Essay Non-Fiction posted July 10, 2021


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The time I passed my driving test.

Passing the Three-Point Test

by Lisa Marcelina


The year was 1986 when I turned seventeen, and my mother sent me to get my driver's permit. I passed the written regulations on my first try. All I needed now was to learn to drive.

My father had a driving instructor cousin who agreed to give me lessons. I took the necessary lessons, and then came the day of the driving test. I was so nervous my legs shook, and my palms were all sweaty.

The first part was the yard test which comprised the three-point turn. My nervousness made it difficult to concentrate. After doing the first point, I pushed the jerry-curled hair away from my face and prepared to reverse. I reversed and got ready to execute the second point, then stopped. Pushing the jerry curls away from my face again, I sighed loudly. You should know I am doing the test in a manual car because we did not have automatic vehicles in those days.

"You are not ready to drive Miss," the driving inspector said.

"I know," I said, shaking my head and pouting.

However, I managed to complete the three-point and passed. Next came the road test. I was still nervy while the oily jerry curls falling in my face did not help. I managed the road test without incident until, on the way back, I turned too quickly to enter the yard and almost hit the gate post. Thank God the driving inspector had brakes on his side. When we made it into the yard and parked, he turned to me and said, "You fail Miss."

Of course, my mother was disappointed. But she wasted no time signing me up again. She told me a co-worker knew someone who worked in the Licensing Department. They would do a letter to give the supervisor on the day of the driving test. However, I had to do my driving practice as usual. My father even offered to give me lessons. I must say, he was quite good at teaching me what to do. By the time the test date came around, I knew how to do a three-point turn with ease.

When the date for the test came around, my driving instructor was late. This did nothing for my anxiety. I kept walking up and down the yard, wondering if he would turn up at all, while my mother sat calmly reading a newspaper.

As I walked, I noticed another driving instructor looking at me. I guess curiosity got the better of him because eventually, he came and asked what was wrong.

"I'm waiting on my driving instructor. I have my driving test today, and he's late."

"You want to use my car to do the test?"

"Yes, please, I said excitedly."

He made all the necessary arrangements, but I said nothing to my mother. I went, executed the three-point perfectly and passed. Thrilled, I ran and told my mother. She was most upset.

"Lisa! Didn't I tell you I have a letter here to give to the people? How could you go without telling me? Come and sit down here!"

My smile faded instantly, and I humbly sat down. Granted, this was just the yard test, and I still had the road test to do. As my excitement and joy dwindled, I wondered why she couldn't be happy for me.

My instructor eventually arrived about three hours later. I told him I already did the yard test and passed. He looked at me and said, "Well, you could have waited for me. What am I supposed to do now? You should have just gone and do the road test without me too." I felt terrible, as though I disappointed everyone.

I watched as my mother spoke with him and wondered what they were talking about. Soon after, the time came to do the road test. I don't know if she gave him the letter, but I did the road test, more confident and at ease this time. The inspector was pleased with my performance. When we returned to the yard, he told me, smiling, "You passed Miss."

Yes! I was so happy I ran to my mother. "Mommy, mommy, I pass!"

"Lisa, you pass? Very well."

I am not sure if the letter had anything to do with it, but I would like to think I passed on my own merit.

That day, April 18th, 1986, I received my driver's permit at the age of seventeen. It was an important milestone for me because it was one of the few times I felt accomplished and not like a failure.



True Story Contest contest entry


This is an excerpt from my memoir.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay.
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© Copyright 2021. Lisa Marcelina All rights reserved.
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