Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Saga of the Hooptie - Pt 1: Experience

I didn’t always want to drive.  For one, I was afraid. An old college friend of mine had this cousin who liked me and thought that he could win cool points by giving me my first driving lesson. At that time, I had not even thought about driving yet but I decided to give it a shot. And so, we exchanged places.  I took the driver’s seat and he took the front passenger seat. 
Being that I had never been behind the wheel before, he would have to be a really good instructor to teach me everything I needed to know to drive his little old car.  But unfortunately, his instruction was to put my foot on the gas and he would tell me what to do as we moved. He never said to not turn the wheel or how hard to press the gas. I hadn’t even been in the driver’s seat for a minute of driving before I came crashing into the tree that was standing about 150 feet diagonally away from me. 
While we only had scratches that appeared on us, the car was so banged up that it was totaled and unable to even drive us back home from where we were. I was 18 then but swore at that moment I would never drive again.
A few years later, my cousin and I made a bet of who was going to get licensed first. Even though a plethora of years passed by, we both straddled along license-less but finally, she got hers and I still was without one. After years of fear and letting my driver’s permit expire, I decided that I had to get one. And so I did. A week after becoming a licensed driver, I got my first car.  And a day after I got my first car, I got my first parking ticket.
My little hooptie held up for a bit.  I got it because I needed a car to get to church. I am a Brooklynite and my church is in Harlem.  Weekend delays on the train and I do not get along.  I did not enjoy the frustrations associated with the sometimes two hour long rides that I was forced to take to get there. And so, I got my Nissan Altima to drive back and forth to church, since I was there several times during the week.
I’ll never forget coming back from choir rehearsal one Saturday. I used to look forward to going to the church on my weekends to teach songs to the youth choir. It was very fulfilling and though a bit challenging, made a difference in my life.

As I was driving home and thinking about how well the rehearsal went and about all the songs we were able to go over, my car stopped accelerating. I put my foot on the gas but it wouldn’t take speed.  At that time, I was a novice so didn’t really know that I should have been looking at the temperature gauge to see what was going on.  But something should have opened my eyes when I saw a big cloud of white smoke flurrying out from under the hood. In times of distress, I have it hard keeping my composure. Instead, I cry.  
It was awful. Cars beeping at me, drivers cursing at me, and me trying to control my tears and my hooptie at the same time, that barely wanted to move.  Thank God I was able to get it off the BQE without getting into an accident. I opened the hood, and added some water to it and was off thinking everything would be okay. But, a few minutes later, the same thing happened again.  And so, my first official breakdown. I ended up having to get a new radiator installed.
From that moment, I learned a few things.  There is more to driving than being behind the wheel.  A driver must check the temperature and the water levels often to make sure everything is okay.  My uncle even told me to check all my tires before getting into the car, but I didn’t listen.  But then one day, I got into my car and started driving and felt like one of my tires had a flat. This was before I started listening.  All of a sudden I heard scraping. I had already been driving towards the tire shop at that time. Little did I know that my tire was half on and half off. Someone had tried to steal my tire, and broke a lug nut while doing it. So instead of being able to take the tire, they got it half way off and left the problems for me to come and try to solve. The scraping sound was the wheel hitting the pavement. A driver must be conscious of these things and check before pulling off or might find out in the wrong place and at the wrong time if not responsible. I can't imagine what would have happened if all the tires were taken.  I wonder if my car would have still got me to the tire shop?
I have lately been trying to make sure that I check the water levels but also have about three cans of antifreeze that I carry with me everywhere I go just in case. Might seem like a bit much but you never know with a hooptie. And when you consider driving these NYC roads and hitting all of its pot holes, leaks can occur at any time. It is important to be prepared but also important to have road side assistant. So before you even set foot into your first car, make sure you give AAA a call. They came in handy each and every one of the 50,000,000 times I had an issue. I pray that this 2012 will be a sweeter driving year for me.

Links to Consider

Textures of Photography - Enter Here

Stephanie Jeannot - Enter Here

Poems by Stephanie Jeannot - Enter Here

The High Heel Shoes Blues - Enter Here

Free Musical Coloring Pages for Kids - Enter Here

If I Had a Million MTA Dollars - Enter Here

Shattered - Enter Here

The Saga of Pinot: A Short Story - Enter Here

Letters to Music - Enter Here

Singing 101 - Enter Here

The New Generations Guide to Singing - Enter Here

Hand-Made Originalz - Enter Here


  1. Great post. I think you'll have a better year car-wise this year!

  2. I'm praying on it. Thanks for the encouragement.