I was about 20 years old when my dad officially started to teach me how to drive. Years prior, I wanted to know how to maintain it and for him to show me, considering my dad knows a lot about cars. However, he said no to teaching me. He must have known that I wasn’t ready and deep down so did I. It wasn’t until I had little life moments that served as droplets, telling me it was time to take my drivers test. One instance was on a summer day I was upstairs in my room on my phone, startled by the door bell ringing. I went downstairs and it was my neighbor asking if my sister (Meme) was home because her car was blocking him from parking. Well, my sister wasn’t home. I kindly told my neighbor hold on and called her.
Long story short, she wasn’t close to the house, thus I had to figure it out. She gave the suggestion to have my neighbor move her car. He nicely declined and said I should move it and he’d help me. I can only imagine his reason for not wanting to move someone else’s car. Since it was probably the same fear I had, of not wanting to damage it.
Really, I have to do it?
Into Meme’s black Nissan I went. The only previous experience I had in a car was when I’d warm up my Moms’ car during the cold months before she headed to work. Now, I’m here in her car. Confused in the driver seat, totally uncomfortable because my feet don’t reach the peddles. I didn’t even know how or where to pull my seat up so I just scooted up and hoped for the best. I questioned if I should adjust her mirrors, or not. Even asking myself what to press to do that. Do I have to get out and do it. Wait no, never mind. Thoughts of me accidentally flying away if I pressed the gas too hard ran through my mind. Silly but real thoughts for me then.
It’s interesting how many thoughts can run across a person mind when there is an unknown factor. Well I took a deep breath, sucked it up and closed the door. I put the key in the ignition, rolled down all four windows. I remember faintly hearing my mom in the background giving my sister a few choice words as if my sister was there to hear. Oh, to be raised Haitian. I put all my focus into what I was doing, prayed a quick prayer and listen intently to my neighbors instructions. Well, ten minutes later from what felt like eternity came to an end and I was done. I backed up my sister car and all the fear, insecurity and negative thoughts was replaced with thoughts of achievement, boldness and feeling great.
The journey continues….
Many moments happened liked this on my journey to my drivers test. From my Godmother teaching me how to pump gas on laundry day. To when the Deacon from my church showed me how to parallel park after hearing my difficulties. Even when my eldest sister (Jay) had me drive her car on a busy Brooklyn street, filled with trucks that didn’t acknowledge cars on the road. That was the day when Jay explained the purpose of the horn, as I made my plea of it being rude. She quickly shared how rude it’ll be for us and her car to be damaged, thus I better use the horn. Lets just say, I’m no longer a stranger to the horn. Although, I do still think it’s a bit rude, I just understand the reason behind it. Little things like this would continue to happen.
On the day of my drivers test my dad came and picked me up almost two hours before my schedule test. For me to have another lesson in and to ask questions. How do I ask questions that I don’t know I need to ask. I’m not sure, but let me continue. Well, it was one hour into our lesson and he had me park and switch seats with me so he can drive me to where I’ll be doing my test. As we sat there parked, waiting for my turn to come in the line of cars in front. My dad received a call, which was great because I needed a moment. I silently prayed for no rain, because it was grey and cloudy out. I also prayed for guidance and nerves to go. Because yes, the nerves came and I just kept taking deep breathes.
My head was position straight ahead as I saw the cars inch forward, one after the next, stopping in front of the Examiner. The “driver to be” would get out of the passenger side as the parent would get out the car to wait until they returned. Well, it was nearing my turn. My dad gets off the phone to offer some inspiring words then he says” oh don’t forget to signal”. I’m like what are you talking about. He repeats “when you park, make sure you signal”. What! I turned to him and “knock, knock” on my passenger side was the Examiner. I felt like I was having an outer body experience. Before I could ask my dad what was he referencing. He took off his seat belt, was out the car and so was I.
Let the test begin….
I got into the driver seat, positioned all my mirrors and chair. The Examiner told me to go whenever I was ready. I waited until the traffic light behind me turned red. I put my left turning signal on and started my test. It was smooth, the Examiner said turn left, park. When I went to park he pressed my alert signal so hard I thought he was going to break his pen. He said “your alerts”. so I parked the car. I pulled out to prep for a K-turn then the instructor hit his pen again on my car, shouted “signal” Yep, I missed it again. At this point I wanted to disappear into my chair, I even started to say I didn’t know and caught myself as I heard my dad words “don’t forget to signal”.
The Examiner continued on with the test then I was right back where I started. This time I put on my alert lights. Not because I knew, but because I saw the lights blinking on the cars I was approaching. Needless to say I passed my test, even with all the deductions my examiner gave me. He ended the drive with congratulations, drive safe and some other stuff. All I really remember was the congratulations part. When my dad approached the car, I went to sit in the passenger side so he can drive me home. All of my adrenaline was still rushing throughout my body and I needed a moment. When we were a few block away from the site I turn to my dad and told him “Dad, I could’ve failed my drivers test because of you not telling me to signal.”
….”all I heard was congratulations
I know it might sound strange of me not ever using it prior with all my practice or being in cars with others. But it didn’t register for me honestly. So learn from me from my drivers test journey. Anytime you stop on the street turn on your alert signal. Also don’t give up. Although, I wanted to sink into my seat every time the examiner hit the alert with his pen. I didn’t cry, shut down or stop. I took a deep breath and kept going because I had a goal to gift myself my license as my graduation present. And I DID!
Until next time I’ll be #ActivelyLiving while #LivingActively. If you want to continue reading check out my last post.