For the past several years, I have tried with all my might to conceal the rather pathetic fact that I do not have a driver's license. Now here I am, announcing it to all of William and Mary's student body. Perhaps the years have weathered my shame so that I can speak candidly, or maybe I feel more at liberty to talk about it now that I have passed my road test. More than likely, it is a combination of the two.
At this point, it is only a matter of days until I head over to the DMV and procure my long-awaited piece of plastic, but two years ago, I wondered if I would ever reach this point. It seemed as if I were forever doomed to don an I.D. that smirked "learner's permit," inciting the giggles of every club bouncer and office secretary. While all my friends reached that vital milestone of mobility, I remained a passenger long after my sixteenth birthday.
Of course, a most obvious question corresponds with my predicament. Why on earth did I wait so long to learn how to drive? The response is both unsatisfying and embarrassing. I don't know.
I was slow to apply for my learner's permit, and it took me three attempts to actually pass the test. By the time I received the permit, senior year was underway and I was far too absorbed in college applications and homework to focus on a skill I ought to have mastered almost two years ago. I made several feeble attempts to practice, but it only frustrated me and subjected my mother to severe distress.
I suppose I should have noticed early signs suggesting that I would be a little slow on the uptake. At amusement parks, I had no desire to waste time on the bumper cars, and when I did venture onto a ride where I had to steer a car, it always nearly ended in catastrophe.
When I was 10, my mother and I went to Busch Gardens with my Girl Scout troop. One ride consisted of petite two-person vehicles that one could drive along a track. Ideally, the ride was foolproof so that children could man the cars and feel a little taste of maturity. I successfully steered the car off of the track and into the car ahead of me until my mother finally grabbed the wheel and drove for the remainder of the ride. Maybe it’s a stretch, but considering my present circumstances, I find this event significant.
Furthermore, I have been blessed with absolutely generous and thoughtful friends that have consented to tote me around town for the last two years. Perhaps if my friends had not been so willing to stop out of their way for me, I might have made more of an effort, but somehow I managed to have a busy social life without actually driving myself to anything I attended. So, to all those on campus who have contributed to the “driving Miss Rachel” effort, I sincerely thank you.
Winter break offered me the opportunity to finally achieve my long-awaited goal. While I am by no means an expert driver, I can arrive at my destination without inflicting damage along the way, and I eagerly anticipate being responsible for my own transportation this summer.
I’m sure my friends are excited too.