(A Play In One Act)
EXTRAPOLATIONS FROM OBSERVATIONS OF THE DRIVING BEHAVIOR OF THE NEXT GENERATION.
SETTING: THIRTEEN BOYS AND GIRLS, AGES 15 TO 17, ARE SEATED IN A HIGH SCHOOL CLASSROOM. THE INSTRUCTOR, CLAUDE CHICANE, SHUFFLES INTO THE ROOM. HE IS FORTY SOMETHING, BUT CARES HAVE AGED HIM.
MR. CHICANE: Good morning class. As we come to the end of the semester, I’d like to say I’ve enjoyed having you in the Second Chance Drivers Education Class here at good old Benedict Arnold High (Go, Turncoats!) Well, “enjoyed” might be putting it too strongly, especially when I recall the time Jasper took a few of us on that unexpected high speed tour through Dead Man’s Curve.
JASPER: The gas pedal stuck!
MR. CHICANE: That’s why we say, “No flip-flops.” Of course, those riding with us that day received an educational bonus by getting to see our paramedics in action when they used a defibrillator on me.
JACOB: So cool!
MR. CHICANE: We’re going to have a review now to see if you’re ready to take the DMV tests. First, I advise you strongly, not to light up a cigarette right before you begin your road test, as Clary did on her first time driving with me. Why was that wrong, Clary?
CLARY: It got in the way of my cell phone?
MR. CHICANE: I can always count on you. Any thoughts, Bella?
BELLA: It’s disrespectful, despicable, and, um, “dishealthy?”
MR. CHICANE: Please, you’re in high school—“unhealthy.”
BELLA: Well you don’t have to bite my head off. No offense, but that’s a real pain in the neck.
MR. CHICANE: My apologies.
BELLA: That’s okay. Oh, it’s also dislegal if you’re under 18.
MR. CHICANE: Unfortunately, it’s usually not. Now, how many car lengths should you stay behind the car in front of you? Jasper?
JASPER: None—you gotta climb right up on his rear end if you want the jerk to move his sorry self over to the right lane.
MR. CHICANE: Wrong. Jasper, what if you’re both already in the right lane?
JASPER: That’s what the shoulder’s for!
MR. CHICANE: What if he was already going five miles over the speed limit?
HERMIONE: RAISING HER HAND AND WAVING IT FRENETICALLY.
That doesn’t matter. If I want to go twenty miles over, I take precedence; he’s got to move over. That’s the law!
MR CHICANE: (SIGHS). So wrong. Onward and upward. What is regarded as considerate driving? Stevie? Carole? Lisa?
STEVIE: Not flipping the other guy off. But, leaning on the horn and turning on your brights is allowed.
CAROLE: I think it’s mandatory.
MR CHICANE: Do you all know the proper hand signals to use if your turn signals don’t work?
LISA: Our what now?
MR. CHICANE: Turn signals.
LISA: Oh. Is that what’s making that clicking sound when I hit the lever? I thought it was a metronome. Helps me keep time when I belt out my tunes like “Friday,” “My Jeans,” and “Baby.”
MR. CHICANE: Now, class, can you tell me what’s wrong with that?
JESSICA: Yeah, they all suck.
ELIZABETH: Big time.
MR. CHICANE: Okay, I was going for “Multi-tasking is not a good way to approach the concept of driving.” Speaking of “belt,” don’t forget to always have your seat belt on.
JESSICA: Right, if you don’t put it on for the road test, it’ll cost you points.
ELIZABETH: She’s dead right.
MR. CHICANE: Speaking of that, more than points, it could cost you your life.
KEVIN: Good one, Chichi. I’m sixteen; I plan on living forever…or longer.
MR. CHICANE: Fine. I’m just showing you easy steps to help you with your plan.
KEVIN: You sound like my father.
MR. CHICANE: I should hope so, and I hope you listen to him.
SADIE: You should listen to MY father when he’s driving! Talk about language!
MR. CHICANE: Sadie, isn’t your father a minister?
SADIE: He says that when he’s behind the wheel, he’s off the clock.
MR. CHICANE: Yes, I see a hand waving behind our basketball star. Is that you Flossie?
FREDDIE: No, it’s me. Freddie.
MR. CHICANE: I’m amazed you can see over the steering wheel. When you’re driving, I suggest you sit on a phone book.
FREDDIE: On a what now?
MR. CHICANE: Look, people need to see that someone’s driving your car. I want you to take your iPad, iPod, smartphone, laptop, and gather them all together.
FLOSSIE: So we can synch the whole pile?
MR. CHICANE: No, so you can SIT ON IT!