Monday, October 3, 2011

Memory - Driving

Today I drove B's stick shift truck to the closest "bigger" town that we live near. I pulled it into the first large parking lot I got to and parked it. My friend who was coming to the "city" with me got in and we started off. However we never even made it out of the parking lot before she asked to drive. I was fine with it as I'm not comfortable driving a stick - much prefer an automatic. brought back well as the feeling I really ought to choose to practice more.

As a child growing up all I remember is Dad driving a stick shift - Mom didn't learn to drive until I was a teen. I'm not sure why she didn't or what triggered the change but Mom didn't drive much. One year we were on furlough - 5th grade or so for me so I would have been 11 or 12 I guess. It was hay season and we were out west visiting Mom's family. My aunt and uncle had a farm and needed to get the hay in. I was tasked with driving the pick-up truck around the field...something I thought would be relatively easy. But I didn't realize that it was an automatic truck and did not require being driven with both feet. So I would press both the gas and the brake pedal at the same time and inevitably the truck would stall. Must have stalled and lurched to a stop every few feet around the field that first time. Eventually I did kind of get the hang of it but it took a while. Must have been prior to that experience that I figured I would never want to learn to drive. After that I thought it was kind of fun. However I'm still not overly comfortable driving a stick...even though Dad did insist I learn how to do so. I am now employed as a professional driver...people laugh when they find out I don't do stick shift well as they figure school buses are all stick. Having said that, on my "bucket list" is to learn to drive a semi - simply to say that I can do it. That will require becoming proficient at shifting...could be awhile before I'm ready to do that.

I might add I was 20 before I actually got my driver's took that long to get settled someplace where I could find someone to teach me. I did take driver's ed in 10th grade - living in Canada at the time. That was a trip...our closest town was 20 min or so away. The instructors would load 2-3 of us students up at a time - one drove in, all took turns driving in town and 1 drove home. On one of those trips the girl driving hit an icy patch (this was in winter in Canada) and put the car into the ditch off the side of the highway. She was mortified but I remember the instructor used it as teaching - having her drive it back up onto the road and continuing on into town. As we stopped for a snack and sat around together talking she was told how blessed she was to experience this so she knew how to get out. I don't remember her reaction to that. I do remember being thankful that I was not the one driving when we went around the one round-about in that town...I felt like we were going it backwards. It's taken me years to get past that's a conscious decision still. We returned to Africa before I was old enough to get my license and could not get it in Africa until I was 18. Looking back that was probably a good thing as I would have struggled even more with driving on the correct side of the road.

Anyway...there's another memory. Now it's time for me to get going to work driving bus. Today is sunny and warmer which will make afternoon route nicer.


Linds said...

Love it! I learned to drive a manual (stick) car, as we all did back in the 70s, and here in the UK, 99% of cars are still manual. There is a huge macho thing about automatics, and it is crazy. I had an automatic when we arrived here, but that car is long gone. Believe me, the next one is definitely going to be an automatic. The problem is that they are SO much more expensive. But I need one, so that is not going to be a consideration this time!

Edith said...

I totally hear knees would not allow me to drive a stick/manual on a regular basis. That's partly why it's been 20+ years since I've driven one more than a few feet and why my first purchased car was not one.

Karen said...

I don't know if you know that my first car (and second one--first after we were married)were both stick shift. When Mom's friends took me to buy a car, and we found that little Escort and it was a manual, I said "But, I don't know how to drive a stick shift." Jim said he'd teach me, and he did--driving around a parking lot until I got the hang of it. It was a lot easier than trying to learn how to drive the first time with one.

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