i learned to drive kind of late in life, and by "late in life", i mean twenty-one. yeah, i could've gotten my permit at sixteen and rocked garbage cans and mailboxes the whole city over, but it just... never came up, i guess.
most of my learning was done on manual transmissions, in my '84 rabbit and my boyfriend's seemingly never-ending supply of cars that he picked up at auctions in the area. the night i got my permit, i drove around an elementary school parking lot, and then a spooky backroads way between santa cruz and san jose. luckily it was late at night, because i spent the whole time freaking out, thinking a class of seersucker-clad preschoolers on their way home from a field trip to "take a fuzzy baby animal home!" farm would stray away from their julie-andrews-clone-chaperones and wander in front of my 15mph-creeping vehicle. at midnight.
obviously, things worked in my favor, which brings us to today, with the eight years of driving experience i have tucked under my argyle belt, and dramatically morphed attitude toward driving that includes speeding up when i see a pedestrian even consider strolling across the street in front of my car if there isn't a damn pair of solid lines bisecting my path. this experience is made all the more exciting when coupled with my mp3 player blasting industrial, rock, techno, richard cheese, and WAT IT DO?. even better, take the speed and the blaring audio, place them on a winding and seldom-traveled mountain road, and you have yourself a very happy girl.
i indulged in this little pleasure the other day. just me and imperative reaction rolling down mount charlie road, taking it all the way to scotts valley, and then on to felton for some nachos and gasoline, then north on highway 9 to boulder creek and the (apparently) newly paved bear creek road, past david bruce winery, and all the way home again. the trip only came out to about three-and-a-half hours of my time, and i didn't get a chance to stop at san lorenzo valley high school (school was still in session) to poke around and take in the layout (book research and whatnot); but it was a beautiful day, i was full of vallarta, and a construction guy smiled at me both times as he waved me past. good times.