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Slice of Life – The Coveted Driver’s License

May 16, 2008

 

Slice of Life Sunday is a meme dedicated to preserving the accounts of events cut out of the lives of average people just like you and me from all over the world. And like having ice cream with your pie, there is more to this meme than meets the eye – it’s a meme a` la mode . I hope you will join me and share a Slice of your Life.

 

 

Me: “I just got my license & dad just got a new car – How Cool Is That!?!” . . .  Father of the New Driver and Owner of the New Car: “Let the cussing begin!”

Throughout childhood, very few things are more anticipated and coveted than getting your driver’s license. A driver’s license is the right of passage from childhood to adulthood, or at least that is the opinion of most sixteen year olds. Parents on the other hand have a slightly different view. And with good reason. . . their car insurance rates rise with the same intensity as their blood pressure. I overheard my dad telling my uncle when my older sister had her learner’s permit, “You never learn to really cuss until your kids learn to drive.” I can guarantee you dad learned a few more four letter words when I got my license.!

My birthday is August 24, which made me the youngest in my class since I was permitted to start school early. All my classmates had driver’s ed during our Sophomore year and had their licenses the entire summer while I waited for my sixteenth birthday. I had registered for the first semester driver’s ed course the previous spring, but still would not have my license until the end of November. Two days before my Junior year began, my mother called the school and postponed my enrollment in the driver’s class until the second semester. Her official reasoning was she did not want me to get my license just as winter was beginning because I really needed more driving experience before driving on winter roads. I also think part of the reason was because my older sister had failed her driver’s test three times over the previous fifteen months and mom thought it would make her more insecure if I was to get my license first. Despite all my protests, kicking and screaming and acting more like a six year, the law was laid down and I had to wait.

The holidays finally passed and I was permitted to take the driver’s ed class, even though my sister still did not have her license. I was so angry to be denied immediate access to what was every 16 year’s right, that I studied even harder and was even more determined to get my license on my first try. Winter passed and so did I. On April 24th, eight months after my birthday, I took my driver’s test and passed on my first try.

To be honest, I was surprised. Although I practiced and practiced, I was unable to parallel park, which was also what kept my sister from getting her license. On that Thursday morning, as I was expertly maneuvering dad’s brand new 1968 Pontiac through the streets of Wooster, my mind kept racing ahead to the dreaded parking requirement. The driving officer made several comments throughout our trip about how well I was doing, that by the time I drove into the license bureau’s parking lot I was feeling pretty confident. I pulled up to the cones and he got out of the car. He leaned back in before shutting the door and said with a wink, “This should be a piece of cake for you.” “Yeah,” I thought, “piece of cake.” I pulled forward, just ahead of the first cone, put the car in reverse, turned the wheel and glided the car back into the parking area between the cones, pulled forward once, put the car in park, turned the key off and got out of the car and said, “Piece of cake, just like you said.” I had my driver’s license! Let the cussing begin.

Two weeks after I received my driver’s license, another much anticipated event occurred, my Junior Prom. I had selected a simple long white sleeveless gown with an empire waist circled with a baby blue ribbon to wear to the dance of a lifetime. I had saved my money and made an appointment at my mother’s hairdresser to have my long straight brown hair “pulled up” with fancy curls like I had seen in magazines. My older sister was also having her hair done, so I “volunteered” to drive us. After much pleading and my promises to be careful, dad finally agreed to let me drive his “only new car in his entire life” the ten short miles to the salon. As we pulled out of the driveway, my sister forgot her disappointment that she still did not have her license and settled in to enjoy our new freedom.

True to my word, I was a very cautious driver. But being cautious does not prevent the radio from being turned up. We rolled down the windows and switched the radio from the country station to WHLO (which was the rock and roll station of the 60’s in the north/central part of Ohio), cranked it up and boogied our way to the salon. The salon was located beside a gas station and patrons were permitted to use the station’s parking lot. I was relieved to see I did not have to parallel park when I pulled into the lot. And even happier to see there was an end space available. This meant I only had to watch the car parked on my side as I pulled into the space. What I didn’t notice, somewhat hidden behind a bush, was a cut-off pole standing along the passenger side with a big bolt sticking out the side – just waiting for a new driver like me.

I was being so careful not to get near the car parked on my side that I got too close to the pole. Way to close! And with the music turned up, I did not hear the scrapping sound as I pulled dad’s car all the way into the parking space. Once parked, and the keys removed, I opened my door and was greeted by my Cousin Don, who just happened to be at the service station. “Oh my God Cricket! What are you doing?” he exclaimed. “I got my license!” I proudly replied, “and dad let me drive his new car down here so we could get our hair done for the prom tonight.” Cousin Don just stood there, shaking his head, and mumbling about my dad only having this car two months. “Yes, I know. And I’m being very careful. I am a good driver. I got my license on the very first try!” once again proudly replying to his strange behavior.

“You may be a good driver, but you have a ways to go on parking. Ahhh, Cricket, you are in such deep shit trouble.” he announced. Trouble? Me? what trouble could I be in? At that point Cousin Don took me by the arm and walked me around to the passenger’s side where my sister was standing, looking at the car with tears rolling down her face. Now I was beginning to get worried. What in the world was wrong with these people? Then I saw it. I was so stunned I almost fainted as my knees buckled and Cousin Don grabbed a tighter hold on my arm to keep me from falling. By that time, several people had gathered closer to see what I had done. I can still hear the oohhh’s and aahhhh’s, whoa’s and damn’s, and finally the “I’m glad that’s not my car!” There, all the way down the center, from the front to the back of the passenger side of my dad’s “only new car in his entire life” was a deeply embedded half-inch scratch. Life, as I knew it, was over.

I was in such shock, I did not realize I had begun to cry, and then to tremble. Cousin Don put his arm around me and walked us to the salon. I wanted to go home right away and tell dad, even though I knew a beating was in my near future. But Cousin Don wouldn’t hear of it. He instructed the hairdresser to do our hair as planned, so by then I should be in better shape to drive. I cried the entire two hours we were in the salon. I cried the long, long ten mile drive back home. Once home, my sister couldn’t get out of the car fast enough and ran into the house. I just sat there, behind the wheel, still crying. I couldn’t believe what I had done to dad’s new car.

I wasn’t crying because I knew I would be getting the worst beating of my entire life. Although dad had never whipped me, both my sisters had received his belt a couple of times for back-talking and I remembered all too well the beating my brother had received several years back for calling dad a son of a bitch. But, those were all just words and this was dad’s “only new car in his entire life.” Yes, I deserved a severe whipping for I had done and was prepared to take what I had coming. What I couldn’t stand to think about, and what I didn’t want to see, was the disappointment in dad’s eyes. He had trusted me to drive his new car and I had let him down. Something I had never done before.

So I sat there, with my hair all pulled up in fancy curls and tears streaming down my face. I didn’t hear or see dad walk up to the passenger side of the car. I didn’t know how long he had stood there looking at his car and watching me cry. At some point I heard his stern voice, “Cricket, get out of the car and come around here.” I knew better than to make him have to repeat himself. I opened the door and walked around the car and stood next to him, looking at the scratch. It looked worse than I remembered, much worse! In a low, trembling voice I began, “Dad, I am so sorry. I was pulling into this parking spot and I was watching so I wouldn’t get too close to the car on my side. I didn’t see the pole on the other side. I can’t believe I didn’t see it. But I didn’t, I just didn’t.” -then, I saw again how the scratch went from the front of the car all the way to the end – “And, I had the radio too loud and I didn’t hear the bolt scratching. It shouldn’t have been this bad, I had the music too loud, I couldn’t hear the . . . . . .I am so sorry dad. I broke your new car. I am so, so sorry.”

Dad didn’t say anything for a few minutes. He just stood there looking at the scratch. Finally he said, “That sure is one hell of a scratch Cricket. I don’t think I have ever seen one that long on a car before. Humph! Well, don’t you have a dance to get ready for? You better go wash that face and get that new dress on. Your mom wants to take pictures pretty soon.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I was prepared for yelling. I was prepared for much more cussing. I was even prepared for the whipping I deserved. But, I was not prepared for this! I started to speak again but dad put his hands on my shoulders and looked me square in the eyes, something he had never done before, and said, “Cricket, it is just a car. My insurance will pay to have this fixed. I know you didn’t mean to do this. I am just glad you and your sister are ok. Next time you drive, keep the radio turned down and pay more attention. Now, go get ready for that dance.”

As I walked to the house, I kept thinking, “I can’t believe this! No swearing and no beating? He didn’t even raise his voice!” I learned a few months later my Cousin Don had made a trip to our house while my sister and I were having our hair done. He told dad the whole story, especially about how upset I was. Having two hours to calm down, dad decided he was going to see how I was going to tell the story. Had I come home with all kinds of excuses or a bad attitude, then I would have been in “deep shit trouble.” But as it was, I had accepted responsibility for what I had done and was sincerely sorry for it. Plus, it was prom night . . . and, I was daddy’s little girl.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 17, 2008 5:53 pm

    Thank you for visiting me today and inquirying about a bus trip to New Orleans. Actually there were several single women on our trip, and they all seemed to enjoy it greatly.

    When you leave a message on my blog and I try to go to your blog by clicking on your name, it takes me to – oh, I don’t know how to explain it. If you don’t mind, would you go back to where you left a comment today on mine and try to put your blog up by clicking on your name. Thanks.

    ~~Hi Betty, I so enjoyed your post about your trip to New Orleans. I explained the blogg profile on your blog. Thanks for visiting today. I hope to see a Slice of Life from you soon! Cricket

  2. May 17, 2008 8:56 pm

    Your cousin is a dear! Smart child you were for telling the truth…you got your wisdom from your Daddy:).

    ~~ Hi Phyl, Yes, Cousin Don provided the time dad needed to get a handle on the situation. I am not entirely sure what would have happened had the time element not been there. lol. Thanks for stopping by. I would love to see another Slice of Life from you too! Cricket

  3. May 18, 2008 5:08 pm

    woe, thats quite a story! I kept waiting and waiting….I thought it was one of those ‘you’re grounded for life’ stories…lol…glad you got to enjoy the prom!

    ~~LOL – I thought it was one of those ‘you’re dead for life’ moments!

  4. June 24, 2008 10:03 pm

    I really love your writing style and the way you say it.
    As to cricket I found a great site for watching live cricket, you can watch all live cricket matches on
    http://livetv.theredirection.com/sports.php?ca=cricket

  5. July 23, 2008 5:41 pm

    I really love this site.great writing skills..I found a site recentluy where u can watch cricket,soccer,tennis,wwe & other sports events live for free..so u can visit here http://indiaforumstv.blogspot.com
    http://tvcommunity.blogspot.com

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