I woke up with butterflies bouncing off the walls of my stomach. Today is the day! I thought with more excitement than nervousness. I looked at the clock and it read 7:59. It was only eight o’clock but that’s usually the time my internal alarm woke me up anyways. I am usually able to fall back asleep for at least a half hour or so, but this time the jittering excitement that was building inside me kept popping my eyelids back open every time I shut them. I stared at my backboard against the wall. I studied the white, wicker design and tried to calm my mind down. Finally I threw off my red, yellow and turquoise paisley comforter and sat straight up in my bed. I looked at my reflection in my vanity across the room, set up at a perfect angle and tilt so that I can look at myself as soon as I woke up. I can do this. And as I thought that, it wasn’t as much me trying to convince myself I could as actually believing I could.
I checked my desk for my permit and six point identification papers I needed for the DMV this morning. I read the old, wrinkled sheet that they gave me the day I finished my six hours and read the time for my driving test appointment “11:30 am”. My heart was pounding inside my chest. After 17 years of waiting (and three days because the DMV was closed on my birthday then Sunday and Monday as well), it would only be three more hours until I would finally be a licensed driver.
I grabbed my phone out of the charging dock and checked my instagram (literally my life condensed in an app). My friends think I’m obsessed, and although they’re probably right, there’s just something bout instagram that draws me in. Posting artsy pictures and adding effects, then seeing how many likes and followers you get is just such a rush. After spending about ten minutes scrolling aimlessly through all the posts, I decided I needed to start getting ready. I walked into the bathroom and brushed my teeth. I spit into the sink and watched the water swirl my toothpaste down the drain. I took my dirty blonde hair out of it’s tightly wound bun to reveal long, wavy hair. Just the way I wanted it to look for my license picture. I threw on some mascara and eyeliner, my blue v-neck and floral jean shorts then put on a headband and viewed myself in the bathroom mirror. Satisfied, I practiced my smile. It couldn’t be too big or else my round face would scrunch up my cheeks under my eyes and give me fat dimples (something I’ve observed about myself when I laugh too hard). But I had to show just the right amount of teeth. After getting it just right, I headed downstairs to the kitchen to have some breakfast.
I reached into the cupboard and pulled out some Honey Nut Cheerios. After pouring myself a bowl I realized my mom bought Chobani last night and I was desperate for mixing my greek yoghurt with a little bit of honey. I LOVE Chobani. If I could pick only three things to bring on a deserted island it would probably be my iPhone (instagram), Chobani, and Ted.
“Sammy, do you want this?” I held out the bowl of cheerios to my little sister who walked down in shorts and a t-shirt while brushing her hair back into a pony-tail, getting ready for camp. My mom left this morning to go to work and gave me permission to yell at her if she didn’t get up in time for my dad who was driving her to camp as well as me to the DMV. So that being said I sat in her room on a chair with a spray bottle until she got up and dressed. She came downstairs relatively quickly after that, and I wondered why my mom had never thought of that tactic in the first place.
“Sure,” she said sleepily.
I grabbed my Chobani out of the fridge and sat down on the couch with Sammy watching Spongebob. I checked my phone. 9:20 am. I texted my dad and asked when he was going to be here because I wanted to have enough time to practice in the parking lot across the street, especially with his car. Technically it was his girlfriend’s car, but she let me borrow it because she’s awesome and I needed a car with a middle break.
By the time he got here I was ready to go. I got into her small, black Audi and pulled out of the driveway confidently. I love driving, I thought. Especially in Audis.
After dropping Sammy off at camp, my dad and I plugged in the directions for the DMV and were on our way. Siri took us through a series of winding, narrow back roads that tested my driving skills, but I would say I proved successful. The sky was gray in overcast, and before I knew it, it started to drizzle.
“Now, just in case it starts raining during your test, your windshield wipers are here,” my dad said pointing to the lever on the right side of the steering wheel. “Just push it up a notch to turn them on.” Easy enough. “Have you ever driven in the rain before?”
“Na, it can’t be that hard though,” I responded with confidence. I don’t know why but I am maybe the most confident driver you will meet. I wouldn’t say I drive often, but when I do I always feel very comfortable behind the wheel; which is why I knew I was going to pass.
Getting to the DMV was an interesting adventure. Getting there was a disappointment. It was pouring. After practicing for a little while in the parking lot, my dad and I headed on line where a man in a yellow rain jacket with a blue plastic clipboard came up to my window. I rolled down my window as the rain slowed to a light drizzle. He asked to see my permit and birth certificate, so I handed him the papers. He looked like a skeptical man; never really smiling, just doing his job. After looking over my information and handing me back the documents he went to the front and rear of the car and asked me to turn on my blinkers and step on the breaks. Check and check, I thought, anxious to get on with it.
“Now roll up your window, stop- roll it back down,” the man demanded. I did as I was told. “Okay so you can either go online or reschedule inside the DMV if you would like to park and wait on line. You can’t plan to reschedule until exactly 24 hours after your cancelled license test…” the man in the yellow rain jacket holding the blue clipboard went on but I wasn’t listening. I heard my dad sigh next to me in frustration. I was confused.
“Are you saying I can’t take the test..?” I was seriously pissed off but way more confused. What the fuck was this guy talking about, and why was he showing zero emotion or sympathy. He didn’t even tell me what the hell I did wrong.
“Yes, the drivers window is tinted.” Was this a fucking joke? He was kidding. I suddenly wanted to rip his stupid clipboard out of his hands and smash it against his stupid face. He handed me a pink piece of paper and started talking again. He didn’t even say anything about the paper which confused me again, I asked, more annoyed this time;
“Is this for me to keep or am I supposed to give this back to you and sign it or something.” It came out as more of a statement than a question even though I was expecting an answer.
“You hold on to that.” He continued on with something about rescheduling and then he was finally done. I sat there and opened my mouth, unsure if I should argue with him about how ridiculous he was being, or smash his skull through my window and scream “WHO’S TINTED NOW BITCH”.
“Thank you,” was all that came out of my mouth. He walked away and I shut the window. “What the fuck” I muttered under my breath. My dad heard me but he was equally frustrated so I knew it was okay.
“I am so sorry sweetie. That’s such bull shit.” My dad is more like me in that sense. He’ll curse with me and understand me when I’m upset or in trouble. I fought back tears in the back of my throat, but only for a couple seconds.
“Whatever.” Even though it sounded like it, I didn’t want to give up there. I badly wanted to ask all of the cars around me if I could borrow theirs to take my test in. I even called Caitlin, a girl with the same test day as me, and asked to borrow her car if she was still at the DMV. I don’t really like or respect Caitlin ever since she got with Jared behind Sally’s back (being Jared and Sally are basically dating no matter how much I disapprove or how dysfunctional their relationship really is, haha). It was no use. For some reason, I just wasn’t supposed to take the test that day. And although I may never know why, I wasn’t about to cry about it.
I pulled out of the DMV parking lot in silence, but not because I was upset or angry (although I was still simmering down from evil-clipboard-man’s merciless speech); but because I was deep in thought. It’s kind of exciting, I thought. I wonder why I wasn’t supposed to take the test. I know its probably fucked up that I was excited I couldn’t take it, but I was so curious and intrigued that things didn’t turn out as planned that it was almost hard for me to cry about it. I didn’t want to cry. My imagination was spinning with “what ifs”. What if I got into a serious accident and hydroplaned because of the rain. What if my instructor failed me. Maybe fate just thought I just needed more practice. What if I was taking the test and my instructor ended up being an axe murderer… Yeah, so the last one probably wasn’t likely. But after a few minutes of silence I finally agreed with myself outloud.
“Maybe it was just supposed to be sunny when I passed.” My dad was always a positive thinker. He liked my attitude and agreed with me.
“There you go! That’s definitely it.”
We took a different route home. I got on route 10 and drove with ease as the rain on the pavement underneath the car in front of us misted up like steam. I took caution and kept my distance. The first stoplight we stopped at I slowly slid to a stop behind a little red Chevy. My dad was on the phone with my mom, explaining to her the ridiculous situation that just went down as my gaze naturally fell on the bumper of the Chevy in front of us. My heart stopped in it’s beating tracks. A Rider sticker. Of course… I thought but still kind of freaked out. Why is there a car with a Rider sticker in front of me? If I had taken the test, we wouldn’t be behind this car at this stoplight right now. Is this a sign? My mind blew up with questions, but no answers.