On the day after my 16th birthday, I was first in line at the DMV. I was so eager to drive, to get my dad’s red Cutlass under me and hit the road. I passed with flying colors, thanks to my dad’s expert instruction and a lot of time in a school sponsored driver’s education course. I was as excited as a child on Christmas morning, and I wielded my new license like my own personal trophy.
Despite having my license, I wasn’t allowed to immediately grab the car and go. My parents reluctantly let me make the small forays into driving independence with errands, including trips to the store right up the road. My parents created the provisional license long before the state mandated it. No friends in the car. Limited trips. But it wasn’t long before I was driving all of my friends around.
I didn’t always handle my new-found independence with a great deal of responsibility. I drove too fast and at one point raced a co-worker down a road on the way home from work, something I’m sure my dad would be thrilled to hear. And once I backed his car into a pole at Fred Meyer. But overall, life was good, and luckily I didn’t hurt myself or anyone else.
At sixteen I also had a part-time job at KFC. My co-workers were my friends, and we had a good time at work. We laughed while we worked and ate chicken on our breaks and drank endless graveyards. Though I disliked coming home with my brown polyester uniform smelling like stale grease, I had fun with these people and enjoyed interacting with the public, AND I was getting a paycheck! I could buy the clothes and shoes that my parents said were too expensive. That was also the year that I bought my Pentax SLR camera and taught myself how to take pictures, creating a lifetime of photographic enjoyment.
Sixteen was a good year. Having freedom, money, and no financial responsibilities, how could it not be?
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Only Sixteen.” Tell us all about the person you were when you were sixteen. If you haven’t yet hit sixteen, tell us about the person you want to be at sixteen.