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40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Critical Error

I sit in the DMV anxiously waiting my son's return from his behind the wheel driver's test. He has been driving for months and he is prepared and ready. I am excited for him and nervous for the process. He has been waiting for this moment for 9 months. I see him pull up into the parking space designated for driver's taking the test, and I see him and the Examiner having dialogue. He exits the car with a large grin on his face. I smile equally as big, but then he shakes his head left to right. Did he just shake his head no? He tells me he didn't pass. I think he is joking with me because he looked happy. I am shocked that he did not pass and confused by his response. The Examiner watching our interaction asks if he could speak with me for a moment. He pulls me to the side and tells me my son did a good job and his skills are on point, he did everything right, but on the way back to the DMV he did a rolling red light stop on a right hand turn. The Examiner said he watched the speedometer go down to 5 mph, but then my son took off not making a complete stop. That's a critical error so he could not pass him. He also told me had he not made that error he would have passed with a 100%. In that moment I appeared more devastated than my son did.

I opted to drive home after the test, not for his lack of ability but my desire to get home quickly. My daughter had soccer practice I needed to get her to, and I knew he wouldn't speed. As I quickly drove off, over the speed limit. I didn't want him to feel bad for not passing. I tried to cheer him up letting him know it happens as I moved from lane to lane, neglecting to use my blinker weaving in and out of traffic. He listened to my long winded speech about driving safely but he did not contribute to the conversation. My cell phone rang, it was my daughter, the call did not connect to my blue tooth so instead of asking my son to grab the call I picked it up myself and instantly looked left and right scanning my surroundings for police officers as I put the phone to my ear. The conversation was brief I picked up just to let her know I would be there shortly to get her to practice on time. I put the phone down and told him the importance of not even touching his cell phone when he is driving. That was a hypocritical statement in the moment, but my excuse was I have been driving for a long time, and I don't do it often, but I reminded him I could get a ticket for that. He decided to explain what happened at the red light during the test. Sternly I told him that a red light is a red light, you always make a full and complete stop no exceptions, you need to know that. I felt bad for my tone making him feel worse in a bad situation. but I wanted him to understand that this was a serious safety concern. As I continued with my safety speech I paused at a red light to make a right hand turn, not fully stopping and dashing out before the oncoming traffic came near. In mid turn I caught myself and thought I just did the same thing. That was his critical error. Now I consider myself a safe driver and I have only received one ticket for speeding about twenty five years ago in my thirty plus years of driving. The routine of driving has become a repetitive ritual. I have been driving for so long I no longer think I just do. I wondered how many rules I broke in the 15 minutes I was driving with him. How many driving rules do I break on the regular and how many new rules do I create out of convenience? I apologized to my son for not being the best example and promised to do better, I definitely told him to please follow the rules from the DMV handbook because it appears that I don't remember the rules. I laughed out loud and asked "Would I have passed the driver's test?"

My heart weeps

All I Ever Wanted