Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Speed of Life

I mentioned the other day that we bought a Yaris. Cute little car that we've been driving since Monday, and we still have a quarter tank 'o gas or more in it. WOOT!

Best thing is, the kids don't know how to drive it. It's a five speed, and since we've never had a stick shift since the kids started driving, then it's all mine, baby. And the hubby's, when he's home. It's a beautiful thing.

I learned to drive a stick early on, since that's all my parents had. We had a very ugly AMC Pacer, that we kids called The Aquarium. It was orange like a pumpkin, and ugly as sin. Our other car was an aqua AMC Gremlin. My parents must've had a thing for ugly cars, because that one was fugly too, but hey, it got me back and forth to school in my senior year, and I got my first ticket when I was driving it.

And fugly or not, the first car I bought was a white Gremlin that I painted black (with Rustoleum, man). By the time I sold it to get a better ride, after graduating nursing school, the transmission was being held together, quite literally, with a shoestring, to keep it from sliding out of gear. The salesman actually laughed at it when I told him it was my trade in. Jerk.

So I decided to take the boy out to learn how to drive the new ride. I think he wanted to learn more because if he learns whilst The Brat is out of the country, he'll have a step up on her, but who knows, really? It's in a guy's blood to drive a stick shift. I think after they learn, they can call themself a man, or something. So out we went, to the local middle school where they all learned how to drive.

Lots of construction going on at that school during summer break, but he did great. Tooled around the parking lot several times, feeling pretty darn confident. Made big circles around the place, parked it once, practiced finding reverse, then went to take one final loop. Turned right, and there was a jogger, on the left side of the road. Thomas went to shift into second right when we were next to him, gunned the gas way too much, and the engine revved like the Little Deuce Coupe.

Somewhere, there's a jogger who doesn't have to pee anymore.

Definitely scared it outta him, and gave us a laugh, but finished that loop and took it out on the road. Somehow, Thomas talked himself out of his confidence, and every time we got to an intersection, he started fretting, but still kept it going. Of course, he had heard me mention that learning to start on a hill is a challenge, so when we got to a place with a small incline, he got really worried. Killed it three or four times, but got up far enough that the car behind him could sneak up to the right of us so they could turn. We look over, and there are three or four teenaged guys, getting a giggle at the fact that they are moving, and we aren't.

Thomas gave them a grin and a wave, popped the clutch, burned rubber, and we were outta there. Oh yeah, he is a man now.

Of course, I haven't gotten him behind the wheel again, but he's a step ahead 'o the girl, and I think that's all that really matters. But hey, it's a confidence builder, to say that you can drive just about anything they put you in, because when we went to Aruba a few years back, the guys on our Jeep tour seemed impressed that I knew how to drive a stick -- they had to take a guy out and give him an automatic, but the woman could drive the stick. It was a humiliating moment for a guy, that Thomas will never have. Oh yeah. He's cool.

So if you want something cool for a guy, try this manly blue plaid Babe Magnet shirt, from The Strawberry Classic Menswear, on the bay. You gotta buy a hot ride yourself.

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