith decided to shut up and help speed things along. This unit on What About the Future? dealt with getting older drivers off the road. Since Edith was such an excellent driver and no hazard to anyone, she didn’t really care about her own future, but she sure had ideas about other seniors driving. “Pay close attention to this, Dan. You need to turn in your keys!” Dan gave her the finger under the table. Sun Coast had a van to take residents to the grocery store or doctor’s office. They were forever grateful that Edith rarely used it.

The last unit was review. Edith was already mentally “out of there” and thinking about her bridge club. Wait until she told the girls about this class! None of them drove anymore so she could embellish all she wanted. Just the scenario Edith liked: a good story spiced with a tiny bit of truth!


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4 responses to “Edith and the Driver Safety Class”

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  1. Sandy Yocum says:

    Edith reminds me of a relative. We were never sure how our relative passed the driver’s test, but we were out of state and much of it was out of our hands. Love your posts.

  2. Carolyn says:

    Edith, is your husband’s name Archie? If so, you are too good for him!

  3. Karen says:

    Good ole Edith. Everyone knows someone like her.

  4. Judy says:

    Wonder what Edith was like at 70, 60, 50, 25?! The same, only with less wrinkles… or like were (are) at those ages. I always wonder about that when I visit Jane and see Ediths in all the hallways and common areas. What is our destiny? Oh dear… oh well…oh, Lord…