Like most teenagers, I couldn’t wait to get my driver’s license. I took driver’s education, practiced for what seemed like forever with my father, and finally the day arrived. After we got home from the license branch, my father presented me with my very own key to his car! Wow, I didn’t expect that since he was so proud and protective of his car. He said the only rule was that I could never take the car without permission. Worked for me. Since he carpooled to work, his car was at home much of the time. I could even drive it to school on bad weather days, after taking my mother to work. I don’t remember why now, but one of those rainy days several months after I got my license, a girl in my class invited me to her home after school. She was very popular and even had her own car. I was elated that she was paying attention to me. I told her I’d have to swing by Mother’s office on the way to get permission. She waited for me in the parking lot of the office building and waved and pulled out onto the highway as soon as I started Dad’s car. I pulled out right after her. I did not want to let this opportunity out of my sight. I pulled right into the side of a little red sports car coming down the highway. I was so focused on following her home; I didn’t even look for oncoming traffic. Naturally I was very scared and upset. When the police officer got there I tearfully begged him to let me go back into the office and get my mom. After an agonizing time, standing there in the rain, he finally relented. Mother took care of the official business. (My friend had stopped, but quickly drove on home.) Dad always drove big, heavy cars, so there was only a small amount of damage to the front headlight and bumper. The other car was not so lucky. The whole driver’s side was dented in hideously. When we got home, Mother sent me to my room to wait until Dad got home from work. She barely said anything at all. When he got home, they talked for a while before he came into my room. He just said, “Are you hurt?” I said no. And then he said, “Give me your key.” That was it. No yelling. No grounding. No “punishment” at all. It seems to me that the things that usually occupy our attention may not be as important as what else is going on in the world. When we pursue something single mindedly, we can lose the ability to even function normally. I was devastated by the loss of car privileges and the humiliation of the accident in front of my friend, but at the time I didn’t understand the real mistake I’d made.