Think Twice: Behind the wheel

Think Twice: Behind the wheel

Jana Isern, Staff Writer

Welcome back people! It’s a new quarter, new week and I am already exhausted. I’ll be honest, I am very jealous. It seems like everyone on this planet decided to go to Florida for Spring Break and now they’re coming back with golden tans and rested faces. 

I didn’t go to Florida. Instead I packed for our move across the street and my main job was sorting out a huge sack of Legos by color. (Not my idea.) It took me three days. And just as I thought I was done, two more boxes of Legos came out and I was ready to die. 

But that’s not all I did. I also completed my behind the wheel course, with some complications toward the end, but I am officially a licensed driver. 

Sort of….

The first day I was extremely anxious. I always get nervous for everything but this was stabbing-pains-in-the-stomach-shaky-hands type of nervous. 

I got into the car with the other boy I would be learning with and I started driving. The instructor told me to go down to Pungo which was a complete nightmare because if you’ve been to Pungo, the roads are extremely narrow and the gravel is rough and uneven. Almost everyone speeds in that area and it seems like the only vehicles driving down those roads are huge trucks owned by middle aged men who have no fear in honking at the slightest inconvenience. 

The first time I got honked at was from a pickup truck and it has haunted me ever since.

I made it through the practice drive with a couple of warnings to take the curves slower, but overall I think I did fine. 

The second day we did “city driving” which is ironic because Virginia Beach isn’t much of a city, but this sort of driving is more of my comfort zone because I drive through the city area very often. I find comfort in being squished in a lane with cars on each side. 

Then came highway driving and I thought I was going to die again. It was very basic because pretty much all you’re doing is holding the wheel straight but I was so nervous all I could bother doing was nodding and laughing at the right times to make it seem like I was involved in the conversation with the instructor. Regardless of the fact that my sweaty hands were practically slipping off the wheel, I managed to keep the wheel straight and I survived to tell the tale. 

Parking… I hate parking and it drives me insane because I am playing into the typical stereotype that women can’t park. And in my case it’s true. As crazy as it sounds I have the hardest time pulling into a simple parking space. Now, let me clarify, I can park between the lines (most of the time) but that wasn’t good enough for my instructor. A good parker must park dead center every time. And Jana is not a good parker. 

I turn too tight so then I am over the left line every single time and each time I had to park I could see the smug smile growing on the instructor and student’s faces. 

I am great at parallel parking and rear parking. Mostly because I get to use the little camera that beeps when I get too close. Otherwise I would be a lost case. I would refuse to go anywhere mainly because when I got there I wouldn’t be able to park. 

So anyway, all to say that it was a good experience and even though I thought I would collapse at some point from the nerves. I passed the test with only one mistake. (I drove through a tight left turn too fast and almost fell into a ditch).

I passed! But I can’t drive. 

I got my permit last June but because of visa documentation, it expired within the first six months. God forbid immigrants were actually given the chance to adapt and settle into their new country. 

I didn’t realize it was expired until March, because it had no reason to be. All I was thinking about was getting those nine months of driving. 

I drove illegally for three months but I never got pulled over so I evaded the law like a true criminal. 

I renewed my permit recently just before starting behind the wheel so now the issue is that I have those three months in between to make up. If everything goes to plan, I should be able to drive by June and that’s if the DMV operator had a good lunch and decides to accept both of my permits. 

Apparently of the 30 years my instructor had been teaching, this has never happened before. 

Just my luck.