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I’ve always hated my dad’s driving. Wavering in speed and acceleration, the way he maneuvers the car evokes memories of the belligerent New York he hails from. While my dad refers to his driving style as a mode of achieving “honorable audacity” I consider it a form of reckless stupidity. Fluctuating in tempo, the sound of the engine mimics that of a child unable to make up their mind.

Through my dad’s rolling stops, sharp turns, and incessant lane changes, I analyze my resentment of his driving. Why does it bother me so much? Is it really his operation of the car, or does this loathing stem deeper?

On the road, an individual is forced to make decisions, acknowledging the fact that morality and reality often do not coexist. Taking detours to evade these limited choices, I yield to influence under the fear of failure, shame, and disappointment. Frankly, having to choose between what’s right and what’s real scares me. I’m reminded of the fact that at one point, I must sacrifice the values I have left to continue on the long boulevard of life.

I envy my father for his ability to tackle the dilemmas that lay before him. Although he makes senseless decisions, they are still adequate because of the courage needed to make them. And while the choices I make are more ‘reasonable’, I am dominated by an esoteric cowardness, consequently adhering to others’ standards rather than my own. Consistently bombarded by the ideals, philosophies, feelings, and even religious attitudes of others, I harbor jealousy for my dad as well as other ‘drivers’ because they, unlike me, know who they are and thus what they feel.

Moreover, I’m obligated to ask myself the question that seems to dominate every coming-of-age tale: Who am I? Am I the annoyingly anal retentive over-achiever? Am I the shy artist that hides behind her hair? Am I the political activist who takes umbrage in every differing opinion? Or am I just the awkward adolescent swimming in a pool of confusion? To be blunt, I don’t know, since the roles are switched respectively throughout the day.

Decisiveness resulting in disaster is my most honorable calling, for it manifests a great sense of self, trust, and confidence from within. Driving isn’t about the destination, nor the person behind the wheel: it’s about the journey we take as free individuals. Navigating through the ribbons of road, I hope to sacrifice a life of typecasting in favor of what may seem as haphazard decisions. Two routes reveal themselves as I arrive at Robert Frost’s infamous fork in the road. I choose to abstain from conforming to social norms; thus, I happily abandon the respectable yet monotonous pursuit of the “American Dream” that has defined my existence. When I inhabit the driver’s seat for the first time, I plan to use my own will as a road map to life.

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