I have no faith in the DMV. Why someone there would give a driver's license to a 16-year-old girl who failed to turn off the windshield wipers during her drivers test is beyond me.
Going into my test, I knew there was a 60 percent chance I would fail. However, my pride led me to believe that I was prepared -- and evidently that sense of "preparedness" was apparent to the woman who gave me a passing mark.
But let's backtrack a little bit.
My life is a string of ironic events, tied together by clumsiness-induced bruises and (in my opinion) an impeccable soundtrack. I am a magnet for bad luck, from irritating annoyances (such as accidentally watching the finale of a TV series that I started yesterday) to unbelievable improbabilities (like finding a single staple in my scoop of strawberry ice cream as a child and almost swallowing it).
With my reputation, no one in my family believed that I could possibly be a good driver. I, too, was under that impression, simply because I do not trust myself with other people's lives. But I also don't trust other drivers with my life.
Have you ever really thought about how dangerous driving is?
If 90 percent of the population can barely color within the lines, how do we expect them to drive within the lines? I'll be honest. I hate residential driving. I hate pedestrians. I hate jaywalkers. I hate schools that take kids on walking field trips. I hate tourists, joggers and dog-walkers. If you're one of these people, don't take it personally. I don't hate you because you do these things. I hate you because if you're doing these things while I'm driving and I hit you, it will be my fault. I hate that pedestrians have the right of way (except when I'm a pedestrian).
The only time I enjoyed driving was on the freeway. I loved the fact that no one in their right mind would walk across an overpass or bike into the fast lane. I loved that there were no stoplights or crosswalks. I loved being able to go fast and use cruise control and drive straight for miles. I loved the freeway.
Loved. Emphasis on the "ed."
Three days after I got my driver's license, I got into a car accident.
Tell me: What's more ironic than driving straight into the center divide on your first day driving alone?
I'll tell you what: driving straight into the center divide, stopping right before you hit a tree, getting off the center divide, pulling over to the left side of the road, getting out to check the damage, then seeing a substitute teacher from your school drive past with a concerned look as he watches you bawl your eyes out next to your parents' car.
Yeah. That happened.
If I had told you this story right after my accident, the moral would be this: Do not trust teen drivers. After the incident, I made an executive decision to never drive myself anywhere ever again. The only thing that stopped me from going to the DMV to forfeit my license was the fact that I had no one to drive me there.
At this point, I'm sure you're asking yourself, "Is this girl still driving? And if she is, who the heck let her back on the road?!"
Yes, I am driving again. In my defense, it has been six months since I received my license, and haven't had any accidents since.
Teens have become notorious for unsafe driving habits (texting, tweeting, sipping lattes), but I also think that a lot of driving skills come from self-confidence. I started out driving with the label of "klutz" already branded in my head, subconsciously making me think that if something were to happen, no one would have expected more of me.
But after my accident, I realized that hiding in the back seat for the rest of my life wasn't going to change that. Instead, I got back on the road and built up my confidence. While I realize that driving still is a very scary thing, as with most new things in life, confidence is key. Not only am I now a competent driver, with extensive knowledge of basic traffic skills, but I am also a confident driver who has outgrown her "klutz" label.
I can confidently say that a second driving mishap is not in my near future. And if it is, I can confidently call the insurance company without crying.
The Life in Perspective board is made up of teens who write for the features sections. Rosemarie Alejandrino is a senior at St. Patrick-St. Vincent in Vallejo. Reach her at email@example.com.