Archive for October 16th, 2006

Clutch Performers

If there is a calmer person on Earth than Judy Lundblad of Fearless Driver (a.k.a. Ann's Driving School), then that person is either asleep or dead. So I'll stick with Judy as my driving instructor. As documented in the "Wandering Josh" segment on tonight's show (at 7:30; repeated on Friday night at 10:30), the preternaturally serene Judy recently took me through the forbidding streets of San Francisco on my first-ever driving lesson. Now, you may be thinking that 47 is rather a late age for me to be learning how to drive, but in my defense let me say this: I'm from New York. Also, I have always depended on the kindness of strange drivers. But sometime last year, as I sat in an isolated hotel room on a strip mall somewhere in Florida, with nothing (except ice, lots and lots of ice) available via foot, I became determined to finally evolve into an auto-man; a few months later, I had my learner's permit; and now this: actual driving! I have to say it was pretty cool -- though someone should really do something about putting the brake so close to the gas pedal. ...

VickiAnd actually, just that someone was one of my in-studio guests! The amazingly young Vicki Vlachakis is an extremely successful car designer, and she was kind enough to stop by and explain some aspects of her craft to me. (If you're intrigued by a career in auto design yourself, you can get some info here.)

Dane & JoshAlso stopping by was the amazingly younger Dane Cameron, a local teenager who -- barely out of high school -- is already a champion racer. Not having yet reached either automotive or emotional maturity myself, I was somewhat nervous about talking with this accomplished young driver, but right away I realized that someone poised enough to zoom around a track at ridiculous speeds would have little trouble dealing with a coffee-swilling neurotic. And sure enough, Dane handled my loopy questions with an impressive equanimity. ...

By the way, in the not-too-distant future (after taking some more lessons from Judy) I hope to actually get my driver's license. If the spirits (and the DMV) are friendly enough, I may even be able to do it on camera. As for the post-test celebration, my tentative plans are to rent a car and re-enact the chase scene from Bullitt -- though I'm certainly open to alternate suggestions. ...

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1 comment October 16th, 2006

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