I thought I was so cool when…

 … I drove myself to school for the first time. It was March 7th 1995. I know because my road test was March 6th. I can’t remember where I put my phone or my keys but that date has been branded into my memory. In the weeks and months leading up to that date, I counted down the days. I was sure having a driver’s license would change my life in ways I’d only ever dreamed of, not the least of which was finally knowing first-hand what it felt like to stand in the class lounge, jangling a set of keys in my right hand, as I prepared to head home.

And I was not disappointed. Having a driver’s license meant all the things I’d imagined as a sixteen year old; driving myself to school, shopping at the mall by myself, having control over the radio, and of course hearing the sweet jangle of keys emanating from my own hand. 

Having my driver’s license also gave me experiences I never would have imagined… Getting lost on the way to a place I’d been dozens of times and realizing I’d never actually paid attention to how to get there (this has happened more times than I care to admit). Watching from the driver’s seat, mouth agape, as my front passenger wheel dislodged itself from the car, then spun in a lazy S-shaped path until it finally rested on it’s side in a bed of perfectly manicured flowers at the entrance to my apartment complex. Packing my car full all of my carefully chosen favorite things, including two bicycles (my trusty, old road bike and my sexy, new triathlon bike) and driving cross country to create a new life.

But on March 7th, 1995, I didn’t know about any of that. I only knew how cool I felt as I opened the double doors of my all-girls prep school, and stepping out into the warm spring afternoon, holding the keys to my grandmother’s 1989 Oldsmobile Cutlass Sierra.  I stepped into the car that I thankfully had not had to parallel park that morning.

As I cruised down Blackstone Boulevard, I rolled my windows down, turned on the radio, and sang along to The J. Geils Band’s “Centerfold,” hoping the driver of a passing vehicle would notice me. Me, the young driver of this oh-so-uncool grandma car with a terrycloth steering wheel cover. Me, wearing my school uniform, which consisted of a way too short plaid kilt, a white polo shirt, and a pair of Doc Martens. Me, with with my white, straight teeth, perfect from four and a half years of braces. Sixteen year old me, picked last for every team, never invited to the in-crowd’s parties, silently wishing someone else would notice how cool I was, driving my grandmother’s car on that sunny March afternoon.

This post was brought to you by Finish the Sentence Friday…

9 thoughts on “I thought I was so cool when…

  1. Janine Huldie says:

    I too had a 1989 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme as my first car. I got my license right around the same time and was a senior in high school. You just brought back some great memories!! Thank you so very much for linking up with us, too! 🙂

  2. Linda Roy says:

    The terry cloth wheel cover – oh no! But practical and again, retro, even if not at the time. Blaring the J. Geils that blared from many a speaker in my day. You were cool though in that you wore your skirt too short and got away with it and you wore docs with it. Cool.

  3. Katia says:

    You know what I think is cool? That you remember the date! It’s so great to have an actual date to refer back to. I think it makes you feel way more present in your own life. I often don’t keep track of significant events and then I regret it.

  4. Dana @ Kiss My List says:

    So jealous that you could drive yourself to school! Even after I got my license, I didn’t have a car to drive. Very uncool to be a high school senior and take the bus, but that was me!

  5. clark says:

    how great were those days (this is multi-specific to anyone and everyone with those simple, clear good memories. Maybe it’s because we were young, without a lifetime full of knowing-better, or experience or caution… but very nice sounding memory.

  6. Marianne Sandling says:

    I can imagine how cool it must have been to drive to school!! I had a slightly different ‘ending’ to my teen years, so I got my lic @17 just before I gave birth to my older son… Learned to drive in a 15 passenger van… My first ‘car’ was my mom’s old 1985 Volvo and I couldn’t even drive then. My REAL first car was a 1984 Dodge Ram Van!!!Wish I had pics!!Thanks for sharing your FTSF post!Marianne @ Sandling All Day

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