“Stay in your lane, stay in your lane,” my mom repeated frantically.
Automatically, I turned on my blinker and changed lanes. You know the teenage thing, when your parents tell you to do something then you automatically do the opposite? I did that. I didn’t look in my rearview mirror, side mirror, or over my shoulder.
“You have to look before you change lanes!” my mom screeched in panic. She frantically tried to take the steering wheel, but her arms were too short and she was too far away. There was a car in my blind spot, four cars actually. To this day, I don’t understand how an accident didn’t happen.
My mom had me pull over as soon as possible. Then she drove home, singing “God Give Me Strength.” When we got in the house, she was still singing it.
A new driver driving a gigantic van on busy roads during rush hour may not be the best idea or calmest experience.
Many teenagers look forward to driving. It’s a token of freedom and independence. Driving opens up a whole different world of possibilities. No longer will you have to ask your parents to drive to get boba, and eating off campus will actually be manageable. You can just hop in the car and go. Simple, right?
I completely underestimated driving and its challenges. I thought it would be easy, because adults made it look effortless. Passing the written permit test was one thing, but actually driving was completely different.
Nothing compares to the pressure I felt when the lives of my mother and three younger siblings depended on me. When I drove the second time, I remained completely silent as I focused intently on the road and my mom’s instructions. I was sweating bullets, and my focused expression was equivalent to one of constipation. My sister made fun of me from the back seat and was sure to get my tense behavior on film.
Freedom is half the story as well. If you have younger siblings, you can forget about freedom. Most afternoons, I was driving my family around running errands. For adults, there are always errands. Once you get your license, guess who’s running them? You. There weren’t as many boba stops as I had hoped for.
My mom would tell you I almost killed a lady while speeding. I am telling you that is an overdramatic fabrication.
There was a woman who stood by her car, in the street, opening the driver’s door. I saw her and moved far away so I wouldn’t hit her as I passed. I was actually driving 25 m.p.h. in the middle of the street, in the humongous van, on the painted road divider to avoid hitting the pedestrian.
It was not the greatest maneuver. I should have stopped and waited for her to get out of the street. My mom lost it, not because I was driving into the opposite traffic lane, but because she thought I was too close to the pedestrian. She shrieked my name and snatched my arm off the steering wheel.
Also not the greatest maneuver. The van swerved and I took my foot off the gas pedal. I stopped in the middle of the street, already past the pedestrian. We were both screaming and freaking out, nearly in tears. We argued the entire way home.
God give us strength.