It started early for me. I was young, merely 16 years old. On the day of my driving test, I couldn’t wait for the freedom that would come after just a short 20 minute test. I’ll pass with flying colors, I thought. My crinkly hair was on point (because it was trendy back then to put braids in the night before and take them out for a cramped look the next day), I was wearing my favorite bell bottom jeans for good luck, no food was stuck in my braces, and a thick coat of lip smackers was on. I was ready.
Pulling into the parking lot upon finishing the test, I was a ball of nerves. I felt it could go either way. I waited for the instructor’s feedback. “Well, I can’t pass you today … on account of you hitting that car.”
I was stunned. “Seriously? I just nicked it! The other guy didn’t even stop!” I protested.
She stared at her papers. “We’re lucky no one got hurt. You can schedule for another day.”
Yes, I (hardly) hit a car. Yes, the instructor yelled, “No! Stop!” but it was too late. I nicked the back of a car who sped by and didn’t even stop. We pulled over, and although my instructor was traumatized, she allowed me to finish the test – hence my surprise in failing since I had hit 0.0000001% of the cars in Rochester that day, which seemed pretty good to me!
Another three driving tests later, and finally! I got my license (at age 17). Now I could finally get around by myself. I had my very own silver 1990 Corsica (a hand-me down from all my other siblings before me). It was rusty, with a few quirks, but appropriately named, “The Silver Bullet”.
Even with my victory over the driving test, car troubles still followed. A ticket for “reckless driving” at age 18 when I slid right through a red light due to icy roads. Then I went to college, where I accumulated MANY parking tickets. Why? Simple. I was late turning in my finals 100% of the time, so I needed to drive right up to the building (where perhaps there weren’t parking spots) so I could get my assignments in on time. The police officers in tiny Menomonie, Wisconsin were extremely efficient with their parking patrol. In fact, they deserve an award for ‘fastest destruction of someone’s day.’
Directions are a whole other issue. My husband over the phone, on numerous occasions, has told me, “Go north.” North?? NORTH?! Speak English: left or right? Because from where I’m standing, North will always mean whatever direction I’m facing, making South always behind me. It’s like he doesn’t understand directions at all.
Another issue I struggle with is identifying types of cars. People tell me names of their cars as if I should know what they look like. Following friends driving places stresses me out so much! They’ll say, “Just follow me…I’m the insert car make and model here,” and I’m like, “Okay great. What color is your car? … Okay, follow the RED car.”
Directions, identifying cars, passing driving tests, parking tickets, all of those are troublesome enough. But the car issue I run into most often nowadays is car cleanliness. Every time I deep clean my car I sigh with a sense of relief, and take in the beautiful scent of car wipes. This is it. I’m the mom with a clean car now. Best four hours of my life, right? The very next week there I am, wrist deep in the car seats, pulling out goopy, sticky, crunchy and stale who-knows-what, accompanied by a couple random dried carrots from that “one day I was giving healthy snacks only”.
I’ll steer this one home. The point is this: No one is perfect, and I don’t claim to be. But my car troubles sure do make a good blog post!
Sarah Gonzalez is a stay-at-home mom who loves Jesus and caring for her two young children. She loves date nights and walks with her husband, and using creativity and humor through artistic outlets like writing and photography. You can learn more about her photography business at Sarah Gonzalez Photography.