Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's Hard to be Hardcore, When You Aren't.

Last weekend my husband had to take my Jeep to go to Scout Camp.  Which left me with his BMW.  I can count on one hand the amount of times I've driven a manual.  One hand.  So naturally I turned into my 5 year old alter ego and whined to my husband that if he made me drive his car, there would be casualties.  At one point I full on refused to drive his car, telling him I'd sooner roller skate to work.  Because I'd be damned if I had to learn to drive a stick in his car during stop-and-go freeway traffic by myself.  (Stubborn much?)  It's possibly the first time in recorded history that anyone has ever complained about "having" to drive a shiny, black BMW.  Shawn suggested that we switch cars with his mom for the day.  And as humiliating as that would be, it was the better alternative in my mind.  

Needless to say, I felt like a gigantic tool when I went to approach my mother in law about trading cars for the day.  I briefly considered telling her it was "Bring a Corolla to Work Day" - you know, something to save a shred of my dignity.  But naturally I went with the less dignifying, "I'm a loser and can drive a stick shift about as well as I tap dance" excuse.  Luckily my mother in law has no qualms with balling around in a BMW, not to mention she can drive the BMW.  So it was a win-win for everyone.  Except for my husband, who was sure I was going to total his mom's car.  A legitimate concern, I suppose.

  Anyways, everything went smoothly with the Corolla.  I couldn't have been more relieved to not have to worry about rolling backwards and front-ending a car, or managing to kill my engine in the middle of the freeway, or taking 5 minutes to get through a solitary green light.  But Shawn's echoing, "Don't wreck the car" got the best of me, so I went to trade back the car.  Because the only thing more awkward than having to drive your mother in law's Corolla, is wrecking your mother in law's Corolla.  Talk about a big boot off the family tree.  That's a situation no one should have to be in.

My parents were with me when I went to trade it back, because we were going to go to a movie.  (Hi, Mom & Dad!)  I felt more comfortable having them with me driving in the BMW, that way I knew I wouldn't completely terrorize the transmission.  I went to back out of the garage, and tried for eternity before I realized the E brake was still on.  That was a proud moment.  So after all systems are go, I try to reverse.  Something, mind you, I had never done until that moment.  I failed about 5 times before I got out of the car and instructed my mom to back it out before I slashed all the tires.  Not one of my finer moments.

So I get back in, and my parents are sure to strap themselves the hell in, because, they were having flashbacks of me 7 years ago, and I imagine were fairly mortified.  So we start driving, and I can make the car go, so that was a plus.  However, the car ride wasn't exactly what some might call smooth, to begin with.  So there we are, one minute my dad's in the passenger seat telling me to give it more gas, and the next thing I know both my parents are shrieking for me to put the clutch in.  Not being used to using so much damn brain power to drive a car, I was on the verge of throwing up every time I stopped on a hill, killed the engine, or had to reverse.

I'm proud to report we made it to our destination safely, though I'm sure I pissed off plenty of fellow drivers when I would just sit at green lights or stop signs.  My mom kept telling me to not worry about what everyone else was thinking.  But hello, of course I care that the broad behind me looks like she's about to bash in my windows if I don't start driving in the next .003 seconds.  Talk about pressure.  

The next day I got all sorts of brave and drove my mom and I to a family breakfast using the freeway.  Everyone has always told me freeway driving is the easiest part of driving a stick.  Yeah, maybe when you shift into the rights gears.  But for Mrs. Anxiety over here, going from 5th to 2nd gear while driving 60 miles an hour, not a total cake walk.  I'm such an effing spaz.  We finally got to our destination, with a fully functioning car and passengers.  (Though, if you know anything about the University of Utah/BYU rivalry, I drove right into University of Utah territory (on TCU game day, no less) with a big blazing Y on the back of my car.  I was seriously concerned that someone was going to take a bat to my husband's beloved car.  Luckily Max Hall wasn't right about all Utah fans.)  

Anyways, we all made it out alive.  And what would you know, I actually feel semi comfortable driving around in Shawn's car.  However I can't allow myself to feel cool yet.  Nothing is less cool than a chick who can barely get a her stupid damn car off the line.  Shawn suggested that I drive his car for the next month - and I practically laughed myself off the chair.  Drive his car during winter, when I'll be just as scared driving my Jeep around - yeah, that's a recipe for complete catastrophe.  How about I drive my Jeep, and you drive your BMW... and maybe let me occasionally sit in the driver's seat so I can relish in the looks people give me - and then we'll live happily ever after.  Mmmmkay? 

Am I the only loser that wasn't born with stick skills?  (Awkward.)
Console me, Internet.


  1. Yeeeah. I'm with ya when you say you've only driven a stick a handful of times... I'll stick with my automatic, thanks. (Why complicate things?) But awesome job! Sounds like you got it down!

  2. Well in Germany basically all cars have a stick shift, the only person I know with an automatic is a good friend's disabled dad who can't use his hands and legs properly anymore. Nevertheless, I didn't even manage to get a driving lisence, so I'd better shut up about it I guess ;)

  3. I was never taught how to drive a standard. I probably could, but all the vehicles I've ever been around are automatic.

  4. travis's truck is a stick and the day after we got home from the honeymoon i ended up screaming at him while he was trying to teach me how to drive it. naturally he ended up buying me an automatic instead of dealing with my anger. i hear you on this.

  5. Girllll, kudos to you for even trying! I've driven a stick shift...hmm... never. So I'm sure I would've been significantly worse then you as a driver. Good for you! Let's be proud that we can drive automatics without any severe incidents. :)

  6. I love your blog and I'm your newest follower!

    Have a wonderful day,


  7. Ha lol, that's awesome. I learned to drive stick when I was like 14 so I've not had a problem with it, but my twin sisters have never learned. They're 25 and if I had to guess I'd say they prob never will!

  8. can't say i have the same problem since i learned how to drive in a manual tranny rig on the farm. but even so, whenever i'm driving stick i still get nervous when stopped on a hill. so you're not alone there for sure! as for the BYU/U of U rivalry? when i was in utah last month i finally realized what a big deal that is. i was nervous about which street i was walking down in my hoodie and which side of the rivalry i'd actually meet! funny when i never attended either school, i'm just a sucker for hoodies as souvenirs therefore i'm totally innocent! :)

  9. I am (cough) 44 years old and have no stick skillz at all!