A lot of people assume that all teenagers are ecstatic about the prospect of becoming drivers- but that's not always the case. While many people my age are thrilled at the idea of having a driver's license, I just cringed and told my parents that I'd be fine with a moped for my sweet sixteen.
For one thing, teenagers' first cars tend to be old beaters that come from some shady-looking car dealership or are handed down from older siblings. These cars aren't always reliable. In my experiences (with my '92 Dodge Dakota), first cars tend to break down- a lot- but, somehow, never enough to warrant the purchase of a safer vehicle.
Let me give you a quick run-down of my truck's problems: It has no windshield wipers; refuses to start on very cold or hot days; has no radio; gets 14 miles per gallon; never achieves warmth until I've reached my destination; and, likes to break down spontaneously.
This breaking down isn't limited to safe places like garages or driveways. I have been stranded in the middle of busy intersections and in other unsafe situations. Of course, when my dad arrives to pick me up, the truck becomes miraculously better, and I swear I can hear it giggling sinister-ly at my pain.
I have a friend - let's call her Joe – who has a car with a scary tendency to stop without being asked. Joe has been forced to walk home on multiple occasions when her car has decided that it wants to be done for the day. When you're working on the already difficult task of backing out of a parking space at Sonic during happy hour, it's not fun for your car to die and block everyone else from getting their half-price after school drinks.
I don't want to go so far as to say that our parents don't love us, but it's hard to think of a good reason to send your newly-licensed child out into the world in a rolling, angry metal death trap.
In addition to the physical danger I put myself in every time I climb behind the wheel, I have also experienced emotional trauma at the hands of my peers because of my vehicle's unsightly appearance. For one thing, the truck is almost 21 years old. The paint is peeling and some admirer kindly keyed the hood and sides. Although I prefer to keep my political views to myself, I can do nothing about the sticker of a boy taking a leak on Obama that my brother permanently adhered to the window during his ownership of the truck. It has been likened to a certain feminine care product, which hurts, but not as much as the fact that people assume that, because of my "choice" of vehicle, I have an unusual amount of testosterone coursing through my veins.
Page 2 of 2 - I'm not the only teen to experience driving-related emotional trauma. I have this other friend- let's call her Sam- who now refuses to drive (after taking a particularly stressful driver's education course.) If you ask her why, she'll just stare sadly into the distance and tell you a tale about the day she swerved into a curb and popped the front tire of the training car.
Add all this to the fact that an hour at my minimum-wage job will get me about 2 gallons of gas, (which leaves me chronically broke and constantly running on empty) and I think you'll understand why I prefer not to drive at all. So if you see a girl riding a well-trained ostrich down Washington, be sure to wave . . . but don't honk – you'll scare the ostrich.