Racing to Destruction
During my life I could not hold in the excitement of becoming an adult. I pondered what it would be like to move and establish a life I could label my own. Being treated as a child and having my mother drive me everywhere was embarrassing. I would have to inform her of the location and who I was going to be there with. I despised having to check in every hour on the hour to report to my mom that I was safe and not to worry. I anticipated the day where I could hop in the car and drive forever. I wanted a way to escape from my life besides listening to music to help me cope. I believe that first time driver’s are prone to making incorrect choices.
On my sixteenth birthday I remembered begging my mother to take me to Bowman Fields to take the permit test. I had been reading through the driver’s manual for weeks and I was ready to embark on this new journey. I was tired of my mother driving me to places and picking me up on her time. It was embarrassing to hear my mom yell my name all the way across the parking lot to catch my attention. I wanted to be free and experience driving to places when I wanted to.
Standing in a long line of people made me as anxious as a child on Christmas Eve. The sound of the clock made me zone out and wonder about issues involving the test. “Will I pass?” “Will I have harder question to answer than everyone else?” These questions kept vibrating through my brain as the line deteriorated. I didn’t know what to expect as I inched my way further to the desk. With every step I took I was more nervous than the step before. Finally I was at the desk and face-to-face with a woman who looked about in her 60’s with Texas hair. She wore bright red lipstick and when she smiled I could see the lipstick smears on her teeth. She smiled real wide and said, “Can I see your social security card?” My hands felt like a jar of jelly as I handed the women my social security card. She told me to walk through the glass doors and stand in like and wait for my name to be called. I had done exactly what she had told me and I was back to my nervous state. After an hour of waiting in line my name was finally called. I felt like I was taking the walk of shame because everyone had been staring at me like I wasn’t going to make pass the test. Taking the test was frightening but I passed with ease and walked out of Bowman Fields a changed 16 yr old.
After six months of listening to my mom yell, “BREAK!” or “DAMMIT! SLOW DOWN,” I could finally take my driving test. I ran out smiling with joy waving my license in the air like it was a million dollar check. I asked my mom if I could take the truck around the neighborhood by myself. She said yes and I took off like lightning. I was driving down this country road when all of a sudden I heard sirens. My heart was ripping through my blouse because the sirens were earsplitting. I thought that I would go to jail and I wouldn’t see my family ever again. I pulled over and waited anxiously as the cop got out of the car. He said, “Young lady, you were speeding like it was no one’s business!” All I could do was cry because I had just gotten my license and what would my mom think if I came home with a ticket in my hand? The cop had written me a citation for speeding and told me to be careful because I was a new driver and I could put other drivers in danger. He also told me that I had to appear in court to explain my case. When I told my mom about the ticket that I had been issued, she was not even mad. She explained to me that as a new driver I had to be careful driving because it is a serious issue.
As I sauntered into the courthouse I felt like a criminal. I was terrified because I didn’t know what punishment I was going to receive from my actions. The prosecutor shouted my name and I took the walk of shame to the desk where this elderly man with wrinkled hands asked to see my I.D. I handed him my I.D. and he glanced at it with his thick bifocals. Next he told me that the judge will call my name when he was ready. The prosecutor made me nervous because he was mysterious and didn’t dish out any information. My mom told me that he does not have time to be personable to everyone that he encounters because he is too busy. Two dreadful hours later the judge finally called my name and asked me to speak into the microphone when he asked a question. He told me that I would be sentenced to traffic school and I will receive a letter in via mail to choose which day I wanted to attend.
For the next several months I had been conscious about my speeding to make sure I didn’t get caught by the man. But when I started to become cocky, I realized that I was driving down a path of destruction. Five months after receiving my first speeding ticket, I received another one. I went through the entire court process again but this time was worse. I already used my “Get out of jail free card,” and had to pay the court cost and the speeding fine. When I went home with the second citation my mom was madder than an Eskimo in the Bahamas. She put me on punishment and took my beautiful Ford Taurus away from my usage. I was upset with her at first but, I had to sit back and recall my actions within the past months. I had been riding the freedom train too long and it was time to hop off.
I thought I was ready to drive and be free as a bird but life bitch slapped me across the face. I had been issued two speeding tickets before the age of 18. I had to go through my run it with the law to learn that I was not ready to handle the challenge of driving. I had made too many mistakes that resulted in losing my mother’s trust and my car. I used to blame myself for not being rational with my driving but I recalled to myself that I was just a first time driver.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.