Monday, May 3, 2010

My Prom Experience

I was telling someone this story the other day, it's become a bit of a legend among my family. It goes back to my senior prom and someone here on facebook, Cleo Hood.

I had promised to take my date and I, as well as another couple to the prom. The problem was that I still only had a learners permit. I figured it would be no big deal to get it upgraded to a license by the time prom rolled around. A week before the prom, I failed my driver's test. In Arizona at the time, you had to wait a week before you could take the test a second time. This meant that I would have to actually take the test the day OF prom in order to live up to my promises.

So the day of the prom, my mom gets up with me at the butt crack of dawn so we can go to the only DMV that's open on Saturday. We had to go early being as they assume they can only do a certain number of tests on Saturday and won't take any more after that. So we get to the DMV while it's still dark out, before 5 AM, wait around for hours and manage to be third in line to get tested.

Now the first time I got tested, the passenger was very calm the entire time, relaxed, but at the end handed me a test sheet where I got knocked down for ALL kinds of petty crap. Failed with 38 points, and more than 30 being a failing grade. The second time I took the test, the day of the prom, the tester was SCREAMING at me cursing, frothing, R Lee Ermy Marine drill sergeant style. The second time I walked away with only 2 points marked down out of 30. Go figure that...

So we head home, and on the way home from the DMV, we're on Camelback road in Phoenix, which is very busy. A guy in a purple corvette dashes across three lanes to make a right turn in front of me. There's traffic on my left so I can't ditch into another lane, instead I have to jam on my brakes. The guy behind me does the same. The girl behind him locks off her brakes skids into the guy behind me who careens into the back of me. Less than two hours with my license and I just got into my first accident. Even wilder, the guy who was behind me was a friend from my high-school who had graduated the year before me.

This doesn't help my mom who is already nervous; A brand new driver, out on the road, she's a wreck, but bless her she doesn't say a word and lets me go out. I pick up my friend on my end of town, and we start driving to the south end of Phoenix to pick up our dates. We grab his date first, then start following the directions I have to Cleo's place.

Now the problem here, is that no one ever gave me an address, I had never been to Cleo's house, and any time I asked, multiple people started giving me directions (all at the same time) like "It's just a could blocks south of the high school here, it's a bright green house you can't miss it." Needless to say, you can miss it... and I couldn't find it.

Worse yet, Cleo didn't have a phone, her family couldn't afford it. Once I was an hour late picking her up, we start getting desperate and calling friends. None have good directions. Then we start calling friends of friends. One of them finally knows someone else that's only an acquaintance that knows where Cleo lives, but this acquaintance doesn't have a phone either! The FOAF has an address for the acquaintance though. We drive half way across town and get lucky! The friend of a friend of a friend is there and gives us perfect directions to Cleo's house.

We finally get on the road with a good set of directions and make it to Cleo's house.... three.. and a half.... hours late. We pull up and there's a guy sitting in the front yard. I step out and he looks like he's about ready to snap somebody in two, I'm 5'5" and 150# this guy looks about 6'7" and 280. I'm shaking as I ask if Cleo's there. He suddenly looks chipper and goes running in, Cleo comes out, her mascara running, face still wet. She had been SOBBING thinking I had stood her up.

She perked up well, and the rest of the night went fairly easy. We had a WONDERFUL time including picking up another couple, all six of us hanging out together that night. I got home safe and sound around 4 AM after dropping everyone else off, my mother finally getting some sleep as this had ALL been in one day and I had been over 24 hours without sleep... driving a bunch of teenagers... after having JUST gotten my license.

And me? I have a pretty cool story to tell people about my prom. So to Cleo, thanks for the story, my wife even thinks it's awesome :)