My dad took me out in our automatic smooth ride of a car to teach me to drive. Only a few lessons under my belt and terrified of losing control of a two ton pedestrian crushing missile, I positioned my hands at ten and two and started the drive around the neighborhood. One misunderstood direction at the end of lesson led to me taking a left turn at around sixty miles per hour. My dad laughed and opened his mouth to speak.
“No,” I said, not quite snapping, “Just hold on. We’re almost home.” My nerves were singing a tense chorus of “OH MY GOD’s”. We sat in silence for the two or three minutes it took to get home and safely parked. “I understand what I did wrong. I won’t do it again and I’m sorry.”
My dad smiled and decided to switch tactics. Instead of the automatic, my dad bought a rusty shell of a VW bug and took me out to a dirt lot where I felt every bump in the ground. I felt in control and fear fled from the dented bumpers. It took me two years to get my driver’s license, but I only got there thanks to the slow turns of that VW bug.
The first round of post graduation holiday chatter, “What are you going to do now?” threw me around a curve at sixty mile per hour. Sure, I had my diploma, but I didn’t know how to drive this thing? Lives are a lot more complicated than cars and if I was paralyzed after that driving lesson, then I turned to stone after all of the well meaning questions that Christmas.
So when my friend Flip got a job near Baltimore and needed a roommate, I went. It’s been six months and I am so thankful for this period of driving slowly through the streets of my own life. I’ve conquered hurdles of adulthood such as bills, rent, home cooking, and cleaning with my best friend. Now “the A word”, as a friend of mine calls Adulthood, doesn’t scare me. Challenge me, yes.
I think I’m ready to face the open road as long as I have friends and family in the passenger seats.