When I was in high school, I was a huge dork. I didn’t date, I didn’t go to dances, and I didn’t exercise (which explains the “huge” part). At the age of 16, I got my driving permit, which allowed me to drive as long as an adult was riding shotgun with me. My older brother let me drive one afternoon after school to help me get practice at what he called “real driving.” The only difference between driving and “real driving” was the fact that he didn’t hold me to every standard my parents did. So as long as I didn’t wreck his car, he was cool with whatever speed I was going. He didn’t make me check my mirrors or use my blinkers. And he didn’t care if the radio was on. It was very cool. The wind whipped through my greasy hair, and we laughed the day away, cruising down the main streets arguing about the real words to Eiffel 65’s “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” and loving life. I blame these euphoric feelings for the incident that followed.
We drove past a community park near our house, and I saw the girl at school that I had a crush on. She was jogging in the park about 100 feet ahead of us on the other side of the chain-link fence. Feeling bold and new, basking in my driving freedom, I had my brother lean back, and I waved out his window. I even honked and yelled her name as we approached so she’d see me. This is when several things happen in quick succession. Unbeknownst to me, I was tugging the steering wheel in the direction of my yell. So while the road turned slightly to the left, the car turned slightly to the right. I hit the curb with a thud (deafening crash) and hopped up into the grass next to the fence. My brother, having leaned back to let me shout over him, bounced up and nudged (uppercut) my jaw with his wrist. I then turned (yanked) the wheel back to the left out of instinct and slid (careened) back onto the roadway. I eased (fishtailed) back into my lane and regained control. With an aching (throbbing) jaw and hurt (devastated) pride, I looked in my rear view mirror in time to see the girl of my dreams laughing at me.
There was enough damage to my brother’s car to prevent keeping it a secret from my parents. So I lost my driving privileges, ruined any chance I had with the girl, and spent the rest of the year earning money to repair my brother’s car. My parents drove me to and from work until I left for college.