Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Check Me Out!

Lizzie is learning to drive a stick shift.

I know!

You don't have to feel too sorry for me, though, because The Brain did most of the hard work. He's the one who volunteered to take her to a parking lot and let her practice and get used to her new nemesis, The Clutch. He also had her drive home from that parking lot, including the exhilarating experience of lurching into the middle of an intersection only to have the car die during the left turn process, which, as you yourself have probably experienced, quickly evoked strong reactions from several different drivers.

He then dealt with the aftermath of hyperventilation and the near fainting spell that took place after they managed to get out of the intersection.

He even took her out again the next day where they were only yelled at once when she stopped at a supermarket crosswalk and couldn't get going again, only to have the driver of the car behind her get out of his car to come to her window to yell at her about "parking in the fire lane". (Get a life, guy!)

The Brain again had to deal with the aftermath of hyperventilation and the near fainting spell that took place after they managed to get out of the fire lane.

When it was my turn, I rode with her while she drove to a choir practice on Sunday night. Lizzie, Mimi and I all hopped into the little car to make what I thought should be an uneventful 15 minute drive.

See, when you drive a mini-van, the only people who "check you out" are creepy old guys in convertibles. It never occurred to me that being in a different car with a different driver might produce different results along those lines.

I was stunned by the number of cars full of teenage buys that zoomed up to check us out. I mean, from the back, we looked like "Hey! car full of girls!" Of course, once they figured out that it was 2 girls and their mom, the fascination was over and they sped away. I don't think Lizzie even noticed. (She had plenty to think about, what with the driving and clutching, and braking, and shifting... not to mention the burning clutch fumes that were making us all a little dizzy.)

But seriously, once we got home, the Brain was dealing with MY hyperventilation and near fainting spell. I guess when you get old, you forget how many distractions there really ARE on the road.

20 comments:

Amy Peterson said...

I'm a little jealous, I'm 26 and still don't know how to drive a stick! My brother in law took me out once in his mustang to learn and I totally peeled out and flew up the hill, and he thought it was cool, but I was totally out of control

kristen said...

I suck at stick shift. Thus I will always have an automatic.

Kimberly said...

Oh dear. I've never even tried to learn stick. Automatic is hard enough for me!

ELASTICWAISTBANDLADY said...

True Story:
I learned to drive stick on a truck that I did not get finance approval for. And so after I spent the weekend grinding the gears and mastering the clutch and they called me withy the news, I was more than happy to return it and buy a truck that hadn't been through so much abuse. :)

ELASTICWAISTBANDLADY said...

A guy hit on me(or my truck?) at the convenience store when I was leaving. He kept talking about what a sweet truck I had and if I minded if he looked inside it.

I did mind.

ELASTICWAISTBANDLADY said...

I'm buying pedal cars for all my kids when they turn 16.

TRS said...

It's great that she's learning a stick shift.

I'm 38 and never learned to drive a stick - and I grew up on a farm! I have no excuse.

Yvonne said...

It's a valuable thing to learn--but not much fun to be the teacher. Glad The Brain is there.

Have fun ; ) LOL about the comment about the teenage boys--too cute.

joanna said...

This gives me flashbacks of when my parents took me out driving! HA! I was learning on a Ford Blazer, which is similar to a truck. Bless my parents' hearts. They were so patient. It sounds like you're dealing with things just fine.

Heather said...

OH the days of learning to drive a stick.

Ok. So am I confused or does your van have a stick shift?? I didn't think they made vans that weren't automatic anymore. :)

beckers said...

I remember when the Brain took me for a little drive for practice...it was in his shiny red sports car. I had driven a stick before, but this one was tricky, and I was still new at it. (I don't think I actually had my license yet). He was very sweet and patient. Even when I couldn't get it going up a hill, and I gave up and he took over for me. :) Good times.

No Cool Story said...

WOW! Really? That's way cool! She'll be able to drive anything.

I was learning how to drive a stick shift (back in my native Mehikoh) and I got stuck at a stop light. A taxi driver behind us started honking and using bad language.
My mom got out of the car, slapped the guy AND told him to leave us alone. She then came back into the car and told me, very sweetly, to clam down and to drive away.

OMGosh. Yeah, I about died.
That was the last time I drove a shift stick. Traumatized for life.

SalGal said...

Driving the stick shift is not a problem. It's getting it to move in the first place I have issues with!!

linzipoo said...

I only ever drove manual transmissions until two years ago. It's a fun skill to have.

Had to kick my dad out of the car for swearing at me so much when I was learning. I made him walk home. (We were only in our neighborhood so he didn't have to hoof-it very far.)

Good luck! I'm not looking forward to teaching my kids how to drive.

"Vern" said...

You get creepy guys in covertibles to check you out??! I don't even get THAT attention!

Mimi said...

Teenage boys were checking us out? Dang it! I didnt even notice! Were they cute boys?

Janell said...

Alas, I can never compete in the "Amazing Race" because I cannot drive clutch. I refuse to be the blonde ditz of the season who gets stuck on a paved road in an affluent, foreign country simply because she can't drive clutch. You're giving your daughter a valuable life skill.

For your own heart you may want to consider requiring your daughter to wear a gray-haired wig while driving to prevent cars full of boys from checking her out. If her pride(and your ears) can suffer the abuse of such a parental mandate.

mormonhermitmom said...

Ah the stick shift. I actually miss it. I learned on a 73 Ford Pinto station wagon with faux wood paneling. And the exhaust belched black smoke, and the engine could be heard a block away. My mom finally got a family friend to teach me. He had taught driver's ed some years before. If it weren't for him, I'd still be stuck at the top of Leigh Hill;)

Lizzie Amazing said...

Dang! I had no idea that we were being checked out!! : ) It's probably good that i didn't know though. I would have embarrassingly stalled it for the bazillionth time...

Nancy Face said...

My dad quickly gave up on teaching me to drive a stick shift...the grinding of the gears was too painful for him! :(

When Ty and Lauren were little we bought a stick shift truck and Kris Face tried to teach me to drive it at the church parking lot. I quickly gave up...the screams of terror coming from my children in the back seat were a bit distracting.