Saturday, January 16, 2010
Sticking It In Clutch Situations
Most people remember where they first learned to drive. My dad taught me in the parking lot of Palm Desert High. We were on a family vacation, and I was maybe fourteen or fifteen. We headed out for a drive and he took me to the parking lot where I timidly cruised around the empty lot. But, it was an exciting and memorable time. It was also in an automatic car... We now flash forward to a much crazier place - Sicily - where people are driving like they have their eyes closed and they drank too much coffee. I am living here for a few months and playing water polo with two of my national team teammates, but we live on our own and need to be able to get around. Of course, the car we have is not an automatic. All of a sudden, I am the designated driver, although I'm the one with no prior experience behind the wheel of a stick shift. I have tomorrow to figure it out... I had a twenty-minute lesson yesterday, which will come in handy, but I woke up this morning thinking about how to shift gears and get in and out of my own driveway, which happens to be a hill (go figure). If we wanna go anywhere, I've got to be able to get out of small spaces, i.e. parking spots. So, while I thought the most stressful situations would take place in the pools I'll be playing in here in Europe, I am finding that the most tension I will experience is going to be behind the wheel, that is until I figure out how to ease of the clutch and accelerate with some finesse. In the mean time, I will get used to the lurching motion of a stalling car and the honking horns of the fabulous Italian drivers who are pissed as all hell that - Heaven forbid - I just stalled in front of them.