The Most Dangerous Gift
The other day I asked my mom and dad to sign the piece of paper that allowed me to take my permit test. Dad signed it, but he told me that he was giving me “the most dangerous gift” that he could ever give me. I understood what he meant when he said that, but the reality of what he said didn’t really sink in until today.
On Monday I took the driving written exam and passed! I took my driving classes over winter break and I could have applied to take my permit test right then. But I wasn’t motivated and just kept waiting and procrastinating. I had other priorities at the time and I thought I didn’t need to drive anywhere, anyways. A few months later I was ready and I said, “Mom I think I want to take my permit test,” and she said, “Okay.” So we made an appointment for me on the DMV website, two months in advance.
Finally the day came and I took my test, but first I had to wait in line at the DMV. The line wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be; it took only about an hour. Making the appointment paid off after I got to the front desk because the second wait was much shorter than many of the others I saw sitting in the waiting room before me.
When my number was called, I walked up to the desk with a ton of nerves in anticipation of my first and hopefully last test. The man behind the counter took my picture that would be on my new license in just six months. He handed me the test, and it was 46 questions on it and all of the questions were just basic driving knowledge, really. The trick was, there was no trick. I really read the handbook and listened during the classes, all in preparation for passing the test. After I finished marking my answers, I got back in line to get my test corrected. I watched the man score my test, by making a swishing motion across each question (to look like he was marking each question wrong). When he finally did mark one wrong I realized he was trying to scare me. Finally, he said “Congratulations.” Then he gave me my permit, which is three pieces of paper stapled together. There were a few places for signatures for my driving instructor, which is the next step, and there is a place for my official signature on the front.
After I took the test, I still can’t legally drive a car. I have to make an appointment for a driving lesson from an instructor and once they sign that you have completed my first lesson then I can start driving with a licensed California driver, over the age of 25.
My mom and I took a trip to Muir Woods today and we had a lot of fun, observing and just absorbing all the beautiful nature. For the first time, I really looked at this trip from the driver’s perspective. The drive was quite and nice. At the beginning of the drive the road was nice and straight, but when we were about half way there the road started to get as windy as a metal spring. I don’t like windy roads so my mom asked if I would like to practice my driving, as a joke. But I just stared at her until she said, “You are less likely to be carsick if you’re the one driving the car,” I then kindly explained that I would have a heart attack if I was driving, each time I came around a corner. We laughed it off and then went for our two-mile hike.
On our way back we got into an interesting driving situation. We were back on that winding road, and as our car was turning the corner there was a big bus coming straight at us. There was no way that the bus and our car could pass at the same time on that turn without our car being pushed off the edge of the cliff. We ended up backing up to let the truck pass, but as the truck passed it looked as if it was going to side-swipe my mom’s car and knock the side rearview mirror off. In that dangerous situation I understood what my dad meant, because even though we were careful there was great opportunity for the day to end in disaster. We made it home safe. but I really do have a better sense of how dangerous a car can be even if you are a careful driver.