Reverse. Check. Emergency brake. Check.

fuseboxSo a bunch of us came out of a contentious meeting this afternoon to find a whole bunch of folks standing around the lunch room. Yesterday at around that time of day, there was a small retirement gathering with cake and we were all thinking “Cake? Cake?” Actually I was thinking more like, “No, not cake!” I like a little cake once in a while. I love the frosting (I know it’s popular to say you hate frosting [snort] but I do). But a little bit goes a loooooong way for me.

As it turned out there was no cake or anything to eat although some people were thinking about making popcorn. What there was, was a tow truck out by the pond. One of our developers had forgotten to 1) put her car in gear and 2) put the emergency brake on before she parked it. It took something like three hours for it to start rolling but roll it did. The good news is that it didn’t get very far into the pond. The pond is very shallow and muddy and I think once the back wheels hit the mud, they stuck. The bad news is that she needed a tow truck to pull her out and that caused some damage but hopefully not to the engine.

There but for the grace of god go I? Yes. Of course, every member of today’s peanut gallery had stick shift advice to give. Not to mention stories about the sticklers (not an intended pun but a good one now that I revisit it) that had taught *them* to drive stick and how *they* would never do something like that.

I dunno, I more or less taught myself how to drive stick and although I *know* how to keep a stick vee-hickle from rolling into a pond, I empathize with my friend. Backing up a bit (in life, not in my vee-hickle), a stickler *tried* to teach me how to drive stick. It was my own personal stickler aka my dad and he had been driving since he was gawd only knows what age, not to mention his years as a WWII Army Air Corps pilot, etc. He was a flight instructor in the Army Air Corps and I have to believe that he approached my training in driving stick in as rigorous a manner as he trained his students. I won’t speculate at length about the difference between teaching any old yahoo how to drive something that can fall out of the air vs. teaching your (pretty dern smart) daughter how to drive a VW Bug. Now that I am a parent, I know that the operative words here are probably *daughter* and *car*. (Love you dad.)

Anyway, after I had to start out in first gear about a billion times at a stop sign (on a flat road) and couldn’t manage it without lurching, I was done done done, at least with his lessons. I just kept getting more nervous. And failing. But. I snuck around behind his back and got The Commander’s permission to let me drive the VW to town while he was at work. It was fine except for when I stalled the thing out at the Easterday / Ashmun intersection, one of the major intersections in town and arguably one terminus of the Sault Ste. Siberia “cool” teenager activity of “Dragging Ash”, meaning I was TOTALLY EMBARRASSED. (Aka what cute guy who couldn’t care less if I existed saw me do that?) I got it then. I can’t say that I haven’t ever made mistakes with a stick shift since then. I occasionally do but it’s usually because something has distracted me from following my instincts. Of course, the Ninja that I drive now can actually start out from a stop in 2nd although I don’t often do that unless it’s a kind of a rolling stop. And I know that I could *also* forget to secure my Ninja and let it roll. All it takes is a wee bit of distraction.

The lucky-shuckial room? We were in one of our fave stores (DH&G) last Saturday and an employee was showing off the ancient (was it 100 years old?) fuse box. It exists (and I didn’t get a pitcher of it out of respect for the people inspecting it) but they haven’t used it in a long time. Instead, there is this big beautiful Lucky-Shuckial Room. I posted the pic only because some bizarre family communications over the summer have piqued my interest in fuse boxes.

One Response to “Reverse. Check. Emergency brake. Check.”

  1. Margaret Says:

    I can still drive a stick, but would prefer not to. My lessons went about the same as yours and I never could drive Patt’s Jeep very smoothly. (tricky clutch) But I’ve come to the conclusion that there are way too many hills around here to make a manual transmission feasible for me, in my lazy state!