aged and worn vintage photo of drive theater and cars sign with pointing hand

Did You Ever Drive?
by Diana Rosen

It began normally enough: a licensed driving school teacher, a car with steering wheels on both the driver’s and the passenger’s side, and learning the basics, which I practiced and practiced and practiced.

A challenge: an excursion! A drive to Julian, a tiny mountaintop town about an hour away from where I lived in Phoenix.

Oblivious to the perilous route up a winding road straight out of a Road Runner cartoon, we zipped along until we reached the top. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the teacher gripping his wheel saying with insistent steel, “I’ll drive us back down.”

He seemed a little pale.

He let me drive the mercifully wide, six-lane Phoenix roads all the way back. I was so proud.

After another month of lessons, the teacher said, “Let’s go to the DMV.”

The official tester, clipboard in hand, got in the car and I drove between the two white lines, parallel parked, turned left, turned right, checked side mirrors, rear view mirror. The tester made marks on the clipboard, and said, “You passed.”

Beaming, I told the teacher, “I passed!”

He looked a little stunned. “You did?”

That did not inspire confidence, but I had my first state-allowed license to drive.

I drove a few friends to the drive-in who thought my carefulness hysterically funny. They laughed. They giggled. They disrupted my concentration so that, after the movie, I bumped the car to the right, nudged the car to the rear, then, while driving into the exit lane, a man jumped out of his car and stood at the trunk, shouting, “Not mine, lady! Not mine!” as we drove off the lot. None of them, including me, noticed the speaker was still attached to my window.

I no longer drive.

PHOTO: “Drive in” by jdoms, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My storytelling process, which is how I perceive prose and poems I write, owes much to a journalism background in which one aim is to include the 5Ws and H (who, where, when, what, why and how) and a dedication to facts. The challenge, eternal, is to make the leap, to choose words with a spirit of abandon and wit so that, at rare but thrilling times, the reader can connect.

rosen

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Diana Rosen is a journalist, author of 13 nonfiction books, and published writer of poems and flash fiction online at camrocpressreview.com, writerstribebooks.com, verse-virtual.com, miriamswell.wordpress.com, among others; and, in print, in the anthologies: Kiss Me Goodnight, Stories and Poems by Women Who Were Girls When Their Mothers Died, Bold Ink, and Those who can…teach, and in print journals: Rattle, PDQ, convolvulus, Lucidity, Lunch Hour Stories (Finalist, VERY Short Story Contest), among others. Poems will be published in April and November issues of Poetic Diversity.