This I Believe

Hannah - Wake Forest, North Carolina
Entered on August 19, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe that I am different because I am one of the few teens that don’t want to drive.

It was my first day of drivers-ed. I had already taken the classes and was now expected to be tested on my skills. Unlike most teens, I did not have that same craving to drive myself wherever I wanted. Driving freaked me out because it meant I was growing up.

That fateful day I prayed that my partner would be someone I knew and would not be a natural born driver (if there are such people). I also wished desperately that I wouldn’t embarrass myself on the first try by crashing on my way out of the parking lot. With my pulse like that of a racehorse, I met my instructor as well as my driving buddy whom I recognized from English class. Our instructor then drove us to a more deserted parking-lot.

My partner drove first. He had very little experience and drove so slow that the instructor told him he was like an old man driving with one arm. When I drove, it was with the opposite effect. I had to be told to slow down rather than to speed up. However, that was not the worst of it. The mortifying part of this experience was my parking. I was forced to park at an angle and having never practiced, I did not know when to turn in. When I did park, it was not next to but directly on top of the white dividing parking space line.

“That was dreadful,” the instructor stated bluntly.

“Really?” I asked. I had thought perhaps he was joking with me because he enjoyed being sarcastic.

“Look for yourself,” he told me.

As I looked, I was stricken with horror. I could not locate the line and had to get out of the car to notice I was taking up two spaces. What’s worse is that we were at a fast-food restaurant and there were witnesses to see my horrendous mistake.

He then headed toward the restaurant but first told me, “When I go inside I’m going to pretend I don’t know you.”

I was utterly embarrassed. What’s more is that I overheard a mother tell her child, “Oh my. What awful parking.”

I’m certain whatever was left of my pride had then evaporated into the air.

It has been two years since that dreadful experience but with all things considered, more embarrassing moments have occurred. Fortunately, I now have a driver’s license and although I’m no expert, I can park well enough without drawing attention. More importantly, I have learned that as scary as driving may be, I can now say that overcoming such a difficult task has strengthened my spirit. Nevertheless, life for me continues to be overcoming one challenge at a time.