Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Getting There

Monday I went to the Draper Temple parking lot--which is really big and totally empty on Mondays--and Mags and I zoomed around for close to an hour. (That's what I've been calling her, now that we're on a less formal basis.) I imagined intersections, semis, traffic jams with stop and go traffic; and got pretty darn good, if I say so myself. But then, imaginary fears are never quite as effective as the real thing.

So Tuesday I gathered up all my courage and headed off with good 'ol Mags to the hospital in Murray, about a 20 mile drive. I got onto the freeway without a hitch and traveled along writing the rough draft to this blog entry in my head, how I'd say that I didn't have so much as a shoulder shrug, let alone a shake fist, pointed in my direction for the entire trip.

But then I get to the hospital, and there's a guy in the toll booth in the parking lot. I've been going to the hospital almost daily for about six months and there's never been a guy in the toll booth. But this time there was, and he waved me down to stop, which took me totally by surprise. He asks me if I'm a guest. And I'm wondering if he means guest in the way that restaurants call their customer's guests? Like, "Here, let's roll you inside this big tube and fill you full of radioactive material! But don't think of yourself as a patient, think of yourself as OUR GUEST!!!"

Or maybe he means a guest like someone who is there to visit a patient? The only thing I know for sure is that I'm not an employee. Maybe that's what he wants to know. Maybe he's just trying to make sure the employees go wherever they're supposed to. So I say, "I'm a patient?" (As if he can't tell, with the hairdo and all.)

That seems to satisfy him, and he waves me on, turning his attention to the car behind me. But I'm so distracted that I forget about Mags and her needs. And when I try to go on my way she promptly dies. Start, die. Start, die.

By this time there are a couple of cars behind me. Panic sets in.

The guy looks back at me and says, "You might want to try putting it into first gear."

I laugh, the nervous kind of laugh you do when you feel stupid. "Oh yeah, that's a good idea," I say. Silly Mags, so full of needs.

Then last night I took Brandon to the library. As he climbed into the backseat he told me he was kind of scared. I told him there was no reason to be scared. Embarrassed maybe, but not scared. When we got home he informed me that I was much improved. "All you have to work on now," he says, "is the clutch."

You here that Mags? That's all we need to do. Work on the clutch. I'm glad he cleared that up.


Sierra Snow Soaps said...

I am so glad you are doing better with the stick shift. It does get better and I would not drive anything else, it gives you so much more control. We bought my 16 year old daughter a stick shift, once you learn how you can drive anything.
And....Mags is adorable! I love her color. My sis has had one for a couple of years and you are right, there is a ton of room inside. Enjoy.
(I know it is not good to do all the time, but on a really steep hill, like San Francisco steep, I have used the parking brake. I put it on then as I ref up the engine a little and let out the clutch a little I can use my hand to let the brake off a little. It is not the best solution but it keeps you from going backwards until you get better)
Michelle in NV

Kimi said...

I had no idea you'd become my hero again so soon! Learning to drive a stick at your....senescent....age (I chose that word as a disguise, hoping few would know the definition) is truly heroic! You're just on a roll! What's next?

Suzanne Reese said...

Thanks for the tips. I tried the hand brake thing, but that just added one more thing for my rattled brain to think about. I think I've got the hill thing - but the thought of visiting San Francisco? Yikes, I'd have to take the trolly!

And speaking of San Fran - Keems - wasn't that good times? Remember when I had the panic attack going across the Bay Bridge? And I wasn't even driving a stick? Yeah, loved it. Anyway, hero, schmero. As soon as I take over the world I'll get back to you. =)