Nobody Puts Kenzie In The Corner: I Promise I’m A Good Driver

Generally, by the time a person owns their second car, they know how to drive. Unless that person is me.


by Mackenzie O'Guin, Design Editor

When my parents surprised me with two cars for my 16th birthday, everyone seemed to overlook one minute detail: I don’t actually know how to drive.

That’s not to say I haven’t tried  to drive. I got my learner’s permit quite a long time ago, actually. I have had every opportunity to learn to drive. But, after a few unfortunate outings with my dedicated mother where I effectively jeopardized our lives, we made a mutual unspoken agreement- I should never, ever, ever operate a motorized vehicle. Ever.

“But, Mack! No one could be that bad at driving! Whatever you did couldn’t have been that bad, right?”

I nearly ran over children in a church parking lot. Yeah, it was that bad.

(Let the record show that no children were harmed. Traumatized, perhaps. But not harmed.)

However, in giving me my cars, my parents finally forced my hands into a tight 10-and-2 grip on the steering wheel of Bianca the BMW. I will now chronicle a highlight reel of my driving excursions:

Sunday, October 4, 2015: I have a Dart meeting in the Brookside Panera, prompting the 40-60 minute pilgrimage from my Lone Jack home. My mother and I planned that I would drive the first leg of the trip, which is comprised of a series of winding country backroads and a few mediocre intersections. We would stop at the Casey’s in Grain Valley immediately before we had to get on I-70 and switch drivers so I wouldn’t have to drive in highway traffic. Then, we would go to Dunkin Donuts to celebrate Bianca’s inaugural drive. Sounds like a great plan, right? Right.

Until we stopped at Casey’s, filled up the tank, and forgot to switch drivers. It wasn’t until I was about to turn onto the ramp that we realized this was my first time driving. I was not equipped to drive on a highway. Fearing for my life, I merged with the traffic, finding myself next to an extremely colossal semi that made me very afraid, because all I could think was, “Why was that semi so humongous? If it hits me, I ‘m screwed.”

And it wasn’t just the semi psyching me out. It was all the cars. There were so many. We weren’t in Lone Jack anymore, folks, and these aren’t desolate country backroads. This is a traffic-ridden highway where people are going like 70 miles per hour. I was just trying to get to Dunkin Donuts. I weaved in and out of the metallic, screechy-tired sea in search of the familiar exit I knew to lead to my beloved Dunkin. The cars continued to zoom past me in every direction. Would I ever escape this frenzied, motorized blitz?

Then, like a beacon of hope, I saw it- the blazing orange stucco of the Blue Springs Dunkin Donuts. It was within sight. Salvation was near. I eased off the exit, and, after a few over-corrected turns, found myself in the parking lot of Dunkin Donuts. Dreams really do come true.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015: After driving all afternoon and into the evening, I had thoroughly impressed my mother with my vehicular finesse. My mother, who once feared for her life as my passenger, complimented my vast improvements in attentiveness and responsibility. In other words, I was killing the driving game and really feelin’ myself. We were on the desolate Lone Jack backroads, in the home stretch, literally less than a minute away from my house. I had been a picture of driving perfection, abiding by every rule or law applicable to the driving world. No one could stop me now. That’s when something on the right side of the road caught my eye. I tried to discern what it was I was seeing, sure that my initial impression was false, that my eyes had deceived me. Could it be? Are those really-

“Look at those nice roosters!” I exclaimed. A plethora of thoughts sped through my mind. I’ve never seen them there before! Who’s were they? How many of them were there? It had to be six or seven at least. Have they always been there? Why are they wandering the side of the road? Why weren’t  they in a cage?

With each successive speculation, I was unconsciously drifting, tugging the steering wheel further and further to the left…into a lane of oncoming traffic.


Maybe it was my mother’s expletive-permeated shouting or the neon blue pickup barreling straight toward me, but I quickly jerked back into my lane, overcorrecting and nearly hitting the very roosters I had been ogling at.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015: I am not very good at turning. I am especially not very good at turning at consistent high speeds. This makes highway driving an adventure, in the least. On this particular occasion, I am on the highway driving home from school. As I encounter a bend, I brace myself for a smooth, centered turn that won’t breech the other lanes (I get a little line-blind sometimes). I begin to turn, and I’m feeling pretty solid- this is probably one of my best turns yet. Or, at least I thought so until this tiny old lady aggressively speeds out from beside me, and my mother begins laughing.

“What’s her deal?” I rolled my eyes. Why are drivers so aggressive?

“I think she just flipped you off,” my mom was teary-eyed with laughter.

And, she was right. This sweet, docile elderly woman just gave me the finger because I “nearly ran her off the bridge” according to my mom. True as that might be, I was still offended. I am a flawed human being, everybody makes mistakes, and I deserve compassion.

In conclusion: I am actually a very good driver with very bad luck. Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed my driving woes. I HAVE A SPECIAL REQUEST: I obviously already named my BMW. However, my other car still needs a worthy name. It’s a red convertible Mustang and it’s been my dream car since I was in sixth grade, so the name has to be perfect. Leave ideas in the comments. Have a super sick week, friends.

So long and goodnight,

Mackenzie Nicole O’Guin


Thank you to my parents for my cars/babies, my mother for being brave enough to ride with me, Bianca for being a real trooper (despite staring doom in the face on more than one occasion) and Dunkin Donuts for always reminding me that there is hope.