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The Driver This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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July 1st: the day was perfect. I had impatiently waited almost two months for that morning to come and it was finally here. This was the day I was going for my road test. I was so excited. I had managed to keep it a secret from nearly all my friends. I took the morning off from my job as a camp counselor. I was even missing one of my kid's birthday parties.

I remember the morning perfectly. Surprisingly, I had slept well the night before. I was moderately confident that I would pass. Hey, I could almost parallel park, and I knew I would not have to, anyway. I put on my best shorts outfit. I did my hair very neatly. I was ready to go. At a quarter of nine, my father and I arrived at the registry. I waited for the inspector to call my name. Of course, I was last. After what seemed like hours, I finally heard a gruff voice yell, "Spector!" I cannot remember ever feeling more intimidated than when I walked into his office. I gave him all the necessary papers. He took my permit and told my father to park the car on the side of the building and wait for my turn. Two girls were ahead of me. I sat in the driver's seat of our Nissan. I even timed the other girls' tests. They both came back with smiles on their faces. I felt sure that I would, too.

Finally, it was my turn. Officer Strang, the inspector, came to the car. I could not help but notice the large revolver in his left pocket. He told me to follow all traffic rules and listen carefully to his directions. First he told me to take a left out of the parking lot. I did it. No problem. I was on my way. We passed one set of lights. Then he told me to take the next left. I stopped and carefully looked both ways. No cars were coming, so I made the turn. We were on Manomet Street. He told me to take a left onto the next side street. He told me to pull over. I thought he was going to tell me to make a three-point turn. Instead he told me to switch places with my father. I was desperately hoping that Officer Strang was so impressed with my driving that I didn't have to drive back. Unfortunately I knew better. Officer Strang proceeded to tell me that I had gone right through a red light. I had just failed my road test.

My father drove me back to camp. I did not want to face everyone. I felt like my summer was ruined. I told everyone I had failed. I guess I'm terrible at keeping secrets. I found out that many people I knew failed their first road test, too. The next day my father made me another appointment: August 31. My summer was definitely ruined now. My father told me, however, that he had been told there were always cancellations and to check at least once a day for an earlier appointment.

For the next week we called twice a day with no luck. Then one afternoon, I walked into the camp office and there was a message for me. I knew he had gotten me an earlier appointment. It was for the next Wednesday, July 14th, at 1: 00 p.m. I knew it meant leaving work in the middle of the day and coming back later for family night, but I didn't care. This time I was not going to miss any red lights.

July 14th I was dressed worse than usual. I even had to wear my ugly blue staff shirt because it was family night. I tried to do my hair somewhat neatly, but I knew it would get messed up chasing after six-year-olds all morning. As I was leaving I remember my friend said, "Mindy, I need you to get your license." The pressure was on.

My father picked me up and we drove a half hour back to Brockton. Again I waited in the registry for my name to be called. This time there were five people ahead of me. At last I heard the same gruff voice call out, "Mindy!" I walked into the office and saw Officer Strang was going to give my second road test! I gave him my papers. He then turned to my father and said, "You remember where to park." Then I think he may have smiled at me.

I waited for what seemed like an eternity in the driver's seat of our blue car. Finally, he came out, shut the door. He gave me the same directions, but somewhat jokingly added that I should obey traffic signs. He told me to take the same left turn out of the registry. I drove through the first set of lights. He then told me to take the next left. This left was between the set of lights I had gone through the first time. I carefully made the turn. He told me to pull over between two trees and turn around (a three-point turn). I successfully completed that and drove back to the registry. I parked the car. Officer Strang signed my road test application. I finally did it. At last, I got my driver's license.

My summer was far from ruined. Although it would be another month before I had insurance and my parents let me drive the car myself, I didn't care: I had my license. I realize that some things are better if you have to wait for them.


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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