My lesson was in the back of my mind the whole weekend. I tried to stay positive: This would be fun! This would be an adventure! This would be empowering! And in general, I think I believed most of it. But I had a restless night of sleep on Saturday, so at least part of my brain was struggling.
Still, Sunday came. I distracted myself by debating what to wear. Somehow none of my shoes seemed like good driving shoes: these pinch, those slip off my feet, this heel is too high. A pair of Tod's driving loafers would have come in handy. I settled on my hot pink and orange Sauconys, because nothing says serious driver like neon-bright sneakers. My instructor finally called to say he was close, and I headed out the door. I tried to psych myself up: I am smart, I am capable, I can do anything. Britney Spears can drive a car. The kid who ate paste in 3rd grade can drive a car. 15-year-old kids in South Carolina can drive cars. By the time I saw my dorky Student Driver car parked out front, I was ready and I thought, "yeah, I'm gonna do this!". And then my instructor motioned for me to get in the driver's seat. I have to drive right now?!
But somehow, suddenly I was cruising down Atlantic Avenue, turning on to Court Street, dodging pedestrians on Pacific. I don't really have any plans to drive in New York City, so in my head I thought somehow we'd start of somewhere more...suburban. But I guess most NYers who want to learn to drive need to learn how to navigate the mean city streets, so the training wheels come off right away.
The lesson was pretty uneventful, which I guess is a good thing. I drove, I made turns, I saw my neighborhood from a whole different perspective. I parallel parked a few times and silently thanked the driving gods that I already had passed a road test and would not need to perform this act on command. I drove down INCREDIBLY narrow streets lined with cars on either side, and thankfully I did not relieve any of those cars of their side mirrors. I get the feeling that this driving school likes throwing people into the deep end, because suddenly my instructor was saying, "Signal right and now you're going to get onto the BQE..."
|A lovely sign for a lovely road|
|Beep beep! Nervous driver, coming through|
And then it was over. I pulled up in front of my apartment, said goodbye to my instructor, and watched him pull away. I am not a perfect driver yet -- I do need to learn how to change lanes at a speed great than 5mph, that is true -- but I am a driver. It's a start.