Today’s topic is learning how to drive. Well, my stories aren’t as funny as my mom’s or my sister’s, but those are their stories to tell, not mine.
So, I have a few short ones. (Sorry, I don’t have pictures for this one–I don’t have any from 2005-2006 on my computer, and my parents are both at work all day today)
1) Being Pulled Over: When I had my learner’s permit, at age 15, my family decided to go see a movie. As we packed in the car, I got in the driver’s seat since I had to have a total of 40 practice hours to get my license. We turn the radio on, and I start driving down the local streets. I was being very careful to follow the speed limit, even though on the 6-10, everyone loved to go 15mph + over the speed limit. Then, all of a sudden, a cop appeared behind me. A second later, they were flashing their lights–no siren, but definitely flashing lights. I freaked out! What had I done wrong? I waited until after I passed through the intersection to change lanes, we all had our seat belts on, I wasn’t speeding, what? Mom soothed me as I pulled over, but there were already tears streaming down my face–I didn’t even have a license and now something terrible was going to be put on my permanent record! When the officer arrived, I handed him my learner’s permit, insurance, and mom’s license. He said that our plates were expired and that as the driver, it was technically my fault/responsibility. The tears doubled. I hadn’t known. They weren’t my plates, they were my mom’s (I didn’t say that). He said technically he should give me a ticket. Mom talked with him over my sobs and apologized and said it was her fault. He said, “No, ma’am. Your daughter being the driver, it is her fault. But, because she is just learning, I will let you both off with a warning.” Mom thanked him and he left. I was shaking. Mom had to finish driving us to the theatre. But thankfully, no ticket. To this day (knock on wood) I have nothing on my driving record!
2) First Time on the Interstate: I still had my learner’s permit and my grandparents were in town. Now, growing up in Stafford, Virginia, I was less than half an hour away from 3 Civil War battle sites, 45 minutes from D.C., and 2 hours away from Yorktown, Jamestown, and Williamsburg. So, whenever friends and family came to visit, we go show them history. My grandpa was interested in seeing some battle sites, so, we hop in two cars and head to I-95. Again, I was a learner, so, I drove with my Grandpa next to me. My first time getting on the interstate=my first time going over 50mph. It was scary. Although it only took about 20 minutes to drive on the interstate, the entire time, my hands had a death grip on the steering wheel. By the time we got to the Battle of Fredericksburg, my hands were white and they hurt after I let go of the wheel.
3) Ran off the Road: I was about 17 years old and my sister (15) and I were on an indoor soccer team. I was driving us in my dad’s Jeep Liberty (which I want one desperately). I had barely gotten on one of the first roads when this car started following pretty close behind. So, I sped up a little to give us some space. He quickly closed that gap. I did so again, this time going over the speed limit. Again, he closed the gap. We finally got to the road I needed to turn on, so we turned, and guess who was following right on our bumper at the turn? So, I decided to stop on the side of the road and let this speed-demon pass. However, the view of the side of the road was deceiving (and in Virginia, the “side of the road” means grass). We went down a tiny hill of about 3-5 feet and the jeep was breaking as quickly as I wanted. In front of us was a deep ditch (maybe about 3 feet deep). We both screamed and stopped about a foot from the ditch. I called home and explained our situation; Madison called 911 and told them the license plate of the guy. Dad came and helped get the Jeep back on the road. I didn’t want to drive after that–I was shaking pretty badly. And I don’t remember if a parent drove us to our game, or if we just stayed home that night.
4) Killing a Pheasant: In 2008, my dad (a Marine) was transferred from Virginia to California, which means we had to move cross-country again. The whole last week, we stayed in a hotel as the Marine Corps packed up our house and started moving to CA. Saturday, I graduated high school, Sunday was my mom’s birthday and Paige’s baptism, and Monday, we left the state. We had 6 of us, two cars, and a trailer full of bikes and important JAG papers, and other random boxes. So, we needed 2 drivers at all times. Well, we had 3 (my parents and me) so we rotated. One day, my dad was driving the jeep and trailer, and I was driving the minivan. We were in the New Mexico/Arizona/Nevada area–somewhere with only one lane going each ways and no cars to be seen. I was in front, going about 80mph and I saw this huge bird. I started to slow because it wasn’t running or flying away. I was going to quickly get on the other side of the road (again, no cars to be seen) to go around it, but my mom assured me it would fly away. A few seconds later, it didn’t fly away. There was a thud-ud. I had ran over the big pheasant. It was big enough to have hit the van’s license plate before going under. My dad called us on his cellphone asking what had happened because red stuff had flown into the front window of his jeep. Mom answered that I had ran over a pheasant. I was crying (I cry alot apparently). I yelled over the phone “Because mom made me!” When we stopped for gas, we noticed a bunch of guts and blood that had smeared all over the jeep’s grill. My dad and brother and mom could not stop laughing. I felt terrible because I could’ve saved the pheasants life if I hadn’t listened to mom. Today, it is kinda funny, but it certainly wasn’t for almost a year!