Thinking back on little anecdotes of my life brings to light the interesting fact that I will throw myself into something that terrifies me…never want to do it again, but then push myself through until I’m no longer scared. One of those times was when I was a couple weeks away from moving to Chicago and I had no vehicle at the time, but I needed one (to commute home on the weekends duh) and a friend offered to sell me their 1994 Geo Metro for $200. Great! The trick is that it was a manual transmission and I had no clue how to drive a stick, but my friend knew that and said I could drive it for a week and try it out.
So after he left me with his keys (and trust) I immediately went out to my apartment parking lot and started the car (successfully) and then tried to back out of the parking space (unsuccessfully) several times. That was until my kind neighbor (whom I shared cable with and later gave all my ice cream stash to when I moved) yelled down to me asking if I needed help learning stick (or something to that affect). Of course I graciously accepted and so began the 30 minutes of hell (for the both of us) in which he taught me how to drive a manual in rush hour traffic in the city. He had prefaced our lesson with that he had taught over 20 people how to drive stick so he was used to this sort of thing. Which I’m guessing he was referring to the nerve wracking inexperience, but I don’t know that he was quite prepared for me. Hence why the lesson lasted all of 30 minutes, but he taught me the basics.
When I got back into my apartment I immediately called my mother crying to her that there was no way I’d ever get in that car again. I just didn’t want to drive a stick. I was truly terrified, but when I woke up the next day I told myself “if I can get it out of the parking lot successfully I will drive it to work”. Because my desire to not ride the bus was greater then my terror of driving a manual vehicle. It was a sweaty ride and I nearly had a panic attack when I was stuck at a stoplight on a hill only a quarter mile from where I worked, but I made it! I drove that thing to Chicago and back (for the whole month I lived there and the couple months after I had moved back in with my parents) till it finally died because funny thing about oil leaks and not checking your oil enough…it kills the engine.
Why would I think of that story now? Well I’m currently in the running to be a rural route driver for a mail delivery service and you have to be able to drive on the right side of the vehicle (in a not so normal way) and the idea terrifies me a little. But my desire for a job I’d be happy to retire from and also support my family with trumps my terror of this new thing that I will have to learn. I can do this!