Tuesday, August 22, 2006

There Are Certain Things I'm Just Not That Good At. This Is One of Them:

Yesterday, while running errands, my trusty old (and I mean old) Oldsmobile started making a noise. A braking noise. A very disturbing, sounds-like-I'm-underwater-when-I'm-braking noise.

And I was planning on driving to Bloomington at the end of the week. Six hours. Each way. SHIT.

So, we're bringing the car in tomorrow, and the plan was for me to learn how to drive a stick-shift today. So that I can take it on a roadtrip. Alone. For 6 hours.

This, obviously, terrifies me.

Matt took my brake-y car to work today, and around 11, I head down to try and get his damn car to work. Because I've done this before. Senior year in college. Under much pressure from Matt. And I didn't enjoy it.

It may have involved crying.

I agreed to do this because I knew I'd feel relatively safe in my secluded, usually empty, apartment parking lot.

I forgot that on either side of my building, they're building other buildings. And driving large, yellow, shovel-having scary vehicles between the two construction sites. All. Day. Long.

There's nothing more embarrassing than getting into a cute little Jetta, waiting for a large vehicle to rumble past you, and then trying to back the damn thing up for the first time in four years.

And failing. And failing. And failing.

And imagining all those construction men, who have been driving stick shifts since they were 11, laughing at me.

And also imagining that somehow I'd get the car out on the open road, and I'd stall it, and I'd be stuck in the middle of the road and never be able to get the car to move again.

This was my fear.

So I got out of the car and came upstairs and hung pictures and organized scarves in my apartment.

(HEY. Don't knock it. Scarf Organization is being considered for inclusion in the Olympic Games.)

(ALSO: Thanks for all your well wishes on the professional-writing front. I've done everything I can right now, and I should hear something within the next week. Keep everything crossed!)


Kailani said...

When I was in college, my boyfriend tried to teach me to drive a stick. It ended in tears and I've never tried to learn again. Oh well . . .

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I really LOVE your header! Nothing better than a pair of pink shoes!

Kiki said...

You'll master the stick. Being from the country, I was one of those people who learned to dirve a stick at age 11. If I could make a suggestion, try practicing in a huge parking lot like a high school or a shopping mall or grocery store. You usually have enough space to get up to the higher gears. And don't get frustrated! You will get it.

PS Good luck on the writing. I congratulated you on the anniversary but not on the writing.

Jsto said...

My first episode with a stick shift in high school involves crying too!!

Logan said...

Oh, God. I remember my days of learning to drive stick. It involved me being the wheel and my parents screaming "CLUTCH! LOOK BEHIND YOU! EYES ON THE ROAD! ROLL DOWN YOUR WINDOW!" and other random shit that didn't warrant screaming. I was taught badly, but eventually common sense kicked in with experience, and now I can do it. Not as smoothly as some people (for example, the Tony-bear), but at least I know it won't be the end of the world if I stall.

Unless I stall on train tracks, I mean.

e-liz said...

Mars, if I can drive stick, you can. Because remember, we are almost the same person.
Come back to the Lou and I'll give you lessons. I won't yell.

juliedooley said...

Hello there!
First of all, VERY Happy First Anniversary to you two! Sorry, now you know I haven't been checking your blog as often as I should be. I think the gift ideas were awesome and I may be a bit inspired for my own approaching Paper Anniversary.

Second, at age 27 I adamantly refuse to even discuss the possibility of learning to drive a stick shift. I tried once, failed miserably (crying was involved in my situation too), and am way too stubborn to ever give it another try. SO I applaud you for even getting in Matt's car (by yourself?!?!?) and trying.

And I know you'll sweep the competition in the 2020 Olympic Scarf Organizing event.

katie-q said...

crying is a requirement for the first several times learning the stick, but it gets easier (says the girl who learned on a diesel jetta with many many many hours of tears and yelling)

Thanks for stopping by my blog, by the way, my friend's name is also Marcia, prononced the same way, you're the only other one I've ever heard of!

meno said...

I reguarily drive a stick shift. Recently my car was hit by an asshole and is in the shop for 2 months and i am driving an automatic rental car. I am having trouble driving it. I keep trying to push in a phantom clutch and having my left foot hit the floor with a thunk.
Guess it'a all what we're used to.

blog Portland said...

I grew up and Texas, and I don't even know how to drive a stick. Maybe that's why they kicked me out...

bobealia said...

I feel for ya, but it just takes practice. My dad forced me to drive stick in order to learn to drive. He forced me to start on hills at a university campus where all the hot young university kids watched me stall... in traffic. You'll get it eventually. Just gun the gas when you are letting up the clutch... that's what worked for me when I was beginning.

JH said...

My parents would tell you that I burnt out their clutch while trying to learn how to drive a stick. I adamantly deny this. When my nursing aide instructor told me not to worry about having trouble hearing blood pressure sounds because it was just like learning to drive a stick, I kind of lost it because I still don't know how to drive a stick and I'm 31. Yet, today I can proudly say I can accurately and quickly take your blood pressure ... the old-fashioned way with cuff and stethoscope. I'm so proud of myself I could burst.

jane said...

I still remember learning to drive stick & it was about 30 years ago. As I'm reading this, I'm almost in tears just imagining how you must have felt. It's the paralyzing kind of fear, that's too strong to be real...yet, somehow is.

And if Curling can be an Olympic sport, then dammit, so can scarf hanging!

ashley said...

Please give Ara, Cicely, and Q a big huge hug for me!!

Also guess who wants to do project runway season 4...ohh lord I know you know who I am talking about.

Heather said...

You'll have no problem learning to use a clutch. I refuse to drive anything that's an automatic, because I love driving standard transmission. And don't worry about being out on the highway. That's the easy part when driving a standard. It's the getting out of first gear at a busy intersection on an incline that takes practice. Just remember...if it feels like you're about to stall out, step on the clutch immeditately.

Are you going to Bloomington, Indiana? I love Bloomington!

Anonymous said...

This one amused me...especially since you were a witness (and a passenger!)during my rocky, yet ultimately successful stick-shift learning experience.

And remember how bad I was? Even after driving from Seattle to South Bend?? That's complete proof that if I can do it, YOU can do it. =) GOOD LUCK!