Driven to failure

But rather than make such spiteful claims or suggestions, I'll take full responsibility for my failure that overcast April morning. After all, I committed a variety of vehicular faux pas, from botching the three-point turn to driving down LaPan Highway at 88 miles per hour in an attempt to travel back to 1955 and invent rock-n-roll by playing "Johnny B. Goode" at a high-school dance.

Still, I might have walked away with my license had it not been for the debacle at the intersection of St. Bernard Street and River Street. As I coasted down St. Bernard toward River, preparing to take a left, I noticed an elderly man standing on the sidewalk at the corner, apparently waiting to cross. I came to a stop well before the crosswalk and made eye contact with him.

And then I froze. I knew I should wave the guy across to reassure him that I wasn't some sicko planning to plow him over the instant he stepped off the sidewalk, but I couldn't do it. I suppose a shrink might say that, subconsciously, I wanted to fail (or possibly plow the guy over the instant he stepped off the sidewalk).

I glanced at the tester and found him staring at me and frowning. I glanced back at the old guy and found him staring at me and frowning. I glanced at my reflection in the rearview mirror and found myself staring at me and frowning.

The next thing I knew, I was hitting the gas and screeching around the corner. The pressure had gotten to me, and, rather than get out of the car and engage in fisticuffs with the man on the sidewalk, I chose to run, temporarily forgetting that doing so would give my tester the perfect excuse to send me packing. And send me packing he did, clicking his tongue and shaking his head as he cited my failure to yield right of way to a pedestrian as his main reason for denying me a license.

When I retook the test a few weeks later, we didn't go near St. Bernard Street, and, despite another failed attempt at time travel, I passed. Did I really deserve to, or was the tester just randomly passing more people than usual that day? Well, within a week, I'd gotten into two accidents, including one from which I unsuccessfully attempted to flee the scene. You do the math.

Dan Leonidas makes shallow observations. He can be reached at dpleonidas@yahoo.com or myspace.com/lastminuteconcerns.

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