Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Rant #1,325: Car-Niversary

I was relieved of my duties of being a potential juror yesterday.

I sat for hours, and then finally, they called about 30 of us into a room, and dismissed us.

Now I don't have to worry about this for six years, but on the federal court level, I could be called next year.

Something not to look forward to.

Anyway, today is an anniversary of sorts for me.

Forty years ago today, I received my actual driver's license in the mail.

I was 17, and as ready to drive as anyone possibly could be.

At that time, in New York State, you could get your learner's permit at 15, so in 1972, just a few weeks after I became that age, I took the written test, I think a got one or two wrong, but that was enough for me to get my learner's permit.

Every weekend, I would go out with my father to a desolate parking lot, and we would go through the various driving scenarios with the car that would be mine when I got my permanent license, my dad's old yellow Impala cab.

It was beat up, had a big dent in its side, but that was my first car, and I never painted it. I like it yellow.

Anyway, I also took driver's ed in school one summer, where my instructor was none other than actor Alec Baldwin's father.

Anyway, once it came time, I took my actual road test.

It went very well, as I recall.

I did exactly what I was supposed to do, and I remember that the officer in the car told me to park the car, parallel park it.

I started to do that, and in the middle of the action, when I was just about halfway done, he said to me, "OK, that's enought, you passed the test," and I brought him back to the origination point--and that was that.

Then, a few weeks later, the actual license came. I was overjoyed.

Just to get a feel for what I now had the power to do, I went with my mother on my first drive as a real, New York State driver--to our local bowling alley.

Every Saturday, I bowled in a league, and rather than ride my bike there--as I had done for the prior couple of years--I could now drive there, so that was a good place to go on my first drive.

We went there, and as I was coming home--maybe a block away--a stray dog darted in front of my car.

I slammed on the brakes, and I am sure my mom and I almost went through the windshield, as this was prior to the law where you had to wear seat belts while driving.

From that moment on, I vowed that if that situation ever happened again, it would be the animal, not me, who would get it.

Anyway, 40 years is 40 years. I have had numerous cars, I have had some accidents, I have traveled thousands and thousands of miles--to school, to work, to vacation spots, on emergencies, on pleasure driving, driving right after being married, bringing home my kids after they were born, etc.

It has been fun.

I have had my life flash before my eyes due to a horrific accident, I have had great times in the car too.

I have even helped teach my daughter to drive.

My son is another case. Due to his disability, right now, he cannot drive, but one day in the future, I am hoping that he will be able to have the same pleasure that I have had, behind the wheel of his own car.

We shall see.

But anyway, I now can say that I have 40 years of driving under my belt.

I guess I have a right to congratulate myself for this accomplishment, and looking ahead, I hope I have at least 40 more years of driving to celebrate.

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