This I Believe

claire - webster, New York
Entered on March 1, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

While mistakes are inevitable, stressing over insignificant problems often makes a situation worse. I believe that each time something bad happens, there is the choice to be depressed or the choice to learn and grow. I believe in striving to find the positive side to every situation.

“I usually know I went far enough after I feel the back tires bump over the garage,” Mom says, guiding my parking maneuver. It’s not very stressful practicing with her because she knows how to deal with things that need serious attention and what to laugh about. Pulling in slowly, I feel the back wheels slightly bounce the car up. I straighten out the wheel and cautiously reach for the brake. What I fail to realize is that my foot, already on the brake, is being switched to the accelerator. Instead of slowing the vehicle down, I speed up very quickly.

The car’s sudden jolt results in a direct hit with our bulky white refrigerator. It takes a few seconds, but after driving straight into the fridge, my reflexes begin to kick in and I slam on the brake. I’m completely stunned at the damage. I’ve always been known as a poor driver; I don’t need such an unfathomable accident like this to occur and be my family’s daily topic of conversation.

Now that the car had finally stopped moving I am sitting behind the wheel in total shock. In the passenger seat Mom is laughing, but somehow manages to get the point across that I should back it up. Painstakingly, I shift into reverse and release the brake. As the car moves backwards, the refrigerator door comes with us, falling onto the hood of the car with a loud crash. Yogurt, soda, and sauces come crashing out as I ease back into the correct parking position.

While my head is spinning, Mom can barely breathe from laughing so hard. Afraid of causing more damage, I hesitate to make any movements. “What do I do?!” I yell, panicked but relieved; she finds this funny. My stomach is doing flops and my head is buzzing, but Mom is keeping things all in perspective. “At least it wasn’t a person,” she says, comforting me. I open the car door to look at the harm done. Chilled condiments are scattered around the garage floor and the gallon of milk is knocked over. Thankfully, I see nothing wrong with the car. But the refrigerator door is crumpled up and the license plate leaves a readable imprint front and center.

I was grounded from driving for two weeks and it is still considered a privilege to pull any vehicle into the garage, even though there’s not a lot left to collide with. It’s more than a year later and I’m still embarrassed about this unfortunate incident. I definitely wish this hadn’t happened, but it taught me to look on the positive side of situations. I am glad that no one was hurt, and I am glad that refrigerators are replaceable. I’m constantly reminded of what it takes to deal with everyday problems by the void in our garage where the refrigerator was. It reminds me to always be cautious and drive slowly, especially when maneuvering into small places. I believe attitude is everything, and my mom is constantly helping me have a positive outlook.