Tuesday, May 10, 2011

...Today, I Almost Died...

   Ok, so the title for this posting is a bit dramatic, but in reality, that's how I feel.  Today I learned that it will take more than one session for me to learn how to drive a manual transmission.  So three weeks ago, my husband acquired a 1985 Jeep Cherokee...it's a pretty basic model with a manual tranny.
   When I took Driver's Ed, they taught us how to operate an automatic transmission and I never needed to learn how to drive stick.  Since we now own a vehicle that doesn't have an automatic tranny, I have insisted that I be taught how to drive it...and my husband has the wonderful privilege of teaching me.
   Today was "Session 1"...a.k.a. "learning not to scream while driving"...  Since I do not have the slightest clue about clutches and shifting gears, my instructions have to be pretty basic (put foot on clutch. ALL the way on the clutch. Give it gas. A little more gas. Release the clutch.  ::engine shudders::  Push down on clutch. Give it gas. Keep foot on the gas. Now release clutch. Release it all the way ::sigh::....).
   I made it out of our parking space after killing the engine (not sure of the correct term, but basically the jeep shuddered and everything stopped running) about 3 or 4 times.  I think the screaming started as we made our way out of the parking lot (my screaming, not hubby's).  It continued as we traveled farther away from our home, down a road to another development (what? you've never screamed while driving? maybe you should try it.  it's very liberating).
   Finally, we arrived at a stop sign.  On a hill.  Stopping at a stop sign on a hill was not the problem.  Going forward after stopping on the hill was.  I killed the engine a few more times and we drifted back into an invisible car that only my husband could see.  After spending about 20 minutes there, I was finally able to get the sequence right (brake off, give it gas, clutch off while foot is still on gas) and we rolled forward.  After this we went down a hill and stopped to switch seats because there was another stop sign on the top of a hill (this is probably when my screaming halted).
   After I stopped shaking and praising God that we were alive (it was seriously more nerve-wracking than I had anticipated), I studied JR's feet as he drove the half-mile back home and I think that I might actually start to get the hang of driving a manual transmission.  We shall see.  Hopefully there will be less screaming during "Session 2"....

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