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A decade ago, I climbed into my father’s car and hit the road. Like generations of fathers and daughters before us, we started slowly, circling empty parking lots and driving carefully around cul-de-sacs. We drove almost every Sunday, blasting Blondie as we tooled around Northern New Jersey.

When I turned 17, I got my license and immediately hit the highway. A week later, I hit a concrete divider. It wasn’t a terrible accident, but when I punctured the oil tank, all my confidence leaked out. I never drove again.

Until last weekend. Fellow City Paper contributor Sadie Dingfelder and I decided to face our fears and learn to drive. We tell ourselves we’re doing it for feminism and for freedom. We’re also doing it to save face. After all, there’s nothing more embarrassing than hitching a ride with the people you once babysat.

Last Sunday, our friend Jason offered us his car and his wisdom. He taught us turn signals and driving etiquette (always wave to the neighbors, he says).

Sadie did great. The stop and go was a bit bumpy, but by the end of the lesson she was sailing along. Mine was a bit more…eventful. Just as I was praised for my driverly skills, I nicked a parked car’s mirror. Visions of Cher Horowitz danced through my head. Still, we’re determined to keep going. Stay tuned.

Driving Lesson 1
Destination: McLean
Weather Conditions: Sunny
Lessons Learned: Gas to the right, brake to the left. Always wave to neighbors.
Sadie: B-. No collisions—-but failed to be friendly.
Jessica: C+. Hit another car—-but did remember to wave to the neighbors.