Thing 1 had her first driving lesson this evening! Woo hoo! No one is more excited than me for her to get her driver's licence.....Thing 1 will be Thing 2's unofficial chauffeur when that happens, and I'm dying to give up the title myself.
Thing 1 is taking Driver's Ed, since the insurance savings is significant, and it's probably better that she learn to drive from someone who actually knows how to teach it, not just from your opinionated parents. She had the in-class stuff over the Christmas holidays, which she said was pretty boring. ("Oh, drinking and driving is bad?? You don't say! Please tell me more for another 5 hours!") Now she's doing the in-car stuff with her instructor.
I don't remember much about learning to drive. I didn't take driver's ed, so I just had some willing adults teach me how to drive. My parents were pretty good teachers, as well they should be, since they were both professional teachers at the time. (But teaching someone how to read and teaching someone how to drive are two different things.) My older brother was actually a pretty good teacher, when he was paying attention. (He tended to amuse himself when we were stopped at red lights by yelling pick-up lines at the most unattractive losers standing at bus stops, and then ducking out of sight so they thought it came from me. Good times.) I can't recall under what circumstances this happened, but a good friend of the family's, Paddy, took me out driving one day. Paddy's idea of essential driving wisdom was to point at some other, deficient driver and tell me "you want that whore in front of you, not behind you". (Note: "whore" is pronounced to rhyme with "sewer".) It must have all been good, because I've never had an accident or an infraction. (Except for one speeding ticket. I got it on my birthday when I was 26. The cop even had the balls to wish me "happy birthday" as he handed me my ticket.)
When I was 28 I bought my first car, a Toyota Tercel, which came with a manual transmission. My dad had to take it for the test run, because I'd only driven automatics. It was my brother's instruction that taught me how to drive a standard, and despite my deep misgivings, I did manage to drive that thing eventually. (It would take me ages to get home from work, usually a 15 minute drive, because I went miles out of my way to avoid a hill start. One of the women I worked with lived not too far from me, and when I'd offer her a ride home she'd sigh and give me a weary "sure", and then would call her husband to tell him she'd be late.) The only "payment" my brother wanted for teaching me how to drive a manual transmission was that I had to promise to teach someone else later; I have and extract the same promise from them.
Thing 1 is already a pretty good driver; she's cautious and responsible. She just needs a bit of practice. And I think that if you can learn to drive a minivan in a Canadian winter, you should be able to drive just about anywhere. Thing 2 in the car is a hurdle for another day.