For a couple of years now Devoted Spouse has been driving this ultra cool little fire engine red fast Mazda Miata convertible – it was his mid-life crisis thing. I was real glad he brought home a red car…not a younger redhead if ya get my meaning.
Tonight I wanted to try a new rib joint in town and as we walked out to the garage I said, “Sweetie, let’s take your car.” That really surprised him. My back has been acting wonky lately and I think he was a little concerned with me trying to get myself down into that little sardine can and then get back up and out of it again. I just wanted to do something different.
Into the Miata I got and off we drove. We had a good meal and a fun time and then it was again time for me to get into a car that pretty much is about the size of Barbie’s dreamcar and strap myself in with my knees up in my nose and no place for my purse, let alone the box of left-over ribs. (note to self: crap, get ribs out of car.)
On the way home I was reminiscing about how when we were first married 26 years ago, he had this old Datsun that was a stick shift and he tried so hard to teach me how to drive it. I remember driving around the parking lot of the local shopping mall on an early Sunday morning coz there were no cars there and I could actually go fast enough to shift into a few gears. I wasn’t very good at it. In fact it was a total disaster. The phrase stripped gears comes to mind. He took me out on the open road and it was a classic scene of the parent teaching the teenager to drive…’No, let out the clutch easy…No, don’t ride the clutch…No, you’re in the wrong gear.” “Use the emergency brake!” Jeez Louize. Driving a stick shift was a pain in the you-know-what. The Datsun was parked in our suburb one day (we used to park and then take a bus into the Pentagon in those days) and I got sick at work. I got a bus out to the suburbs but had to drive the Datsun about two miles to our townhouse — I think I drove in 1st gear the whole way. It was just a matter of days until Devoted Spouse sold the Datsun and we bought “the family car.”
Anyway…back to the present time…tonight we’re flying down our country roads and I notice he has six gears and I’m watching him work all of this stuff and I start asking questions. When do you put the clutch in? If a deer runs across the road now do you have to put the clutch in as you slam your foot on the brake? Does the clutch have to go in all the way and do you have to downshift before or after you run over the deer? Why are you in 6th gear when you’re only doing 40 miles an hour? I had so many questions.
I reminded him of how when he was teaching me to use the stick shift and we were on a hill at a stoplight, I would ride the clutch and he would get so mad at me. But if I didn’t ride the clutch, either the car would drift backward, or the engine would stall when I tried to get it into 1st gear again. Gah… It was a major no-no – “Don’t ride the clutch.”
So, this evening as we’re on this country road I start talking about how to keep it from rolling down the hill and he STOPS THE CAR and starts going through this rigamarole of showing me how to clutch and then you pull up on the emergency brake thingie and it’s the emergency brake thingie that keeps you from rolling down the hill. Then you ease the emergency brake down and let out the clutch a little I think and let your foot off the regular brake, and probably pee a little, and Oh For The Love of Mike WTH is he goin on about? I just asked a question; I didn’t expect a demonstration. I’m listening and thinking in my head La La La La and we’re TOTALLY STOPPED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FREAKIN’ ROAD IN THE DARK OF NIGHT. He thinks I understand what he’s showing me. Now I ask you if I’m driving this 6-speed monster and I’m stopped at a light on a hill and I have to have the emergency brake on in order to keep the car from drifting backwards and then the light changes and I slowly lift up on the brake while trying to remember to put the clutch in and also the accelerator and put the gear shift into 1st gear, HOW THE BLOODY HECK AM I SUPPOSED TO CHANGE THE CD I’M LISTENING TO? Exhausting. Crap on toast. (Why is it when you ask a man a question he either has to draw something or actually show you how to do it — just tell me.) He actually thought I wanted to LEARN to drive this thing. Snort.
So that was my first ride in his car for 2010 and will be the last one for awhile. Just watching him go through all the motions wears me out. Ya might know an automatic transmission kinda gal would end up with a raving stick shift kinda guy. sigh…