Monday, March 19, 2012

Just like riding a bike

You might recall that I have previously (as in, within the last year of my life) learned to drive a standard car. Certainly this was no fault to my parents, as my dad did spend an afternoon with me in his Jetta as I started and stopped across a parking lot when I first was learning to drive. Since his car was the only standard one we had though, I never progressed further since I had other options, such as the most wonderful Sebring, to drive.

Then my husband and I came into possession of a new-to-us Corolla that happened to be standard and I found myself in a situation where I needed to learn standard. There was a bit of a learning curve, but after, oh, several months, I felt confident enough to even start going for short jaunts out in the car by myself.

Then the clutch gave out and my husband got to repairing it with his dad but it's still out of commission and so that good old standby of the Sebring has been getting me to where I need to go. Until last weekend.

Last weekend my sister-in-law roommate and I drove down to Gainesville. The only problem was, she had to work until about midnight before we could make the drive. So once we finally started driving, she drove for part of the trip and then asked me to take over.

Of course I said yes. What better time to relearn if I remembered how to drive standard than at 2 something in the morning in a car I'd never driven before to a location I'd never driven before?

I got into the driver's seat and spent a few moments adjusting the seat, the tilt, the mirrors... anything I could think of as I tried to remember everything I knew about driving. I figured I might stall once or twice in first and then I'd pull onto the highway, get into 5th and stay there for awhile. I could do that.

Well, I stalled three times trying to pull out of the parking spot in reverse until we realized I had left the parking break up. You see, one of the things my dad taught me was to always use the parking break, even in an automatic. So it's not like I wasn't used to putting the parking break down before driving; in fact, I'd been on the other side of the seat, watching people starting to drive in the Sebring with the ebreak up. To forget this, of all things, seemed horribly ominous to me.

Luckily (?), my sister in law was tired enough not to just kick me out and take over. I put the parking break down and, though I wouldn't say easily, I competently backed out of the spot and got into first without stalling and started down to the highway.

I'm happy to say that we even arrived at our destination in one piece. Oh sure, I had to pry my stiff hand off of the clutch with my teeth and use that hand to pry my other hand off of the steering wheel, but that was more nerves after the fact than anything else.

Later that day when we drove back up to Tallahassee, I got to drive again and that time, I kept my stalling to the bare minimum of maybe once, if that. I haven't driven standard since and the Corolla is still out of commission so it might be awhile longer, but at least I know I'll probably kind of sort of be ready to tackle driving on an uncrowded highway in the middle of the night.

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