My First Drive
I honestly can't remember the first time I drove a vehicle. When I was a kid, my dad used to hold me in his lap and let me steer. I suppose that, for the most part, kids don't get to do that much anymore.
I suppose the first car I drove was my family's white 1979 Honda Civic station wagon. It had a standard transmission, so you can imagine how rough that initial trip must have been. I do barely remember my first solo trip; it was in that Civic, going from H&R Block to my house, I think. It must have gone okay; I don't think I had any wrecks until I got my next car.
When we moved to Mongolia, we decided not to own a vehicle, at least for the time being. So, while living here, I went through my longest stretch without driving since I was 15 or so. I think I went about 18 months without driving at all. Then some friends asked us to go picnicking and boating with them. At one point, they asked me to drive their vehicle from the putting-in point back to the campsite. I agreed without giving any disclaimers about how long it had been since I had driven. Once they got on the river, I jumped in the vehicle and braced myself. It was all kinds of new. It was a 4WD, which I had never driven before. It was a right-hand drive, which I had never driven before. There were no roads to speak of, and I had to ford the river two or three times. And I was parked on an incline. I'll confess that it took me a scary five or ten minutes to get back up the incline. After that, there was no major problem. I clued the vehicle owner in to the risks he had taken once they (and I) made it safely back to camp.