Sunday, January 19, 2014

Getting My License

I got my license on January tenth. I don't know why I waited to write about it until now, but I did. I am now a registered driver in the state of Pennsylvania.

It was on the first try, too, and in the snow. I'm the first in the family to pass on the first try. I should mention that I was with a driving instructor for two hours beforehand, so that definitely helped. But still.

My heart was jumping out of my throat, everything in my body leaden. It almost didn't feel real, like my mind was disconnected from my body. Still, I managed to drive to the center anyway.

I was the most worried about parallel parking. I know that everyone worries about that, but still. Half of the people who take the test fail. I didn't think the odds were very good for me.

I had been practicing it with my dad the night before, but we weren't doing too well. I was getting frustrated and he was getting frustrated and we weren't really getting very much accomplished. He finally said, "Just forget it. You're not going to pass tomorrow." That made me so angry I insisted on doing it. I can never stand being told I couldn't do something, which is maybe why I was so hell-bent on passing (that and my instructor's pointers).

I was the second person in line. The person ahead of me failed. Maybe I would be the other half who succeeded? I didn't know yet. The weather outside was getting worse. I saw the roads being salted, but they got icy again by the time I took the test.

The guy testing me was pretty nice, talking to me as he filled out the forms. He made sure I knew what to expect from the test, how if I accumulated enough points, I would fail.

Knowing that, I got started. I could hardly breathe.

It was easy enough until I got through parallel parking. That was the real moment of truth. Then I suddenly had to remember everything that I learned so that I could stay behind the lines, not hit the barrels and not run over the grass. Yet I managed to keep my head and do it and also managed to keep my head enough to get out.

After I did that successfully, I knew that I was probably going to pass. I wasn't out of the clear yet, though. I still had to remember use my turn signals and stop before the white line. The ground had grown even icier and I had to go very, very slowly on both the road and out on the course. To my relief, I didn't skid when I braked and I parked straight, so everything worked out well.

I was still shocked when he said, "Congratulations, you passed." I couldn't believe it. I had been dreaming of this moment for months, but it always seemed like a dream, something that couldn't actually happen. But it was.

I met up with my driving instructor and then went to take my picture for the license. Even the woman taking it was impressed with my passing. She said she liked my smile.

My driving instructor took me home, saying I probably had enough. The conditions were so bad they shut down the course and I was thankful I took the test when I did.

My whole family celebrated and I got steak for dinner.

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