I’ve been busy lately – working out, writing, working, reading, going to class, knitting a sweater, watching Twin Peaks (I’ve only got one episode left!), and socializing. Yeah, I’ve been pretty much doing everything besides updating this thing. Apologies.

I had the house to myself most of this week until late Wednesday night, so I kept myself occupied. It was nice, but even better when Jess came home, because some nights alone in the apartment were scary, especially one incident where a particular part of Twin Peaks made me keep my door shut the whole night (Think Leo Johnson, second season, cake and creepy smile.).

Last Monday, I baked banana-chocolate-chip cookies after I got back from class, and then I met up with Sarah. We biked twenty-five miles on the Greenway. It was exhilarating, and I think my legs hurt all week because of it.  We also found wild mulberries and blackberries and picked them along the way. It was a great day.

Tuesday, I worked out with Sarah, but we were still sore, so we did a lot of upper-body work and did less cardio. Dom wasn’t going to be home, so I didn’t over and watch Firefly with him, but opted for my Twin Peaks addiction. I really need to get the film from interlibrary loan.

Wednesday after class, I went to the grocery store and then went over to visit Sarah’s apartment. We did yoga. I really do hope we can keep working out together over the school year. I feel so much better doing it.

Thursday, I worked out with Sarah and returned home. I did my homework, and planned to have another quiet evening of knitting, watching Futurama, finishing  Twin Peaks, and eating milk and cookies. Kelly came over to visit, and she said Carlos O’Kelly’s had dollar margarita specials. Jess and I decided to go with her, even though we had both wanted to see the new Futurama.  I was introduced to a few other people by the time we got to Carlos O’Kelly’s, though most of them escape me now. I was a little nervous and out of my element, since I knew only three people of the group.

We moved our party to the Locker Room later, and then ended up at the Chug, where we ended up singing karaoke. They had karaoke. I had never sung karaoke at a bar before, and Jess was like, “OH MY GOD WE NEED TO DO IT!” So we signed up to do it.

Meanwhile, Jess had told Bob that we were going to sing karaoke. He said, “I wish I could see that,” and she said, “You should come!” But Bob is in Auburn about an hour and a half away. He didn’t respond until about that much time later, and then he said, “Oh, I can’t, but where are you, anyway?” She told him, and a few minutes later, he walked in the door. It was the sweetest damn thing I had seen in a long time.

We sang along with a few other people who sang “Sweet Caroline,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and of course, “Don’t Stop Believin’.” Around midnight, Jess, Kelly, and I got on the stage and sang the Backstreet Boys’ “Larger Than Life.” I felt like an idiot, being a college girl singing a song I hadn’t listened to in ten years, sort of childish and dorky. It was great, though, and I totally want to go back to karaoke night at the Chug, just maybe not if I have to go to work in the morning. My throat was so sore from yelling.

Friday, I went to work, but I was tired. Alex came up. Jess left for a photography job, and we made dinner together and did one last practice at driving. We went to hang out with Thom, Nick, and Sarah, and we watched A View to a Kill. For the most part, I had a good night, but before we went to bed, I just started psyching myself out about the next morning’s drive test. It was pretty much my only shot for the time being, and I knew I had worked hard, but my stomach hurt and I was so anxious Alex had to calm me down and assure me that I was going to do just fine. I felt better, and we went to sleep.

I woke up Saturday morning, and wasn’t too nervous until I was sitting on the futon, eating frosted mini wheats, and staring off into space. Alex reassured me. My mind kept telling me, “You can do this, you’ll be fine,” but there was this little bit of doubt and fear still inside me.

I drove to the license bureau to get one last practice in order to warm myself up for the test. I was all right again, and I was confident. Alas, I soon found myself alone in Alex’s car alone with the instructor, and her cold exterior scared me. I was terrified when she made me parallel park. I screwed up. She reminded me to use my far right mirror. She said, “You’re not using your mirrors, use your mirrors,” and I swear to God I was using my mirrors but it wasn’t doing me any good. I tried a third time, and she was frustrated with me and I knew it and so I started to panic. I wanted to cry. I had come this far, and I just was screwing it all up.

She asked if I was okay. I said, “I think I just failed my test.” She said, “You haven’t failed the test, but you will if you don’t calm down. Now, pull out when you’re ready to.”

I sucked it up. Not all was lost. I just had to finish.

The rest of the test actually wasn’t all that bad, and even though I think she was frustrated when I tried to park, she unbuckled her seatbelt and said, “I’m going to pass you anyway, but you need to work on your parallel parking and stopping at your stop lines.” She left the car, and it took all I had to not cry – I was wearing makeup and didn’t want to smudge it for my driver’s license picture. I had passed!

I sat down by Alex as they processed my papers. I leaned on him and dripped a few tears on his shoulder. We were both so relieved I had passed, and I couldn’t have done it without him. He, who was frustrated at me the first few times I tried driving in his car. He, who loves cars so much, especially his “Domino,” and he let me drive her, despite my inexperience. He, who was my cheerleader when I felt like crap. I don’t know how I can repay him. He’s done so much for me, and I am grateful for it.

I called my mom and told her the good news. I called my dad and told him the good news. Everyone was celebrating. After five years, I had finally earned my driver’s license. It was a long and complicated journey, but I finally achieved what I should have at the age of sixteen. And in a few months, I should have a car of my very own to cherish, christen, and drive around. I can’t wait.

Sarah and Thom came over for dinner, which Alex helped me make. We baked some Italian herb monkey bread and made a balsamic vinegar – sausage – feta cheese pasta toss. It was all very good, and we ate it as we listened to songs from my favorites list on my iPod. After dinner, we sat on the porch and talked. We walked to the Chug, which was practically empty. We played skeeball, trying to outdo each other. My highest score was 21,000. The overall high score from our group that night was made by Thom, who got 24,000. The machine’s overall top score was 38,000.

We left the Chug and went home. We sat on the porch, continuing the conversation. Then I just got so tired, and I didn’t like being eaten by mosquitoes, so I called it a night.

We slept in until 11:00 on Sunday morning. We took our sweet time taking showers and eating leftover pasta for lunch. Jess told me that Bob was coming up to watch fireworks with her. She had been sad that this was her first Independence Day not cooking out or watching fireworks with her family, and even though I had invited her to join us, I think she still felt lonely. So, Bob decided to come up. So nice!

Alex and I were bored and went over to Silvertree to visit Krista, Sarah, Nick, and Thom. We ate garden tomato and basil chips. They were good. I had never seen the film Independence Day, which was on the television when we walked in, and even though it was halfway over, Krista was like, “OH MY GOD YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS!” and so she got her DVD and we watched it from the beginning. I enjoyed it, but then after it was over, we were just bored and bitching about Spider-Man 3, even though it took hours before anyone decided to change the channel to Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.

Sarah and Thom made barbecue chicken, rice, and cumin mashed potatoes for dinner. Around 8:45, we stopped by my apartment to pick up a blanket, sparklers, and ice cream, and then met Krista and her friends Jeff and Ben at the middle school. Jess and Bob followed us as well, and all ten of us got on the MITS bus that was heading towards the fireworks place. As it turns out, it was just at the high school. We were like, “Oh, they could have told us it was here… that would have been easier…”

There were so many people at the school, and we were just trying to find a good place to sit, but that proved to be difficult because many people were being dumbasses and shooting crappy fireworks they had bought. We didn’t want to be hit by debris or have our blankets catch on fire, so we wanted to be away from the stupidity. We found a nice little place on a small slope by the tennis courts. We laid our blankets on the prickly grass, overlapping and making one giant continent. I kicked off my shoes because they were hurting me. I had bloody blisters all over my feet, and I winced as I walked around.

We passed out sparklers, and Nick let us borrow his lighter to light them. It had been so long since I had held a sparkler! We got pictures and danced around with them. Alex and I opened my pint of Chunky Monkey and shared it. It was just like old times, when my mom and I would each have a pint of ice cream as we watched fireworks.

Finally, around 10:00, all the dumb people in the crowd stopped trying to fire off their fireworks and the real show began. We had a prime spot. The explosions in the sky seemed so large, and I felt so small. My mouth hung open in awe throughout most of the show, barring the mosquito bites on my arms. It was quite magical. I know, it’s silly to think that something so small as fireworks could be so cool, but the show was truly impressive. I could have watched them for hours, just sitting there on my blanket with Alex, his arms wrapped around me.

When the show was over, we were caught up in the mass exodus. I felt like one of those people in the evacuation scenes of Independence Day because it was that crazy. Our group struggled to stay together at first, but we got through it. Someone kept throwing those little firecrackers that you set on the ground and watch pop, and so our group would rush along until we saw one of those lit on the ground, and we’d all have to step back and warn each other. The first one exploded, but the second was a dud and Jeff rubbed it out with his shoe.

We got on the bus back to where our cars were parked, and Alex and I gave up our seats to a couple with a lot of small children and a stroller. We moved to the back and found some spare seats, and I sat across from a woman and her fourteen-month-old son. He looked at me and smiled, and then he looked at Alex, who was sitting next to the toddler’s father, and smiled.

Today, we slept in late, took our showers, and had lunch while watching episodes of the Venture Bros. Alex left not long ago, and I’ve been writing and trying to work on homework. Jess and Bob are borrowing my Playstation for the moment, so Twin Peaks will have to wait, but that’s okay. I probably should concentrate on my class for a while. Only a few more weeks left! I just wish this one could have lasted longer…

Goals Completed:

#1: Receive my driver’s license.

#55: Sing karaoke at a bar.

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