Today I drove Willow to the new Lafayette Pool, wherein she dunked the pacifier she pulled from the bottom of the diaper bag (the pacifier that was bought right after she was born and that she never used) in and out of the heavily-chlorinated water. I believe I'll be tossing that pacifier now, assuming it hasn't been completely corroded.
But that's not the exciting part. Did you clock the bit where I drove us? All by our own selves? Yep, I got my license. Just a couple of days before we left for Hawaii, in fact. And so now I'm brave enough to drive all of five minutes through a part of Jersey City I'm extremely familiar with. That's progress.
The entire process of practicing, freaking out before the test, then taking the test, was deeply unpleasant. Dave and I come from two very different schools of driving, and I can tell that despite my official right to be behind the wheel, he still grips the edge of his seat. (Just try and deny it, Davey. Anyway I do the same thing when you're driving, so there). I would come to a corner where there was no stop sign, and I would slow down to check to make sure nobody was coming--perfectly normal behavior if you come from a land where the norm is to drive five miles below the speed limit. But Dave would start yelling at me that I was going to get rear-ended.
The thing, of course, is that he's probably right, since we're not in Hawaii, and people emphatically do not drive five miles below the speed limit, or even five miles above the speed limit, but I will never drive as aggressively as he wants me to, and every outing became an exercise in "you're yelling at me, stop it, it's freaking me out," and "well, I just don't want us to die, okay?"
Miraculously, we survived the three months before my driving test, but we didn't get enough parallel parking practice in, which was the one thing I, uh, somehow managed to get away with not learning when I took driver's ed back in the day. So two days before my driving test, I made Dave take me out to drive round and round our neighborhood while I cried because I was nervous I was going to fail the test (a habit left over from, oh, since I started taking tests) and Dave yelled at me to stop crying because it was Father's Day and not exactly how he wanted to spend his evening, and it was all generally ugly. And not exactly confidence-inspiring.
And then came the day of the test. I managed to not cry, but I was still nervous, and Dave told me to loosen up, be chatty and personable.
I tried. I said hello to the not very nice man, who did not say hello back. I asked him if it was a busy day today (there were people ahead of us, I don't know) and he gave me blank stare. I shut up. I was told to parallel park between two cones which are totally different from cars and by the way you can't see them so how can you park between them??? I backed in, I pulled forward, I tried to back in more but I had forgotten to shift into reverse so I pulled forward which was embarrassing and I apologized which probably made things worse and then I pulled back and forth a few more times because I couldn't see at all and had no idea what I was doing until I just gave up.
Not very nice man asked me if I was done. I nodded, he opened his door, looked at the curb, closed his door, and told me to drive on. I was positive I had hit one of the cones, or at the very least parked about a yard from the curb.
But, obviously, I passed. I have no idea how. And now I just have to get up the nerve to actually drive places.