He took me to the parking lot where the driving school does their license exam and ran me through the different steps of the exam -- parking, making left and right turns, and making a three-point turn. I did well on all of these. Next he took me to a nearby grocery store with a much larger parking lot and had me practice parking in different parking spaces, some of them quite narrow. I was able to park well in all of them, no problem. I think I amazed myself more than him!
Near the end of the exam, he had me drive to a local Cuban restaurant called La Carreta where we stopped for an impromptu coffee break. He chatted about his life -- his past relationships and the jobs he's had, and what he's learned from all of these experiences. He is an older Cuban man, someone who works as a nurse during the day and a driving instructor in the afternoon/evening. He has a very calm demeanor and very kind, wise eyes. His patience has been instrumental in allowing me to get over my insecurities as a driver.
After we left La Carreta, he took me to a nearby residential street where I spent the last hour practicing left and right turns and three-point turns again. He ran me through the paces over and over until I was performing them seamlessly, without much instruction or guidance on his part.
When the lesson was over and I was back home again, I asked him how I did, and this was his response -- I did perfectly and I'll be fine to drive by the end of the week. I couldn't believe it. I left the car feeling like I was walking on air.
I'm so happy -- what once seemed so insurmountable, this phobia of mine of driving, has become instead an inner confidence. This experience has shown me that there is nothing I can't accomplish, so long as I put my whole heart and mind to the task.