I turned 16 and got my license in December and got my bright orange Mini Cooper in January. Her name is Ilse, from Spring Awakening, one of my favorite musicals. My best friend, Lauren, named her car Melchior, another character from SA. I was going to name mine Wendla, so our cars could be lovers, but *SPOILER ALERT* she dies in a really sad way and I didn’t want my car to be so morbid. Ilse is kind of an outsider and she sings the closing song, “Song of Purple Summer”, which is all about hope, so I much prefer her name. It’s been an interesting experience with amazing things and scary-adult-responsibility things. I love having the freedom and independence to get everywhere I need to go without having to use my parent’s time. I decided to write a mini-series (HA! Punny, cause I have a Mini...) about my adventures as I grow into adulthood and discover the world from behind the wheel.
One of the major changes from this newfound freedom is my relationship with my parents. I go to my dad’s house a few days here and there, but I used to see my dad all the time because he drove me so many places. Now I only see him when I go to his house or if we make plans together. I think it stresses him out, because now he tries to find all these different opportunities to see me and when he does, sometimes he acts all weird and attention seeking. My mom loves it, though. She is a busy-working woman and she didn’t like always having to take me so many different places. It’s weird because my mom has busy days and her nights are generally free and I am usually the opposite. Sometimes we go a few days without actually seeing each other even though we are in the same house.
Also, since I schedule many of my own appointments and meetings, they often don’t know what I am doing. That sort of came out wrong. I mean, I am not just traipsing through the city with them having no idea, but for example sometimes they ask me where I am going later and they’re surprised.
Another interesting thing I have discovered in my life with them: we sometimes find ourselves needing to schedule time to be together. It’s kind of funny, but we plan when we can hang out and watch TV or have dinner together.
Another big change is YADA. The combination of me being able to drive and having days open and no homework to keep me at home allows me to work a lot more at YADA. It’s also sort of a bonding thing to be part of the “driving club” there. My best friend, Lauren, and I always walk to our cars together if we are there on the same day. It’s also a conversation starter. “Oh my gosh, I couldn’t find any parking on all of 1st street! What a pain.” Or, “Hey, I saw your car when I was parking. I parked right next to it! We should walk to our cars together.” It’s fun. Also, it’s scary to walk to my car alone at night, so if no one is on the same block as me, Alyssa will drive me to my car sometimes. It’s really fun. She has an itsy-bitsy blue convertible and it’s so adorbz!
Being able to drive myself to YADA is a big relief, because I was often late in the past while waiting for someone to get ready and drive me. Obviously, I am still late sometimes, but as a habit I always try to get there a little early so I have time to park and not have to rush. I have this notion drilled into my brain from childhood that to be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late, and to be late is to be in trouble. I think it’s a theater thing. I am glad that I am a person who cares about being punctual, but it also makes me extra stressed when I am running late. I know it’s also a relief for my parents not to have to deal with the freaking-out-late-girl trying to get to YADA, since I am there so often and always want to be early.
Parking is one of my least favorite things about being a driver. It’s really stressful to try and find a good spot, plus I am really bad at parking. I can’t parallel park to save my life, unless it’s a huge spot. My mom has some tips and tricks though, so she is going to help me soon. One day, I am just going to take the day and park over and over because practice makes perfect! Also, parking costs so much! I was in Beverly Hills the other day, and it was four dollars for two hours in a meter! My friend read that sentence, and said, “You had that many quarters handy?” Now that I think about it, I guess it is sort of unusual. When I first got my car, my mom and I made a little car kit. I have everything I could ever possibly need--band-aids, zip-locs, cashews, water bottles, etc. I also have a little coin purse that I store rolls of quarters in so I am always prepared for meters. Also, I am bad at multi-tasking/being proactive when I go somewhere. If I have never been there, I have trouble finding parking in the area while looking for the place and reading the signs and driving at a reasonable pace and not swerving. Oftentimes I go past it, and then there’s more hassle of trying to turn around and not get into an accident.
Being a driver comes with many responsibilities. I am starting to feel like a mini adult and it’s awesome but also really scary. In just this past week, my license plates and my first ATM card came in the mail and I drove myself to the doctor. Ahh! I am excited about the ATM card, because I am going to learn about budgets and things. I don’t know much about money and financing, but I am excited to learn. I think it’s awesome that I am learning this stuff now, because I know tons of adults who never learned about it at my age and have to suffer through it now. I feel I will be more prepared to step into the big world by myself once I know a little more about handling the moolah.
My mom, her accountant, and I are going to set up a budget for me with a certain amount per month. I give them all my receipts and then we figure it out later. It’s going to be very interesting and I am glad we have a good system in place to learn from.
Going to the doctor by myself was quite an experience. Here’s the whole story, down to the very last freak-out. When I woke up, and still had a super sore throat, I called Alexa, who works for my mom, to get the doctor’s information and she offered to call and set up an appointment for me, for which I was very grateful. I then went on my way, setting the Beverly Hills address into my life-saving GPS. I got there and was driving and pulled into a parking garage that seemed to be close to where I was going. I realized after I got out and went up the elevator that it was for a few specific buildings. I went back to the valet to get my car, and thankfully they didn’t make me pay for the ten minutes I was there. Then I drove up and down the street looking for the number and finally just parked a meter in front a store that had a close enough number to the one I was looking for. I paid four dollars in quarters for two hours, because I wasn’t sure how long I would have to wait in the doctor’s office. I walked up and down Robertson looking for the elusive 150 and finally called Alexa back. She called the doctor’s office and it turns out we had the wrong address on file. After stressing out and thinking I was losing my mind, it just turns out we had the wrong address. I don’t know if you’ve ever been on Robertson, but it is a funky junky street. I do not approve of their organizational system! I made it to the right place and had to wait a little while in the “sick” waiting room, because I was contagious. That room always depresses me, even though they try so hard with the pretty clouds and hot-air balloons painted on the walls. I guess sick babies are just depressing in general. I waited some more, and finally got to get my germs swabbed and tested... Turns out I have tonsillitis (see quarantined). Then I went to pick up lunch and antibiotics on Larchmont and headed home to collapse in bed. Although it was stressful and I freaked out a little, it was still a good learning experience and I feel more confident handling myself now.
Tell me what you think of my mini-series idea. I always love comments!