I can recall the day I obtained my drivers license. I was 25 years old.
This afternoon I was waiting at a red light and I usually never turn to look who is by my side in the next lane but for some reason I turned my head to the left and I saw a kid from the area. I recognized him from somewhere.
He was 16 years old…and behind the wheel of the vehicle.
My wife began taking some Pilates lessons and her instructor lived in New York for a bit. Turns out her husband is from the Lower East Side. He’s never driven a car. (Don’t worry, I won’t reveal his age but let’s just say the instructor is in her 40’s). She told my wife she has to drive him everywhere. I mean growing up in NYC, you don’t need wheels. You have the bus, train, taxi’s and your feet.
My mother and father never drove.
My uncle Tim didn’t get his license until he was 5o years old.
The only reason I received my license was because I was named head basketball coach of the Bishop Ford freshmen basketball team. If it wasn’t for that, I’d probably be taking public transportation today.
Ray Nash, the athletic director at Ford informed me I needed a license in order to drive the van to transport our players to away games. (Our first road trip, Glenn T drove the van, I failed my road test a few days before that)
YOU DUMMY! is what you’re probably saying now. But that’s cool. I pride myself on always bouncing back when adversity sets in. Someone once told me you’re not a failure if you fail at something.
So I persevered and didn’t give up. I was determined to pass that damn road test.
I took some driving lessons from a driving school down on 5th avenue and 9th street – it was a joke. It was a big reason I probably failed.
The written exam was a breeze, gimme my license, I’m ready to go!
Not so fast my friend.
There was another test; the road test. What’s with these tests? I hate tests!
The road test can’t be that bad, right? Get in the car, step on the gas and boom, you’re rollin’.
The day of the road test the guy took me out to Staten Island.
‘Where we goin’? I asked.
‘Out to Staten Island’.
“Why we goin to Staten Island” I asked as we drove on the BQE out to the bridge.
“Don’t worry about it, you’ll do fine.” he assured me.
An hour later, I failed.
I was heart-broken.
Now I’m probably going to date myself here but at the time in Staten Island, you had to use hand signals! No I wasn’t driving a horse and buggy! The driving school on 5th avenue failed to teach me hand signals.
The next day I enrolled in the driving school on 9th avenue. The lady was aces. She prepared me like no other.
I took my road test down in Red Hook.
“If I pass this test” I told the instructor while we drove down 9th street, “I’m running all the way home!”
She laughed at me as she got out of the vehicle and some old dude with glasses clutching a clipboard got in.
I don’t recall much except for some other people taking the test. I do remember the guy writing stuff down in between him telling me to make a right here, make a left there.
After turning all over the place and parking the car a couple of times we arrived back where I left my instructor off.
The nice man informed me I passed.
After I received the good news I jogged all the way home.
I was so excited to have my drivers license!