“Always focus on the front windshield and not the rearview mirror.” Colin Powell
“Keep your eyes open, especially if you’re wearing a blindfold while driving. Closing your eyes in that situation could be dangerous.” Jarod Kintz
“LOOOOOK OUT BELOW!” Here she comes! I think that was my mother who screamed.
My parents owned a 1960 tomato soup orange, Volkswagen Bug… stick shift. Looking forward to learning to drive I pestered my mom as to when the lessons would start.
Now, here I am on 19th street in Hermosa Beach headed up this VERTICAL incline for the first time in my lesson on how to drive a stick shift. One problem — in those days the cars were not built with any form of braking system to prevent your car from rolling down the hill backwards before you depressed the clutch, put the stick shift into gear, and hit the gas. I ONLY had to be fast enough in coordinating my actions.
Oh yes, the ‘other’ problem is that there is a STOP sign at the crest of the hill. So here I am stopped at the top of the hill sweat budding on my forehead as I’m stressed. My brain imagines…what happens if I can’t coordinate my actions fast enough? I’ll roll backwards down the enormous hill at warp speed, roll through the major intersection at the bottom of the incline smashing the cars going past 19th street along Hermosa Avenue. If this happens, I’ll bet mom won’t let me get my driver’s license!
Ok… I CAN do this! I hit the clutch, put the car into first gear and attempt to depress the gas pedal enough to prevent rolling backwards. Except… I AM rolling backwards and I’m halfway down the incline before I successfully stop us. Now, I have to manage to put the car in gear just so I can reach the stop sign yet again. I pop the clutch and hit the gas pedal, climbing the hill, but there is that awful stop sign again. I roll down the hill backward about three times in my attempt to drive past that stop sign.
FINALLY, here I am in the middle of that DANG hill again. I start to go through my steps of clutch, gear, and gas yet again, as a car appears in my rearview mirror. OHHHH, WHAT AM I GOING TO DO? So I stop the car, roll my window down and motion for the car to pass me. As the car is parallel to mine I see there are two CUTE boys in the car. The guys call through their open window, “Are you having problems?” “ Do you need help?” I try to nonchalantly shake my head to indicate I don’t need help when my mother shouts “She is just learning to drive!”
I am now thoroughly humiliated as the guys laugh, punch the gas pedal and head up the hill. The good news is that I was SO angry at mother that this time I actually not only made it up to that stop sign, but I actually managed to stop, AND successfully drive past the sign to our garage where I could hide!