I asked Mom again if I heard correctly. “Sure why not you’re off school I’ll take you to get your drivers license.” This was the day, crossing the bridge from being a kid to having a drivers license, so cool! So what if I only got a C in drivers-ed, it was still passing. Okay, I couldn’t parallel park but most parking was in lots anyway. Sure I missed class when they used the driving simulator but big deal I drove the real car. Sure the instructor slammed on the brakes at the yield right-of-way sign; but the other car was coming from the left not right.
The whole trip I went over everything I learned in class, everything Dad had told me. Remember to buckle the seat belt, adjust the mirror, look behind you when backing up. Then there is the trick they play when they tell you to park as if you are parking on a hill for the day. My friend Sara flunked because she didn’t take the key out of the ignition. Of course she would take it if she was really parking for the day, but the DMV officer flunked here. I pray that they don’t have me parallel park; please no parking.
The DMV was very crowded, no school so every mom had the same idea. Every kid promising, ‘I can always run to the store for you, or I can pick Jimmy up from school for you.’ Yeah sure, just give me that car. No more school bus just cruising through life now. Starting to shake as I watch the red numbers flash across the neon board, 365 only three more. I see my friend Ben coming back from the test. He didn’t pass. I’m doomed Ben got an A in class. The DMV officer pats him on the back telling him to try again next week.
Red lights blind me as 368 flashes on the big neon board. That’s me. I get up slowly and feel like I’m walking to my own execution. Mom gives me that ‘you’ll do fine, but we can always try again next week’ look. The short round DVM officer meets me at the door. Without looking up from his clip-board, where my whole life story is imprinted on the application, he asks in his ‘I’ve asked this one hundred times this week’ tone “where is the car?” I take him to the green Toyota, and again without looking up he looks at the tires, guess to make sure we didn’t drive here on four flats. When he finally looks up from the car, the expression on his face looks like any human, he doesn’t really look like a monster. But I’m still petrified.
“Is this Fred’s car?”
“Yes sir,” assuming he means Dad, who is named Fred, and this, is his car.
“He’s your father? Does he think you can drive?”
“I think so sir.”
“Well, then if he thinks so, I do too.”
"Yes!" I exclaim. "No parking!"
Ó 2012 Eileen A Partak