Writing left handed

Driving in Circles

IKEA flags at the store in Pittsburgh, Pennsyl...

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You’re going to have to accept my apologies for today’s post.  It was going to be all about my triumphant return to Match.com (which, in truth, hasn’t been so triumphant after all) but then my brother came to visit and I was forced to spend the majority of my evening driving around in circles behind the Ikea on Columbus Boulevard.

Why?  Well, my brother does love DIY furniture (we’ve gone the last two times he’s come to visit; if I had a therapist he or she would probably tell me that I need to stop trying to redecorate my brother’s apartment and find myself an eligible bachelor with a pad of his own—one to whom I’m not related—in which to indulge my Extreme Home Makeover tendencies) but that wasn’t why we went to Ikea.

We went to Ikea because my dad got a new car.  And because my dad refuses to embrace modern technology (Facebook, Twitter, Netflix-on-Demand, etc.) he couldn’t buy a car with an automatic transmission.  Oh no.  He had to buy a stick shift.

Guess who doesn’t know how to drive a stick shift?

That would be me.

There were tears involved— before we even left the house.  My parents are under the impression that “encouraging” comments like, “Come on, Kat.  Even your grandmother can drive stick” should give me the necessary confidence to go zipping around the Ikea parking lot (and, presumably, other places at some point in time) but here’s where they’re wrong.

Comments like “Come on, Kat.  Even your grandmother can drive stick” reduce me to weepy mess of runny mascara, which is why I’ve been avoiding learning to drive stick ever since my dad first tried to teach me when I was sixteen.

(There were tears involved then too.)

I won’t drive with my dad anymore, and I’m not even all that keen on driving with my mom.  My brother is the one and only creature on the face of this earth with whom I will even attempt to establish the difference between my clutch and my break.

And so it was that I was press-ganged into spending valuable blogging time driving laps around the Ikea parking lot (during which I stalled the car—no joke—at least two dozen times).  I could mention that my mom spent the entire afternoon glue gunning sequins onto costumes for my students (who have their first competition coming up next weekend) and that my inability to drive stick wouldn’t matter if my dad wasn’t forcing me to borrow his car but that would defeat the purpose of complaining, now wouldn’t it?

I’d rather just be angry (and remind you that tomorrow I’ll be unveiling the new and improved “After I Quit My Day Job” so get ready!)

11 Responses to “Driving in Circles”

  1. chauffeur

    Wow, sometimes your Dad seems so insiteful, today he seems mean. But being able to drive a stick is a valuable life skill to have. At least in other countries. Most rentals in Europe are manuals. SO it would be wise to get the stick part down now…. that way you can deal with the other side of the road when in the UK, already confident in your ability to drive a stick 😉

  2. Jill

    besides which driving a stick is WAY more fun and gives you more control in the snow. My dad tried to teach me, too, and I stalled it on an uphill when the light turned green (no parking lots for him — too boring) and the guy behind us leaned on the horn and I got out and refused to drive any further. Or ever again. My husband taught me, 10 years later, on the new car we’d just bought. That only one of us could drive. Sometime during the teaching I knew we’d be able to survive anything, and I’d always be able to find my way through the back roads of his hometown. He didn’t believe in parking lots, either. Hang in there.

  3. Landlord

    Yep, the first hill will scare you as I’m sure you are already anticipating, but once you get it, driving stick is way more fun–and much easier to control in bad weather as Jill mentions, and it really is easy once you get the hang of it. Keep at it, and “breathe”…

  4. Kim Clist

    I learned on a stick, and I really thought the tears would never end. Or that my mother would kill me. It was a toss up. After a day of blubbering, my mom YELLED at me to TAKE MY DAMN SHOES OFF!!!! and FEEL the peddles. I understand your love for strappy heels, but trust me, it will make a difference.
    Good luck Kat, you’ll love a stick once you get the hang of it.

  5. rockerlifecoach

    Sorry you cant drive stick. I am glad that my daughter learned with out my teaching. Your dad should not be mean about it. I am sure there are things your gifted at that even he cant do.
    Like reading your blog.

    • Kat Richter

      Haha, thanks Tim. It’s not that my dad is mean, he’s just not the most patient teacher. (Fortunately, my brother does not take after him in this respect.) Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Sarah

    Hang in there, Kat! When I started learning stick, everyone told me that once I got the hang of it, it will feel like I’ve always known how to do it. And I found that to be totally true! Now I am trying to teach my husband, and he is skeptical. He’s killed my car a few dozen times and is afraid to drive anywhere there might be other cars. It’s tough to learn, but imagine the accomplishment you will feel when you and that car finally come to an understanding! 🙂

  7. mynakedbokkie

    In South Africa we dont really have a choice…. or at least i thought not. HOwever, my sister and my mother never learned to drive a manual car. It has proven to be a huge problem, especially when something is wrong with their own cars. There are not that many automatics out there, and when purchasing a car- they seem to be so much more expensive. My sister can never suddenly become the dedicated driver, unless they are in her car….. It is a skill that you should acquire, and one that does take time. But you will be grateful, especially if you spend much time hiring cars in other countries!

  8. becky119

    The only requirement that I had when I went to buy my first call was that it had a manual transmission because I wanted to learn how to drive stick. My favorite memory would be when I thought that I had it down and took my little sister for a ride. (She was 9ish?) and we went up this really steep hill in Doylestown and I stalled. And I turned on the car and I stalled again. And again. And at this point, not only are the cars behind me honking their horns, but precious little sister is helping everything by pointing out “Becky, why don’t you just drive?” Ahh, young ones. At least she proved to be a worse driver than me when she drove through my parents garage door BEFORE she even had her license!!


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