Brakes Optional | Teen Ink

Brakes Optional

November 1, 2018
By or_viz23 BRONZE, Cornwall On Hudson, New York
or_viz23 BRONZE, Cornwall On Hudson, New York
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

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Work until you don't have to introduce yourself

Driving to school is an essentially routine thing. Typically brakes are also an important factor in any driving equation. But hey, sometimes we don’t always get what we want.

Belting out some showtunes at 7am, bright and early, I was approaching a stop sign and and eased my foot on to the brake pedal. To my dismay, the pedal went straight to the floor, no resistance, and to conquer my suspicions the brake light glowed a satanic red on my otherwise pale dash. I had a leaking brake line and and whole lot of road between my position and school. “Okay” I said to myself “I am certainly awake now”. Despite the obvious peril, the odds were in my favor as my car is a manual so I could downshift in order to slow down, somewhat.

After managing to slow role the jeep to the school, I asked the security officer if I could go check something on my jeep “because I may or may not have a leaking brake line.” Once granted permission to assess just how doomed I was for the ride home, I crawled under my red deathtrap on wheels to find a dripping line by my rear tire. Final diagnoses, I was in fact doomed.

Naturally, I forgot my wallet, leaving me with no way to buy brake fluid to muster me home. However I had confidence in my driving and an urgent need to get the jeep in driveway in which it could be fixed. Having a chronic case of  “I got this” meant I wasn’t calling anyone for help. I had this.

As the school day came closer to an end my confidence in a brakeless drive home was threatening to leave me. I had denied all my usual passengers for the ride home. Should anything happen, it didn’t need to happen to anyone else.

I sat in my seat last period like a runner on a starting block, adrenaline pumping. I barely heard the dismissal bell echoing as I bolted through the halls straight toward the parking lot. The fewer people in front of me, the smaller the risk. As I backed out, I quickly shifted from reverse to first and crawled my way out of school grounds, first task completed. Now, you may be wondering why I didn’t think to use my e-brake. Well , this glorious legacy of a 97  Wrangler has been through my father, and two older brothers, all of whom thoroughly enjoy drifting which unfortunately leaves me with a stretched out, utterly useless e-brake. Bummer.

About 40% of the way home was down hill, exaggerating each turn and using my transmission  to slow me down, I managed to survive all the way to the first stoplight. Unfortunately, this stoplight lived on an incline. So rude. Rolling up to the glaring shade of red that looked all too similar to my,  just as evil, brake light. My jeep succumbed to gravity and started to roll backwards, where a Prius was sitting so eloquently, with its silly brakes working and everything. I tapped the accelerator ever so slightly and balanced until the light finally decided to turn green. Turning onto the long way home only to be greeted with a moving van that was driving  all too slow for my unstoppable momentum. Immediately my feet performed a habitual dance in a reflexive downshift in an effort to keep my bumper out of the trucks business.

Managing to avoid accidentally kissing the moving truck or any other obstacle, I rev matched into the haven of my home. Finally realizing the crazy feat I’d performed, I took a deep breath.

Assessing the problem and confronting it head on without panicking lead me to execute such a task with great confidence. Proving to myself that taking a moment to believe in myself and apply what I’ve learned can get me anywhere, even without brakes.

The author's comments:

Just a random day going to school about three days before we had to pick to what tp write for our college essay. It certinley wasn't an event I thought would be on paper especially to this degree of severity. Goes to show its the little things that can have the biggest impact.

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This article has 2 comments.

jeff said...
on Feb. 21 2019 at 11:35 am
jeff, .com, Arizona
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments
This was a great essay I realy enjoyed reading usaly I never finesh reading stories but this one I read all the way throgh.

jrviz44 said...
on Nov. 12 2018 at 9:31 pm
jrviz44, Clearwater, Florida
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
Great essay, sounds like a great Jeep to me :)