Back in the dawn of 2011, I set a goal of finally learning to drive stick as my new year’s resolution, since it’s the last tangible barrier standing between me and the mental image I have of what a fully-functioning adult looks and acts like. In retrospect, I could have made thing easier on myself by setting a resolution of… oh, I dunno… moving to Berlin and getting in a car wreck on the way as a suitably challenging goal and I’d conveniently be off the hook right now. But since I’m stuck with trying to learn stick, I figured I might as well take a bite out of it during my San Francisco trip, since I’m running out of 2011 and all.
So, today was the big lesson. We started in the parking lot of the Stonestown Shopping Center— which required me to take MUNI for the first time in 500 years to get there— and then wound up cruising around The So-Called Great Highway and whatnot. Now, when you’re 38 years old and writing in your blog about learning stick shift, there’s really nothing to feel good about, so don’t get the wrong idea— but I can truthfully say that I only stalled a few brief times and genuinely felt that I got the gist of it. It was basically like driving and operating a sewing loom at the same time. Which is of course something I have extensive experience with. I just closed my eyes and pretended I was looming.
I have to mention that my teacher, Derrick of Apex Driving School, was literally the best teacher I think I’ve ever had in any context. This guy was born to drive, teach and be superhumanly patient all at the same time. If there are any readers who need to learn to drive stick, I can’t recommend this guy enough.
So: progress made; humiliating sensations of futility waning somewhat. There are many future lessons that await me when I get back to Berlin before I can confidently chauffeur my son around on the Autobahn. But I feel like there’s hope of closing the books on this one before 2011 ends.