When I finally got behind the wheel of a car myself, conceit and self-importance set in. If ever I saw someone with that familiar awe-struck gape staring at my car during one of my innumerable driving lessons, I would think, with a shameful amount of pride, "I am cooler than you because I am operating a motor vehicle right now."
On a particular stretch of Wilshire Boulevard near Westwood at 6 p.m., right-lane traffic is hopelessly stalled. A stream of cars crowds the intersection, trying to squeeze into the nearby parking lot of a well-known synagogue.
It's a familiar sight: With most people heading home from work, L.A.'s Jewish community is swimming against the current, driving to services in some of the most densely populated neighborhoods in the city.
On May 7, exactly 16 years minus 5 1/2 hours after his birth, my son, Gabe, took his driving test at the Winnetka Department of Motor Vehicles office.
Here's my "Parking Spot Theory": Let's say you're driving around, looking for a parking spot and you can't find one. You drive around the block again and, still, nothing. You look up ahead at the other cars circling the block and no one is getting a parking spot. Frustration builds. Then, suddenly, a spot opens up and the guy ahead of you pulls into it. The first thing you think is, "Damn, that could've been my parking spot." Disappointment. Anger.
I didn't do much today but drive.No one died. No jobs were lost or won. I didn't run into an old boyfriend, have an epiphany or a traffic accident.