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Birthday 17 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   The sun gracefully danced on the circular hood ornament as the golden Acura slowly emerged from the driveway. Within the confines of the mechanical beast sat an ailing driver and his frustrated parent. It was to be a birthday of birthdays. Had he only known what was in store for him, he probably would have just stayed home.

Alas, I was that driver, and it was my birthday. As I pulled from the driveway. I had little fear of my upcoming trial. After all, it's only a driver's test. Everyone passes his driving test! Unfortunately, fate had thrown me a curve ball on that bright and cheery morning. Waking up sick, I had little desire to exhibit my driving prowess to an uncaring, omnipotent stranger, but I couldn't pass up my only chance at mobility!

Shutting off the radio, I tried my best to focus on the task at hand. Buildings whirled past and the yellow lines blurred into one continuous streak. Truly, I was in no shape to tackle the test, but I pressed on. The Department of Motor Vehicles approached agonizingly slowly. Even from a distance, the huge line of anxious teens was immediately visible. It was going to be a long morning.

As my golden chariot rolled into the lot, I was bombarded by a myriad of driving tips from my mother. "Don't drive too fast, too slow, or too medium! Signal 9000 feet in advance! Hand over hand steering! Check the air in the tires! Do your homework! Clean your room!" It seemed like I was told every rule of the road. Perhaps I should have paid more attention. Parking behind a red coupe, I began the long wait. That's when I saw him.

He had a face only Adolph Hitler could love - stern, uncaring, unfeeling, stone. I could feel the chills run down my spine as the gray-haired mongrel entered my car. Afler scrutinizing my documents, he scribbled some information on a dog-eared yellow form while I released the parking brake and threw the car in gear. "I hope you're not planning to go anywhere without my authorization." Mistake number one. He returned to the yellow form.

During the next few nervous minutes I handled myself with aplomb - belting, signaling, turning, checking. I was literally on a roll. And then came the three-point turn, the one my dad had patiently rehearsed with me so many times I could sense the curb before I reached it. Confidently, I maneuvered the machine through the narrow area when, to my horror, I hit the curb with such a jolt that my passenger's yellow pad went flying. Mistake number two ... more scribbling.

What happened after that is only a blur. Did it matter that the posted limit was 15 miles per hour? At this point I just wanted to get to the finish line and reschedule my next test. And as for the Fuehrer, maybe he'll catch my germs and call in sick that day.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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