Christine over at Real Men Don't Watch American Idol got me thinking about my first job and that led me to think about some of the girls I worked with and that led me to remember an incident that probably aged me about 10 years.
I had been working for a couple years and I had only been married about 6 months when this incident occurred. My husband had been trying to teach me how to drive a stick shift. Now I want to pause right here and WARN everyone who doesn't already know this.....NEVER EVER have anyone you really care about try to teach you this particular skill....especially your husband or boyfriend. He had a 1955 Ford at the time and we would go out in the evenings and he would try to teach me how to drive and manually shift at the same time. I knew the fundamentals of it....I understood what it was supposed to do...I knew where the gears were located but something strange happened between the coordination of my left foot and my right foot and I would jerk the car and of course stall it. I think I was eventually called every name that meant idiot or stupid and then some. I was called names that I didn't even know the meaning of. He said over and over that he just could NOT understand how ANYONE could be so ignorant that they could not do something as simple as this. I eventually got indignant over the whole thing and told him to stick it up his a$$ and said I'd never let him teach me another thing as long as I managed to live. My car was an automatic so I figured I never needed to know how to drive a stick shift anyway. So there!
Part of the job I did was work after banking hours microfilming checks. Well, this one particular day, one of the teen-aged girls I worked with (the bank where we worked employed seniors in high school on a part time basis) spilled red ink all over her skirt. She immediately burst into tears, saying that her mom was going to "kill" her. I didn't live too far from work and had a washer and dryer in the apartment building that I could use. The plan was for me to take her skirt (she put on a smock that looked like a housecoat that we kept at work to wear over our clothes when we had a messy job to do) and take it home and wash it, dry it, iron it and bring it back to work. Only problem was.....it was a Saturday and I didn't drive that day, my husband had brought me into work and would be picking me up later. He was at his brother's helping him work on a car. So she tossed me her keys and said....take my car, its parked alongside the building...a blue Ford Falcon. I grabbed her skirt and out I went. I found her car, unlocked it, got in and to my dismay noticed THREE pedals on the floor. CRAP! A stick shift. Now I could abort the whole mission and go back inside and announce that I was TOO STUPID to drive a stick shift or I could WING it with what I already knew. I chose to save face and try it.
This is city traffic I'm talking about. No country roads so I couldn't just take my time. I had approximately 3 miles to drive, about 4 traffic lights and 2 stop signs to maneuver. I can't tell you how many times I stalled her little car, how many times I nearly gave myself whiplash by jerking it as I started to move in first gear.....how many cars were lined up behind me with drivers chewing on their steering wheels. I was humiliated and embarrassed and was yelled at and honked at by so many irate drivers that its a wonder it didn't go down in the annals of history. There were fists being waved out car windows as well as obscenities turning the air blue. I truly expected to see hundreds of villagers with torches and pitchforks following in my wake. If I could have thrown on a red wig and sunglasses to disguise myself I would have. It was that bad.
I figured out that once I got out of first gear I didn't do a bad job so I did everything possible to not EVER go into first gear if I could possibly help it. If I didn't have to stop, then I didn't have to go into first gear. Worked for ME. After aging 10 years I got to my apartment, washed that skirt and got the ink out. I dried it, ironed it and took it back to her. I wasn't quite as bad on the trip back but I still managed to jerk and stall that poor little car several times. She was so happy about her skirt and hugged me and thanked me over and over. I just kept thinking to myself....I hope that transmission doesn't fall out on her way home tonight. Did I ever tell her that I didn't really know how to drive a stick shift? Yeah.....SURE I did. Just like I told her that I stalled that little car of hers about a hundred times.
So basically I learned how to drive a stick shift the hard way. I can drive one alright now if I have to but I don't like to.....and I still will do everything in my power to stay OUT of first gear.
Oh yeah.....and I never told my husband about my experience either. The way I figure it....if he would have been a better teacher.........I'm just sayin'