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2004-12-10 - 4:29 p.m.

I have, what has oft been disparagingly known as, a walking liecence. My father, dragging me by my collar, tossed me with fifteen forms of ID before the prototypic DMV attendant, disaffected, disinterested, and chewing gum. She looked over my student identification cards, my mail sent to my current address, and examined my newly bleached hairdo, trying to determine if I was who these eight forms of ID said I was.

The car sat, still rumbling, while it straddled the painted lines of a near abandoned Wendy’s. Apparently, there is no such thing as the three in the afternoon Sunday rush. The instructor sat back next to me, his hands behind his head, taking slow self satisfied breaths, in a none too subtle attempt to get me to do the same. I rolled my fingers over the wheel, trying to remember how to park.

Seven o’clock on December thirty-first, screaming into the phone in an empty house.
“Whadda ya mean you’re already drunk? You were supposed to pick me up?”
“Dude get a car.”
“You promised me you’d give me a ride. Now I’m stuck thirty miles out!”
“All you need is seven, man. All you need is seven.”
I dialed seven sevens on the phone, and a taxi service picked up.

There was nothing more than your standard dollop of teen angst in my stomach when I cut out through the doors of my high school that day, so why I suddenly felt the desire to go off on a Dundee-esque walkabout up Route 15, amongst the Super K-marts, car dealerships, and bowling alleys, is a mystery of my young and malliable mind. When I finally looked up from my feet, I’d wandered into another town. I creeped into the Town Hall, and snitched the mayor’s business card, just to prove I’d made it that far out. I knocked on my friend’s door at nine o’clock.

“He’s your son.”
“It’s Saturday, he wants to watch cartoons. Just let him…”
“Go…”
My father rolled the dusty two wheel down the driveway. With a sigh he yanked off the training wheels, and tossed me on top.
“Here we go.”
He gave me a push, and my feet did their best to keep up with the peddles. The moment I looked down, it was all over…my knee was as good as skinned.
“All right, that’s good. Come on, John, let’s go watch Transformers.”

It snowed for two days straight. Everything, everywhere, closed. Blankets and blankets of fresh new snow, just waiting in the backyard, good and packed and icy, but I was inside. My sled, now mangled and busted, but still fuctional, I thought, was off limits. Apparently, the cuts and scrapes I gathered while skimming down the steepest hill in the woods past briar patches, and off ten foot leaps, were enough to tell my parents that their eight year old was a danger to himself.

“Dear?”
“What is it, hon?”
“Your son, he’s walking.”
“Crap.”

On the streets of New York with music blaring in my ears, each step falls with the beat, no matter what torrents of populace rush past me. Squeezing between slow walkers, twisting on my ankle, opening up my shoulder and whipping by. I don’t have a driver’s liecence, and I can’t ride a bike, but I came to the right city for what I can do.

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