Monday, February 9th, 2012 sometime between 10 and 11 am is when I learned how not to use a car steering wheel. It was exactly one week after my fifteenth birthday, and it was just minutes after my third and final attempt at passing my learners permit test. The previous two attempts were failed attempts due to missing only one too many questions.
My father had decided that it would be best for him to drive his truck home from the DMV, since I had no prior driving experience at all. This was disappointing of course, but I couldn’t stay mad because after all I had my permit, so I would be driving soon enough. So my dad made the ten minute drive from the DMV to the Stewart’s gas station in my town to fill up his gas tank.
After he finished pumping the gas he opened the door and asked, “Hey Lynds, wanna drive home?” Oh boy did I ever want to make that 72 second drive from Main Street down to Clarendon Ave. So I hopped out of the passenger side and ran to the drivers side door.
Dad had coached me through it all. I did exactly what he said. I made sure I could see out of all the mirrors, I turned the key and heard his green Toyota Tacoma start. This was the most exciting moment of my life.
I put my foot on the break and put it in drive. I slowly lifted my foot off the break, and we were moving. I braked at the edge of the parking lot to look for oncoming cars before pulling into traffic. I was so happy that I forgot about the other two times I had failed my permit test.
Everything was going great. I put my blinker on to take the left turn onto Clarendon Avenue, and headed for home. As my mailbox came into sight I put my right blinker on and turned right.
I turned right just like they do in movies. My hands went from “ten and two” to “one and five,” and without touching my foot to the break. The hill that my house sits on came rushing toward the truck, and since I did not cut the corner sharp enough, I realized that I had made a great mistake.
Not being familiar enough with the vehicle to realize which pedal was gas and which was the break, I pressed the pedal on the right hoping to stop the truck. Quickly I discovered my second mistake, so I decided to quickly try the pedal on the left. Both me and my dad jerked toward the front of the truck as the vehicle suddenly came to a stop on the sidewalk just feet from our mailbox.
I lived, my dad lived and the truck saw no damage. Although the embarrassment still stings every few months every time my dad brings it up to pick on me. I have not been allowed to drive my dad’s truck since February 9th of 2012.
As an interdisciplinarian, I am constantly connecting dots that have not traditionally been connected, like how anthropology and marketing relates to one another in my major. To do this I need to step back and look at the bigger picture and critically think before I act on it. In the exact moment that I almost crashed my dad’s truck, exactly seven days after my fifteenth birthday, it would have been very helpful for me to have done this prior to my almost crashing my dad’s car.
For some reason I thought that if I passed this meager test that I would be able to at least handle a car on the road. If I had thought about it more in depth instead of with just wishful thinking, the situation would have ended differently. This experience solidified the importance of thinking more holistically, and connecting information that may not appear entirely relevant to each other in different situations, and being proactive whenever possible