I was the last of my friends to get my driver's license. They all took Driver's Ed. together in high school. I felt a little left out when they talked about the "stimulators." I peeked my head into the classroom one day to see for myself. They were playing driving video games. No one looked very stimulated. It would be years before I experienced stimulated driving for myself.
When I was finally old enough to get my license, I decided that I'd rather not take Driver's Ed. It didn't seem necessary. Grandpa was the head of the State Board of Driver's Examiners. That made him Influential. And that made me Golden. I have always enjoyed the abuse of power when it is on my side.
I made an appointment for my written exam. My boyfriend, Waks Thatass, drove me to the testing site. I spent most of the allotted time writing Mist + Waks = Love on the back of the test booklet. Also, I practiced writing my name and his last name in cursive. Mist Thatass. I still like the way that sounds.
At the end of the test, the proctor asked us all to choose a partner and exchange tests. He handed out answer keys and instructed us to correct each other's exams. There was an odd number of people taking the test that day and I got to correct my own test. I rounded down the number of incorrect answers to two.
Thirty days later, with appropriate paperwork in hand, I returned to the DMV for my behind-the-wheel test. The examiner studied the forms and asked, "Mist 1? Any relation to Mr. Take 1?" I told him that I was his granddaughter and that Grandpa expected me to do exceptionally well on the test. Then I asked him how to spell his last name. His voice cracked as he spelled it for me. I wrote it down and asked if we should get started.
As I mowed over cones and rolled through stops, I asked him if he liked his job. He nodded; eyes never straying from the road. I completed the slalom portion of the exam flawlessly. I parallel parked in two smooth motions. To this day, I can still parallel park. Sometimes, I even get close to the curb.
I got my driver's license that day.
My parents made a sizable donation for improvements to be made to the grounds; a little area now known as "Pedestrian Memorial Parking Lot."