Life List: Learn to drive a manual transmission – Check!

It’s been slow-going, including some active avoidance of all driving on my part, but I think I am finally confident enough to cross “Learn to drive a manual transmission car” off the life list!

I am not currently going to win any races, but with Neil out of town for a few days (leaving the car sat in our parking spot), and the weather taking another turn for the miserable, the temptation to take 4, enclosed wheels, rather than my usual 2 exposed ones to work was too strong!

Not a lot has changed since last August, when I complained about my reluctance and terror. Except, after a few more lessons, and a lot more time as a passenger here, getting more opportunities to observe the rules of the road, I feel like I know a little more about what to expect from other road users.

And, more importantly, I feel a lot more confident about what to expect from my car.

One thing I didn’t expect from the driving lessons was that it would make driving my own car a lot more difficult. The instructor’s car has a well-used, incredibly mushy clutch. Great for learning on, when one has a hojillion other things to think about.

Less good, when trying to drive a car with a much tighter gearbox, which ours has. It was stall-city. And at one point I found myself trying to enter a busy mini-roundabout from a slight incline, and could just not manage to move off.

At which point I threw a complete snit, made Neil hop out of the passenger seat and complete the journey himself, and refused to drive our car anymore out of nothing but frustration and spite.

But, one hectic day, I ended up having to drive the car to a job interview when I ran out of time to call a cab. And then again to running group. And then I willingly took it on a few more errands.

Which brings us to this week. I drove to and from work (including nursery dropoff for Isaac), which means navigating left and right turns, a few hills, and a clutch-tastic creep across town in heavy commuter traffic.

And I made it. Mostly confidently. Stopping on a hill still results in looking like a bit of an idiot with my high revs and heavy clutching. I still lurch wildly on occasion. But I’m not stalling. And I even pulled my shoulders down from around my ears long enough to turn on the radio at one point.

I’m not what you’d call graceful in my maneuvering, but I am remembering how much I really love to drive.

So I’m calling this one a win!

Silver 2009 5-door Ford Focus

Hello, friend.

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2 thoughts on “Life List: Learn to drive a manual transmission – Check!

  1. Donna

    That sounds horribly familiar. To the point of having flashbacks to that time I tried taking my truck out for a ride through Cloverdale and wound up nearly in tears at 64 & 184 — 6 blocks from home! Missing two lights because I could. Not. Go.

    Stupid truck.

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