Okay, no, that was rude and I didn't mean it. You know by now how much I like you and how I don't want to offend. It's just that I've come to think of that song as my song, the one I always listen to when I'm joyriding around on the back roads of upstate NY.
I was tagged for a meme by two lovely ladies, Marianna and Candie, and asked to list 7 things that make me awesome. Well, I'm not feeling exactly awesome lately--more like odd and floaty, and overly preoccupied with my writing project, and maybe a little bit insecure, but not really so awesome. No way could I come up with seven things. So let me offer just one--
I got my driver's license only six years ago. And now I am a totally freaking awesome driver.
I'm still proud of myself. 17 years passed between my first road test and my last. At 16, I took driver's education with a boy I adored. I couldn't concentrate during class, not even when they screened the grimly enthralling "Highway of Agony," too busy was I, gazing at Jonathan's silly curly golden mop of hair and daydreaming the 45 minutes away. In the student car together it was even worse, so near was he to me in a closed contained space. The heady smell of patchouli and weed overwhelmed my senses...but I digress.
I failed that first road test when I nearly drove into a Mack truck as I tried to turn left across an intersection. The tester actually shrieked a little. And I blame Jonathan for that one. He didn't have to be so alluring, did he?
But I couldn't keep blaming the boy for the next 17 years, now could I? Every time someone asked about my lack of license, I replied with the old standard that I was from Brooklyn, what did I need with a car. Oh please.
So when Hedgehog was three, I finally learned to drive. My stepdad and Sarge took turns teaching me. The two men had very different teaching techniques: Sarge was a harsh taskmaster (hm, at least he obliged me on that one), with a cruel look in his eye that prevented me from making mistakes, while my stepdad would get in the passenger seat and just close his eyes and pretend to nap while I drove. Between the two of them, they managed to make me a driver.
Or, let me take some credit that I honestly deserve, I made myself into one.
I'm now just as comfortable driving in midtown Manhattan traffic on a rainy Monday evening as I am gliding along a quiet country road on a sunny afternoon. I've just got that sang froid, behind the wheel.
Driving is something that most people take for granted; they've done it for ages, since they were very young. For me it was enormous; it made me a grown-up, finally independent, long after that milestone usually takes place.
Since I'm tweaking this meme until it's unrecognizable, let me pose a question. Do you have an accomplishment, near to your own heart, that's significant to you but possibly taken for granted by everyone else? Don't worry, it won't be on the test. I'm just curious.
*"Sharp Darts" if you didn't know.