I just finished rereading “A Man Called Ove.” While there is a lot of angst within its pages, there is also a marvelous amount of humor. One chapter had me laughing out loud, in which the main character, an older, rather rigid man, teaches his young Iranian immigrant neighbor how to drive. Oh, what memories this section evoked.
A couple of months before I left for medical school (at the ripe old age of 19), my father decided, for obscure reasons, that I needed to learn to drive and get a drivers license. Our family had only relatively recently purchased its first car – and by the way, my mother was in the hospital in mid-Manhattan. So my father decided that I learn to drive – in mid-Manhattan. I was terrified, but managed miraculously not to inflict any mortal injury on either the vehicle or its occupants. He also decided that I take my driving test in . . . mid-Manhattan. I stumbled, so to speak, passably through it – that is until the final full stop, at which I neither stopped nor fully did so. When the man administering the test informed me that I therefore would fail, I broke out in tears. I informed him that I was leaving NYC shortly, would not have time to retake the test, and, not so incidentally, I would have one unhappy parent awaiting me. The instructor asked me if I planned to return to New York. I replied, not if I could help it. “Really?” he said. “Really!” I replied. “In that case he said, I will pass you.”
And so I went to Chicago, drivers license in hand, and only many years later would have the ability to purchase a car – much less drive it!