Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Diary of a New Driver - Chapter Three




To read the previous chapters, click below.
Chapter 1
Chapter 2


~


Chapter 3 - Petal to the Metal


    Considering the previous nerve-wracking experiences (which have undoubtedly diminished from my lifespan), it is little wonder that I was quite leery of the gas pedal. My top speed averaged a mere 10 mph. In our next lesson, my father set out to correct this.


“Going too slow can be just as dangerous as going too fast. If you’re on the highway and you don’t get up to speed fast enough, you could get rear-ended.” 

“But I won’t be on the highway for a long time!”  

“Still, you need to learn to accelerate. Now this is a nice long stretch of road with nobody on it. I want you to press the gas pedal and keep accelerating until you reach 40 mph.”

I laughed and then looked at his face.

“Wait...you’re serious?”

“Yes I’m serious! You’ll be fine, 40 mph isn’t that fast anyways.”

That’s faster than horses can run!!! Why oh why did we ever give up horseback riding as a means of transportation? Now we’re constrained to these tiny torpedos running on highly combustible material!! Tell me again how that’s safer??


Nevertheless, I gripped the wheel and gingerly placed my foot on the gas.

“Just accelerate slowly and don’t let off until you’ve reached 40.” 


With a quick prayer reminding God I was still young and to please not let me die, I pushed the pedal to the floor. 


“You’re supposed to accelerate slowly!” Dad exclaimed as he was thrust back in his seat. I barely heard him. My mind was focused on getting that little red needle to point at 40. 


Ten… twenty…. halfway there. Woah, we’re really going fast, this is actually pretty cool! So much power… it’s like I’m in a high speed car chase! 


Inexplicably, the Mission Impossible theme song started playing in my head.


We got a tip from an anonymous source that a notorious drug dealer is headed for the border. He’s highly armed and highly dangerous… but so am I. 


HQ has tracked the criminal’s car to a nearby city. I’m on the prowl. Suddenly, I notice the license plate of the car in front of me. 

It’s him! 

He apparently notices me at the same time and takes off. He’s trying to slip into that back-alley. Ha! I don’t think so buddy! 

I speed up and block the entrance, he throws his car into reverse, I pull out my gun and aim for his tires. There’s a loud pop and he pulls out his shotgun. 

Quick, duck! 

My back window shatters and he takes off again, but his front wheel is leaking air. Good luck outrunning me on a flat tire! 

I speed up and put a bullet hole in his back window. His car careens off the road. I slam on the brakes and jump out, gun drawn. He climbs out and tries to run. 

Not so fast mister! Put your hands in the air, you’re under arrest!

“Feeling good?” Dad asked, noticing the grin on my face.

“What? Oh.. yeah, I’m good.” 


“You can let off the gas now and just coast.” 


I did so and then gave a quick glance at the speedometer. 


Forty-five??? I was doing forty-five?? How am I still alive??? Talk about a miracle… thank you Lord!


“Start braking and pull off into that driveway. See, that wasn’t so bad. You’re doing great!”


I smiled.

"Thanks Dad."

Maybe I can become a good driver after all. Who knows, I might even become an FBI agent... 




~


How long did it take you to discover the gas pedal? 
Do you enjoy going fast or do you prefer to take it slow?


Monday, May 7, 2018

Diary of a New Driver - Chapter Two




     In this chapter, your's truly encounters the dreaded roundabout. To read the previous chapter, click below.
Chapter 1


~


Chapter 2: Centrifugal Force


    After subsequent days of intense training, I finally mastered the intricate skill of guiding a car through an empty parking lot - without damaging the car or nearby squirrels. Dad decided it was time to take my skills to the next level.

“Now we’ll practice driving around the neighborhood down the street,” he announced.

After pulling the car into the neighborhood’s entrance, we switched seats. I fiddled with the mirrors, wheel, and seat, adjusting them to my significantly shorter stature. Dad prepped me for the new experience.

“Because this is a neighborhood, there will be other cars.”

Seeing the panicked look on my face, he hastened to assure me.

“But don’t worry, they’ll be going at very low speeds. As you drive, be sure to scan the road in front of you and be aware of people walking or kids playing. Look out especially for young kids…”

Ok. Scanning the road… there’s a lady with a stroller… kid on a skateboard… no wait, that’s a hoverboard! Oh man, that is so cool! I should get one…NO GLORIA PAY ATTENTION, we do not want the same problem to occur that happened last time.

“...those can be a little tricky but I’ll help you when we come to one.”

Wait, what did he say?

“Ready to go?”

“Uh, I guess…”

“Alright, proceed up to that stop sign and turn right.”

All went well until an imposing truck pulled up behind our little Hyundai.

“Dad…” I tried to sound calm. “There’s a car behind me… what do I do???”

“Nothing, just keep going. He’ll probably turn off soon enough.”

But… but I don’t want a car following me! What if he gets upset at my terrible driving? What if I’m going too slow? Wait, how fast am I going? Let’s check the… NO DON’T LOOK, just keep your eyes on the road Gloria, it’ll be ok.

I gripped the steering wheel.

Please turn off, please, please, please… YES he’s turning into that driveway! Whew, that was close!

As we continued through the narrow roads, my confidence increased.

Hey this isn’t so bad… as long as there aren’t any other cars around. Aw, look at that little girl on her bike! I remember learning to ride a bike. It’s so different from driving a car…

“Woah, careful there!” Dad’s hand flashed out and grabbed the steering wheel, directing the car away from the sidewalk.

“Whoops, sorry!” I slowed the car and quickly regained control of its direction.

“That’s ok,” Dad released the wheel. “Just focus on steering the car in the center of your lane.”

Right Gloria, focus.

“Now up ahead there’s a roundabout. Those can be tricky, but like I said, you just have to aggressively turn the wheel as you go around the center circle.”

Roundabout? Shouldn’t be too hard. You got this Gloria.

We slowly approached the looming obstacle and I gripped the wheel with the dexterity of an equestrian learning to jump her horse.

“Ok, turn to the right,” Dad coached me. “Now turn the wheel hard to the left.”

Right… left… hard? I thought your were supposed to make gentle turns… better keep it gentle just to be sure.

As we turned around the circle, I suddenly realized why the turns should be hard.

Wait… we’re headed straight toward the grass on the opposite side! TURN GLORIA TURN!!!

“Turn it harder!” Dad exclaimed reaching out to grab the wheel again. But he was too late. The car bumped over the curb and onto the grass, narrowly missed a sign pole.

BRAKES GLORIA BRAAAAKKESS!!! AAAHH IMGONNADIE!!!!

The car jolted to an abrupt stop. All was silent.

“Well…” Dad took a breath. “Nothing’s damaged.”

NOTHING’S DAMAGED??? MY CONFIDENCE IS WHAT’S DAM… no, COMPLETELY SHATTERED!!!! That’s it, I’m done, I can’t. This is too much.

Dad noticed my white knuckles.

“You ok?”

“We nearly died! Died I tell you!! I can’t do this Dad, I’ve had enough.”

“Ok, it’s ok.” He patted my knee. “I’m actually glad you had this experience because it gave you a feel for how unnerving it is to lose control of the vehicle. And we weren’t even going that fast! Cars have a lot of momentum, even at low speeds.”

I slouched in my seat with a scowl.

Who decided it was a good idea to stick a person in a bubble of metal, glass, plastic, and rubber and have them careen down roads at speeds never before imagined for thousands of years??? And then what doofenhouser thought it would be ok to have teenagers do it??? He ought to be stoned!!!

“Alright, just back up, proceed safely around the roundabout, and stop at that sign.” Dad patted my shoulder. “I’ll drive us home.”

As Dad drove, I stared out the window, chewing my lip, and thinking sarcastic thoughts.

Well, at least I now have an experiential knowledge of centrifugal force. Who knows, maybe next week I’ll learn about the doppler effect of police sirens.


Coincidentally, my prayer life dramatically increased over the next few days.



~


To this day roundabouts make me nervous! What do you think of roundabouts? 
Have you ever driven off the road? 






Monday, April 16, 2018

Diary of a New Driver - Cover Reveal & First Chapter




     It's here!!! The cover and first chapter of Diary of a New Driver are here! Ready for the reveal? Here it is....



in 3...



... 2...



... 1...








Chapter 1: Left, Right, BRAKES

    The high school parking lot was empty except for one lone car sitting in the far corner under the shade of a tree. It’s owner was on the field practicing soccer.

“Ok, let’s begin,” Dad declared.

“The thing you’re gripping right now is called the steering wheel. The key hole right there is where you put the key to start the ignition. This stick here is the gear shift. The letters stand for park, reverse, neutral, drive, and low. Park and reverse are obvious. You use neutral when…” 

My mind whirled. Ignition… right, that’s where I stick this key. Park… ok, I see we’re parked right now. Same as that guy over there. Really like the color of his car! And man, he can play soccer! I should practice more… wait…. neutral?


“The two pedals at your feet are the brakes and acceleration. The pedal on the left is the brake and the one on the right is the acceleration. Don’t press them too hard or too fast because…”

Brakes, yeah those are important. Which one was it? Left, yeah that was it. Hmmm, left is the brake, right is acceleration… left brake, right acceleration, left brake… GOAL!!! He kicked that ball right into the net. Nice kick bro, that was a long shot! Wait…. right brake?

“Well, those are the basics. Think you can handle it?”


“Uh... yeah.”

“Alright, go ahead and stick the key in the ignition and turn it clockwise until you hear the car’s engine come on.”

“Ok…”


“Now we’re sitting still because the gear shift is in ‘park’. Go ahead and move it to ‘drive’.”

“Alright.” Gloria you should’ve been paying more attention. Let’s see… ‘drive’... ok…. WAIT, WHY IS THE CAR MOVING???

“Uh… Dad…” I started feeling panicky. “Why is the car moving? We’re gonna hit the curb, what do I do???”

“It’s ok, just press the brake.”

Brakes, right… it was right… right?

Suddenly the car lurched forward.

“No, wrong pedal!” Dad exclaimed.

AAAAHHH GLORIA YOU IDIOT IT WAS LEFT BRAKE

My foot quickly found the correct pedal and the car jerked to a stop, causing the seatbelt to catch me suddenly.

OH MY WORD, OH MY STARS, SWEET SUGARY PANCAKES I ALMOST DIED!!!

“You doing ok Gloria? You’re looking a little pale.”

“Uh…”

I. ALMOST. DIED.


We had barely gone five feet but my heart pounded as if we’d just entered a fast-paced, multi-lane highway.

“I… I think I’m done for today.”

Dad chuckled. “Ok, we can practice more later.”

This is going to be a lot harder than I thought.


~



Aaand that's the end of chapter one! In case you're wondering, yes that did happen. All the incidents in the Diary actually happened... although the monologue and dialogue may have been embellished. :) 
What was your first driving experience? Have you ever confused the brake pedal with the gas pedal?






Saturday, March 31, 2018

Special Project Announcement!




     I'M BACK Y'ALL!!! College is killing me but I'M BACK. A few things have changed on the blog (most notably the expansion of the title) but it's still the same gal behind the screen. :) You may remember from this post (Taking a Break - 3 Reasons Why) that I mentioned working on a "special project." It's finally time to reveal what that project is.


Drumroll please....




.... more drumrolling.....




..... here it comes.....




..... this is it......




I'M WRITING A BOOK!!!!  Well, two books actually. The first one is titled "Jonathan and the Royal Conspiracy" and the second is "Diary of a New Driver."


Jonathan and the Royal Conspiracy
   The idea for this book came one Sunday during morning worship services. Our pastor was going through the book of 2 Samuel and was in chapter fifteen, which tells of Absalom's uprising against King David. It was as though I'd never read this before. Intrigued, I kept reading into the following chapters which tell of David fleeing Jerusalem, the priests following after him, but then being sent back with the command to (basically) act as spies for David. If the priests heard anything of Absalom's plans, they were to send their sons, Jonathan and Ahimaaz, to David with the information.

"Wow," I thought while reading. "This is fascinating! In fact, it would make a great Biblical historical fiction book. Someone should really write a book about this!"

It was then the idea hit me.

Why don't I write a book about it?

Over a year has passed since the Lord first planted that idea in my mind, and since then I've written nine chapters for the book. A slow start for sure, but I've learned a LOT about writing. The book is still under close wraps so I can't tell you much more about it. But stay on the lookout for future posts with more info!


Diary of a New Driver
   After driving for almost two years, I've accumulated quite the repertoire of humorous and harrowing incidents! Recently, I decided to capture all those experiences into, what I call, an autobiographical comedic short story. I plan on publishing Diary of a New Driver on this blog, so be sure to subscribe by email to get future posts in your inbox!



So, whatcha think? Was the announcement what you expected it would be? If you have any writing tips, please leave them in the comments! All advice is appreciated. :)






Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Complete Christmas Story




   The lovely Kaitlyn from The SoCal Gal invited me to do a guest post for her blog series: 12 Days of Christmas. I was more than happy to oblige. Hope you enjoy!

~

   The little girl slowly opened her eyes. The sun had yet to peep over the horizon. She was about to snuggle back into the covers when the faint smell of bacon caused her to sit up.
Why is Dad making breakfast so early? We don’t have to do school… oh!”
Suddenly remembering the significance of the day, she leapt out of bed and ran to her siblings’ rooms.
“It’s Christmas guys, get up!”
Three pairs of feet tumbled down the stairs and breathlessly wished their parents a “Merry Christmas!” before carefully examining the presents beside the tree.
“Eat your breakfast first kids,” their mother said, smiling at their eager faces.
Breakfast was dutifully consumed, but there was yet one thing left to do before tearing into the colorfully wrapped presents. Picking up a Bible, their father led them to the family room where they all sat next to the fire and listened as he read the Christmas story.

   This scene is one which replays every year at our house, as it undoubtedly does in numerous other Christian households. While we no longer exchange gifts, one tradition still remains: reading the opening chapters of Matthew or Luke. I heard the Christmas story so many times growing up, that I knew it by heart.


   At least I thought I did.

   Several years ago, I decided to read through the Matthew account on my own. To my surprise, Matthew doesn’t start with the familiar words, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise:” No, the opening verses of Matthew are, “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; and Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar;…”


   The Christmas story starts with a genealogy!