Watch Out! A New Driver’s On The Road: An Autobiographical Memory

Every day, we create memories; from vague to long lasting. It could be a pedestrian that we saw walking on the sidewalk, while we were driving an hour ago to the death of family member that happened over twenty years ago; memories that are stored in our mind are dependent upon the level that they are processed. I’m pretty sure that we all have remote memories that when recalled by a cue are pleasant and bring joy into our hearts and then there are certain flashbulb memories that when recalled we would like to forget but can’t due to the pain or sadness that is attached. However, there are rights of passages such as: learning how to shave, learning how to tie a tie, being taught how to change a tire, or getting our driver’s license that we have experienced in our past and that are associated with and stored in our autobiographical memory.
An autobiographical memory is recollected events that belong to a person’s past. For example, when I was sixteen years old, I could not wait to go to the DMV to get my driver’s license. Prior to getting my license, I would imagine I was driving on video games and practice on go-karts at Disneyland and the Family Fun Center. As a child I would even pretend that my bicycles, tri-cycles, and big wheelers were cars. That’s how fascinated I was with driving. I wanted to drive so bad, that as I got older and taller and was able to see over the steering wheel, I would even sneak and drive my grandparent’s cars when they went out of town. It was so scary at first, because we had a long driveway and I had to try to keep the car straight while in reverse. My grandfather has always driven a Cadillac, which is a big car, and for me at the time, it was like driving a yacht! Since my grandparents were frequent travelers, I had several encounters with driving while being underage and without a license. Luckily I had never been pulled over by the police or been in an accident.
When I turned fifteen and a half, I enrolled in Budget Driving School. All the kids at school and all my friends were enrolling. I can’t remember how many Saturday’s I woke up to attend the classes. However, I remember being excited and having no problem with waking up early on a Saturday morning to go and sit for eight hours to listen to the rules of the road.
Finally, when it came down to taking my behind the wheel test with my instructor, I had no fear. I knew these six hours I had to spend behind the wheel would be a breeze. I had been driving already for two years now. When the instructor arrived at my house and I got behind the driver’s seat and he seated in the passenger seat, he began to explain the rules of the road and have me locate all the switches and knobs in the car and review the hand signals. As we spent time on the road, my instructor was impressed at how well I could drive! He couldn’t believe how well I could drive, especially on the freeway. I remember him saying,” It’s as if you have been driving for years!” All I could do is smile and say to myself, “If he only knew.”
After I finished my six hours behind the wheel, it was time! Time for the day I had been waiting for all my life! It was time to take my behind the wheel and written test at the DMV. I was now sixteen years old, my grandfather had bought a new Cadillac, and I was ready willing and able to drive. Let’s go! My grandfather let me use his car to take my behind the wheel test. Needless to say, I had no problems with my behind the wheel test. As the instructor got nestled in the new leather bucket seats, he had me parallel park, switch lanes, get on and off the freeway, and merge with traffic. It was piece of cake! When we arrived back at the DMV I took my picture for my license and took the written exam, which I passed with flying colors. I left the DMV feeling like a new woman. I got my license and I was ready to roll!
Obtaining my driver’s license was an autobiographical memory that I will never forget. I remember feeling ecstatic and overjoyed. That was one of the happiest days of my life that has been encoded in my memory for days to come. Even though it is a memory in my past, well over ten years ago, I will cherish for the rest of my life because it symbolized independence and gave me a sense of adulthood. When I ponder on the experience I can recall all of the times I borrowed the car, the long hours spent in driving school, and the moment the DMV clerk gave me my temporary license. Autobiographical memories like this are one you can smile and share with your children and grandchildren in the years to come, and hope they don’t borrow your car while you’re out of town.

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