Let me tell you a little story about growing up in the city.
Specifically, around age 16.
Those of you who live…oh, anywhere else…probably learned to drive on wide-open, leafy streets lined with beloved friends and relatives all waving little flags, ushering kittens, trash cans, and other small dangers out of your path, and generally cheering you on. Or at least that’s how I picture it.
You know what happens on Day 1 of your first driving lesson in NYC? If you’re me? A very over-it driver’s ed teacher picks you up outside your Hell’s Kitchen apartment, which happens to be located directly next to Times Square, and points you in the direction of one of the most congested, heavily-trafficked areas in the world.
Oh, and it was raining.
So twenty minutes later, I was treated to the pleasurable task of giving my mom a ring from the police station, where my instructor was filing a report about how his student managed to hit a limo (it wasn’t all that hard, actually).
And then test day came. And you know how you get to your driving test, if you grow up in New York City?
You take the FDR Drive, which is basically a Speedway To Hell, it’s so fast and narrow and full of completely insane drivers. (I took that photo yesterday, when Dad and I were driving to Sheepshead Bay to go fishing, because we almost – and I don’t mean “almost”, I mean really seriously almost - got in accidents two separate times, thanks to the aforementioned completely insane drivers. See how the photo is blurry? That’s because I was bouncing up and down in my seat so much because of the enormous potholes that I couldn’t get the camera to focus.)
On test day, however, I managed to survive the trip on the FDR and make it through parallel parking, three-point-turns, and stop signs. And then I hit a person.
Let me say that again, in case you didn’t hear me the first time.
I hit a person. On my driving test.
But as it turned out, it wasn’t as big of a deal as I initially thought (and trust me, I initially through it was a pretty effing large deal), because the person had totally tried to get hit. You see, the town where I was taking my test was basically Driving Test Central for kids from New York City, so I guess the local teenagers had started making a game of it, jumping in front of the cars as they were rolling up to a stop sign and then screaming that they’d been hit and that the test-taker should fail. Nice, right? And smart.
Anyway, I passed. (In all fairness, though, I should admit that this was the second time I took the driving test – the first time involved a stop sign that I swear to god, came out of nowhere.)