The Freedom of Driving
What does driving mean? What does it represent to the average person? Generally, it means freedom for most people. Most of the time when you want to go somewhere you just grab the keys and go. That’s the beauty of being able to drive. No more asking mom or dad for permission to take you somewhere and having to wait for them to get ready or getting denied really doesn’t sound like fun. Being able to hop in the car and drive to go see your best friend on a moment’s notice is freedom, whether you know it or not. My first time driving was a wreck, while scaling a mountain and merging on the freeway where my experience and how I learned. Many of us can look back and seriously laugh out loud at our first times driving and this is my story of what happened.
The first experience where I drove my first vehicle with SGT Gutierrez. Sergeant G was one of the coolest persons I had met in my military career. We got along pretty well and I was very sad when he left us and got out, but that is another story for another time. It was a nice sunny drill day. I saw him come outside and call my name. He literally took me to the motor pool and tossed me the keys to the HMMWV and said, “Here, Take me around the lot!”. I was terrified and super nervous as I started up the truck and started the truck up. I put it in Drive and let go of the brakes and started to go. My hands all sweaty and my uniform started to feel a little tight and then I realized that there was someone in front of and, don’t judge me but, I slammed on the brakes really hard and the only thing I remember is accidentally doing the same thing for the next 10 times. By the time I knew it I was driving around, not slamming the brakes anymore, with more confidence than when I started driving. I felt like I knew what I was doing for once in my life. Until the next time I got in a HWWMV that made me just a little bit more frightened.
What would you say if someone randomly told you to do something way out of your comfort zone? My experience being forced to drive up a side of a mountain in a base. Again I was tossed the keys and asked to drive my Sergeant to the other side of the base. Sergeant looked around and picked out two other soldiers and told them that we were headed to the shooting range. We got in and I started the truck up and set it drive and started to leave out base. The first stop I was told to pullover and scale the huge mountainside, so I drove to the base and froze. My friends in the back started freaking out which in turn made me even more nervous than I previously had been. “My Sergeant is trying to kill us” I said in my head. He told me “Put it into H Gear and do not stop pressing the gas, Floor it Rueffy!”. So I did what any Private would do and followed orders! In the back I could hear one of my friends whispering prayers and praying to God that we don’t die! As we started to reach the top my nervousness just started fading away and I felt good! Mission Impossible was complete as I reached the top. I thought to myself “that wasn’t that bad, now just how the hell do I get down now?” My Sergeant was a crazy man for letting me do this exercise but he taught me how that many things that seem impossible is just one risk and one accomplishment away.
My first time driving in the freeway was just as scary as scaling the mountain. My mom
was in the car and I was just driving her around when all of a sudden she told me to make a right into the freeway. I looked at her with possibly the most scared face and she just smiled and told me “it will be fine, just calm down and go slow”. So I did as my mom said. Sweating and face super-hot I started up the ramp and saw a big rig on the side of me coming around the same speed, I panicked! My mom saw and told me just to brake a little bit and go behind him if possible. Little did she know I was absolutely terrified of big rigs with the thought that one push from them and I am going to go flying! Again, mission impossible two was complete. My mom so much confidence in me after that day that she even lets me drive her prized possession, her Toyota Sequoia! I felt amazing in that beast and I love my mother for boosting my confidence to letting me ride in the freeway. Without her push I doubt I would have said to myself “Hey let’s go in the freeway today”.
From jumping in my first and starting it up for the first time to scaling a mountain to merging onto the freeway I finally learned to drive well. It’s been 6 years from the first time I jumped in a vehicle and I can totally say that I have absolutely no fear in driving, on the contrary, I love it! My mom and as well as the Sergeants that took me under their wing have gave me the tools necessary to overcome anything I want. I feel like my life turned a whole 180° since I learned how to drive. I can go anywhere my heart desires so long as my wallet can withstand. Sometimes they both don’t agree and I choose one over the other but the most important thing is that I have the freedom to go out and drive, safely that is!