Hey there. Have you ever failed your driving test? How about twice? How about three times? Four? Now you’re with me. You might be thinking that means I’m a bad driver. Just because you’re right doesn’t mean that you know how I failed so get off your high horse and get in my low mini van and join me on my journey.
If you don’t have to parallel park within three nanometers of the curb in two minutes without touching anything, including the ground, then
fuck you consider yourself lucky. Because that’s what I had to do. I practiced and practiced and practiced. With my parents, I could parallel park with a blind fold on. No turning or steering, I just slid completely sideways into that spot. I could do it with only my shoulder on the pedal while doing yoga poses with my lower half that was now above the steering wheel. I could do it with Harry whispering discouraging things in parseltongue into my eardrum. The point is, I could do it and in less than two minutes. So you’d think I could bring this to the table during the test. But let’s start at the beginning.
You have to take the written test for your permit to start learning how to drive. My mom made me read the entire rulebook cover to cover. And even worse, the front cover to the back cover. Beth was being crazy. Like I couldn’t just pass the simple test by…I failed. I failed it. After reading the entire book. So maybe she wasn’t insane. But in my defense how am I supposed to choose from these options.
“If a blind person is crossing the street by way of crosswalk while the walking symbol is on you should either…”
A.) Send your child out to take her stick so you can hit her with it as you pass by.
B.) Patiently wait until you have the right of way.
C.) Direct her to the middle of the intersection by screaming like a pterodactyl in her right ear.
So no, I didn’t pass the first time. But the second time I did. So I did my ninety hours, realized I’m not telling this story in chronological order, and got ready for my first test.
I got in my mini van with my instructor. He had a thick accent and considering the fact that Siri doesn’t enunciate enough for me, things got tricky. Although I can’t understand words I can understand emotions. So when he started screaming at me to turn on my wiper fluids I got a bit nervous. I finally figured it out and we went on our merry way. He didn’t seem to like me much which I don’t understand because all sixteen year olds are charming. I was doing okay, so I thought. I got to the parallel parking and forgot everything. I tapped the curb about thirty times, ran over a toddler, and this was just bad luck, but an epileptic unicorn slammed into my windshield and started seizing. So it wasn’t easy. When the time was up and I was not only three feet from the curb but upside down too, he informed me that I didn’t pass. He told me to get out of the car because he had to drive back. I was too dangerous to make the fifteen feet that I drove safely in the first place. I was a bit sad and all of a sudden his wiper fluid-induced rage turned into compassion. He said that even if I could parallel park I had already made so many fatal mistakes that my points were in the negatives anyways.
The next time I took the test I did everything right except I was three inches from the curb instead of two. I failed. The third time I was with an incredibly angry woman. Even though she is lucky enough to work at the happiest place on Earth, she was not too nice. As I drove she repeated her catch phrase “Did I tell you to do that?” I guess she didn’t but I thought it was a good idea to stop at a stop sign unprompted. I don’t remember the rest but I did not pass. And she still did not like me. After this failure I started cry-panicking as my poor sweet dad had to deal with it. My mom had to deal with it all the other times.
Test number four. Everything was great. I finally got past the parallel parking. My instructor was nice, my spirits were high, and my boobs were higher than my heart. I was confident as hell and when I heard the instructor gasp and mutter “No no no, god please no” I thought he was just jealous at my flawless performance. Seconds after his pleading stopped I felt myself go up and slam back down to the ground. I was hoping all that had happened was I ran over the skull of my previous instructor but to my horror, it was the curb. The man felt really bad for me and I will always love him. Even though I forgot who he was.
The fifth time, I nailed it. I didn’t hurt a single person. At the end I got a rave review of “You passed but girrrllllll you need practice.” Didn’t care. I had my license. I ran to my mom and told her I passed. Most people get a simple congratulations but with Beth it was a scream and hug and it resembled the celebratory energy of saving a puppy from a burning building. Even the people next to me were congratulating me.
Lessons are to be learned from this. One, if you ever fail something not once, not twice, not three times, but four times, don’t give up. Listen to Andy Grammar’s song “Keep your Head Up” while crying into a pint of ice cream because you will eventually succeed by a narrow margin.