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The Downside of Being a New Driver: The Burden of the Family Car

November 4, 2006: my driver’s license milestone. I woke up that morning and immediately drove to the Department of Motor Vehicle. Unfortunately, I made the rookie mistake of telling everyone I knew when I was taking my driver’s test. That enhanced my stress level tenfold.

I took the test and passed. I was ecstatic. Still in shock, I sat in the car waiting for my mom to come in. I was now a legal driver! I couldn’t believe it. Was I even old enough to get my license?

The New Driver

I called friends and family to spread the good news. And then I drove home with my mom. Since my dad was in Las Vegas, I had his car for the day and drove to school all by myself. It was so exhilarating—a brand new driver sitting in the car all by myself. The normalcy of driving hadn’t kicked in yet. I was one of the first kids in my class to get my license and my friends greeted me in school with excitement and joy. Thus began my new stage in life as a DRIVER.

Fast forward to today. I have been driving for over a year, and, let me tell you, it isn’t always easy. My few minor collisions prove this. Many of you are familiar with these “accidents” that occur in the first year of driving. So I would rather tell you about the burden of driving that you, as parents, might not know.

When I first received my beloved car, my parents informed me that I would need to pay for gas. At first this cost seemed trite compared to the excitement of my brand new car, but my money was quickly disappearing. Gas can be so expensive! My generous parents soon took over this costly bill and gave me a credit card. You may be thinking, “This lucky girl is insane for complaining! She doesn’t even need to pay for her own gas!” However, driving has become an even greater burden than the simple cost of gas.

At 8:40 a.m. on a normal morning in the Borison household, everyone is rushing to get ready for school. I yell for everyone to get in my car as I go outside, and then proceed to wait 5-10 minutes for my siblings. Sometimes, I am have to fight the cold and clean off the snow from the windows while I wait. Finally, I pull into the school parking lot, and my siblings pile out of the car without a “thank you.” They simply assume that I am just the driver, or, shall I say, “chauffeur.” The excitement of being a new driver has definitely been replaced by annoyance.

Losing My Driving Privileges

Now I’d like to tell you a story about the time that my parents took away my driving “privileges.” My sister, my brother, and I were at rehearsal for the play Beehive. The show consists of many songs from the Sixties, and we were practicing them. After the group numbers were finished, the director released most of us to go home. But my sister needed to stay to work on one of her songs.

I had two tests and a lot of homework due the next day. And I was stressed and ready to go home. I didn’t  want to waste a half hour waiting for her, so I asked my sister if she could find a ride home.  To my dismay, my sister acted like a brat and complained that she could not find a ride. I called my mother to complain but she hung up on me. Furious, I left with my brother and went home.

As I walked through the door, my mother asked me where my sister was. Upon hearing my answer, my mother gave me two options: go back and pick up my sister, or lose my car privileges for a week.

Frustrated, I angrily stomped away. Just because I’ve got a car doesn’t mean that I’m responsible for driving siblings everywhere 24/7. Besides, my sister was a jerk to me. And I shouldn’t have to wait around to take her home to begin with. Needless to say, my parents revoked my privileges, and my friends drove me to school.

The punishment ended early when I admitted to my parents that I was wrong. However, my animosity toward my job as driver has not waned. Despite the privileges that are associated with a car, I remain, simply, a chauffeur.

Rebecca Borison

Rebecca Borison is a writer in New York City.