I’ve discovered that for the next semester I’ve got a new job – Mom’s Taxi. Curly, my youngest son, starts his co-op placement today at the funeral home, and he’s trying to hold down his part time job at the grocery store. This week, he’s supposed to be at the grocery store within a half hour of finishing at the funeral home. He’s talked to his boss about starting later at the grocery store so hopefully in future weeks he can take a bus (if we can figure out which one he’d take). But even so, it looks like I’m going to be pressed into service since the local transit can take 90 minutes to get somewhere that would take me 10 minutes to drive.

He’s 18, and he has a learner’s permit to drive, but we only have standard transmission cars — and that’s giving him major problems as he cannot seem to get the hang of getting the revs of the engine to a point where he can release the clutch so the car goes into a forward momentum.

I learned to drive a standard after I’d had my driver’s license three years. AND it was before Sunday shopping was allowed, so Gizmo Guy took me into an empty parking lot where I could practice until I got the hang of shifting. (Poor Gizmo Guy was handed the keys to a company car in downtown Ottawa and told “here you go.”  Talk about trial by fire, poor guy.) But nowadays there are no empty lots around here – the malls are all busy, as is the college, and the factories that have closed down have had their parking lots blocked off (probably to prevent vandalism).

Any readers in Europe have any suggestions of how I can help him? Because I’m stymied. It would make things so much easier if he got his license. (Of course, even if he could drive the stick, he’d have to wait to get his license since the people who are responsible for the licensing and testing have been on strike for nearly a month, with no end in sight.)

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Don’t forget to check Maya Bank’s WriteMinded blog several times a day as her eBook Extravaganza is going on all week.  There are four draws a day, so you do have to keep going back to comment if you want to be entered.

Driving Stick
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4 thoughts on “Driving Stick

  • September 15, 2009 at 9:05 am

    What is traffic like in the middle of the night where you are? LOL. I'm in California, in a dense part, and I learned how to drive a stick at about 3 in the morning because there was barely any traffic. If I stalled out… no one was around to blare their horn or get testy. Of course I broke into sweats when we hit hills. Going up, not coming down. The friend who taught me took me to this place called Signal Hill (steep) and forced me to keep driving up it and stopping,taking off, showing me how to not roll back. It was pure hell but a few hours into it… (his clutch survived but I don't know how…) I had it mastered. LOL.

    He taught me the how/when on the clutch/shifting time by driving me around (me in the passenger seat) with my eyes closed so I could 'feel' when I needed to change gears. We made a game out of it and I learned how to 'feel' when I needed to shift gears so maybe that will work with your son.

    Good luck. I'm soooo happy to own an automatic now. LOL! I don't miss my shifting days.

  • September 15, 2009 at 9:12 am

    Ontario drivers' licenses are graduated. So ppl with learner's permits and new drivers are not allowed to drive between 12 a.m. and 5 a.m. nor are they allowed to drive on the 400 series highways. (too many young people were partying and getting killed in multiple fatality accidents which is what prompted the changes.)

    My dad did the same thing for me as your friend did – forcing me to learn on a hill like that. I'm worried about my clutch surviving though – I guess I'm going to have to grit my teeth and sacrifice the clutch. And like you, I never need to look at the tachometer, I "hear/feel" the engine and know when I need to change gears. I like the game your dad played – I'll have to try that with him.

    I prefer an automatic, but I have to admit that when the roads are slick with ice and snow in the winter, I do like having the option of gearing down to slow the car rather than hitting the brakes and sliding. But in town or on highways in rush hour *head/steering wheel* not so much fun.

  • September 15, 2009 at 11:13 am

    I learned to drive stick on my honeymoon! My husband decided to pass a kidney stone and I had to rush him to the hospital. It wasn't pretty, I was terrified because I'd never driven his truck, we were in a strange city and he was really sick.
    After we got home my husband's best friend took me out and taught me to drive a stick. We practiced in parking lots and he also made me drive it on a hill!

    Good Luck to your son!!

  • September 16, 2009 at 2:18 am

    I feel your pain. I spent a good part of last night creating a spreadsheet schedule for my daughter so that she could attempt to convince her co-op teachers to be a little more flexible with when she works so that she can also fit in her many extracurricular activities. She's supposed to work three hours a day but theres only 2 hrs and 35 mins between the end of lunch and the end of school and she has choir practices at lunch and after school and is supposed to travel back and forth and do co-op between those times!

    See you tonight at book club! BTW, thanks for the tip on the Book Depository – I've gotten great deals on some Larissa Ione books and I just got an e-mail that J.R. Ward's new book Covet is on its way!!!

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