Monday, 6 December 2010

Jess, Tess, And The Stick

Have any of you ever tried to teach a teenager to drive a stick? Take some advice from me. Don’t. It’s not pretty. Believe me. Jess is nineteen. Just like every other teenager on the planet she thinks she knows everything. And when you tell her that, she simply says, “Well, yeah I do.”

I don’t like arguing with Jess. Not just because I don’t want to argue, but because she is loud and WILL NOT shut the eff up. You can prove she is wrong and still she’ll be right. She will flat out deny she is EVER wrong. Wonder where she got that? (Don’t answer that.)

So Jess got it in her head she wanted a Mustang. That was okay. I could handle that. She found one in her price range and subsequently fell in love—with the color first, of course. The salesman asked, “Do you know how to drive a stick?” To which Jess replied, “What’s a stick?” He then turned to me and I said, “Yes.” I should have kept it a secret because that’s about where the argument began.

So I told Jess that she should look at other cars on the lot.

The beginning to my end. No salvation in sight. Her mouth started moving at 90 mph. And I tried to keep up my end of the argument. I could have saved all those words and all that stress and just given in right there on the spot and been home an hour earlier. No, we didn’t exactly argue for an entire hour, but instead, looked at other cars on the lot—while Jess’ bottom lip sagged all the way to the ground, of course, and the argument continued.

“If you learned how to drive a stick, what makes you think I can’t?”

Well, I have to admit that was a good question because it took all the fight out of my FINAL NO. I really wasn’t ready for it. I was tired, had other things on my mind, and wanted her to buy a freaking HONDA!

“You wouldn’t let me go to race car driving school,” she said. “So why not at least let me enjoy driving a stick?” (Yeah, race car driving school---but that’s a whole other blog, and I’m sooo not going there today.)

“Jess, you have issues with driving that simply tell me you’re not ready for anything more than a four-cylinder car and no stick at all.” That was kind of stupid of me to say, wasn’t it? Just opened up the door, didn’t I?

“Issues? I’m a good driver. What’re you talking about?” Hand on hip, nose screwed up into her eyebrows.

The salesman backed up.

“You have this thing about your middle finger and other drivers.” Yeah, I was in the thick of it now.

“When somebody cuts me off I shoot them the bird.”

“And when someone turns right when you think they should have turned left. When someone drives the speed limit in front of you and you want to drive over the speed limit. And when someone brakes in front of you, forcing you to brake and…”

“I’m a good driver.”

“You have road rage. Your frontal lobe is not fully developed—won’t be until you’re in your mid-twenties and that is a scientific fact.”

“I. DO. NOT. HAVE. ROAD. RAGE.” Face now purple, steam coming out of her ears.

Salesman excused himself to make a phone call—but I could see him standing in the window watching us. To make a long story short, Jess got the Mustang. I wrote my congressman the next day informing him as to why I thought “legal” age should be raised to 35. Yep, she played the I’m-An-Adult card with me. Marched her skinny ass right into the dealership and informed the salesman she was getting the ‘Stang.

But I had the last laugh—at least for a while—because she couldn’t get the damn car out of the dealership lot. SHE COULDN’T DRIVE A STICK! So I got to drive it the forty-five minutes home as she drove my sensible car. AND SHE WAS FUMING. Thought she could be taught to drive a stick just like that. Even the salesman laughed at her.

So we get home and I am inside the house for five minutes and she’s standing there, dangling the 'Stang keys, looking at me doing this number: “Can we go now, can we, huh, can we go?”

“Go where?”

“You promised you’d teach me how to drive it. “

“Oh. That. Well, yeah, some time.”


“Honey, I’m a bit tired, I-“

“You promised. What am I supposed to do just let the car sit?”

Okay, so off we went. I let her drive right out of the yard, jerking-stalling-jerking-stalling-jerking-stalling, etc. etc. etc. We get to the end of the driveway and it’s time to get out ON the actual road and I’m looking up and down the road waiting until there is NO traffic in sight so she can try. Okay, so off we went…jerking-stalling-jerking-stalling-jerking-stalling, etc. etc. etc.

So we finally get out of first and into second—sighhhh—and I have her turn off on a side road which took us to yet another side road which took us to yet another side road which took us down a country road which took us down a back road which landed us on the outer limits of civilization where I thought we might just be safe. I had her stop in the middle of the road about twenty-five or thirty times to practice letting off the clutch. Once she’d mastered that, I then had her stop at the bottom of a hill and try to get up it while letting off the clutch. OH LORD. That was a horrible experience. She ranted and raved and swore like a sailor. Finally, she was able to do it and did it several times. So we drove around for a while then went back home. A total of two hours in driving lessons—so far.

About an hour later she announces she’s going into town. Well, I was on the computer and busy and only half-listening. But thankfully, her announcement made it into my actual consciousness and I jumped from my chair.

“You’re not ready to drive in traffic,” I said.

“What do you mean? You just got through teaching me. What did you leave out?”

“I didn’t leave out anything, really. But managing a stick while in heavy traffic is a lot different than on a deserted stretch of road, hon.”

So we’re about to cross into the city limits (There really was no need to transition to this part of the story, was there? It was obvious I’d be heading into town, wasn’t it?) and I start frantically talking to her about how she can’t forget to push in the clutch when she brakes. And she’s asking me this and that and her biggest question is always WHY. Why? Because that’s the freaking way it’s done---that’s WHY!

I have her turn on a side street—busy but not as busy as the four lanes of traffic on the other road through town. But eventually, just like the chicken, we did have to cross that road. We get to THE stoplight—and no, I don’t mean there is only one stoplight in our town, lol, but this particular stoplight is the busiest, hardest, fastest, most screwed up light in town because the timing is off on it and traffic at that intersection is beyond crazy and because the traffic patterns can be so dangerous.

Whoa…why in the hell did I let her pull up to THIS stoplight. Okay, so the light turns green and…she stalls. I say, “That’s okay, take your time, push in the clutch and start it again. Let out slowly. You’ll feel the pull and then pop it!” STALL. STALL. STALL. TEARS, SCREAMING.


I was left sitting in the ‘STANG—on the freaking passenger side, of course. Traffic is backed up, horns are blowing. She’s over in the Wal-Green parking lot with her hands over her face. I get out of the car, put a big big big smile on my face, toss my hands up in the air and shrug to any of those MAD-AS-HELL drivers who are planning on mowing me down—and round the car to jump into the driver’s seat. At which time I start the car, finish waiting on the light that had turned red, of course, and then roll on out and across the street so I could turn around in the MacDonald’s parking lot just to get back to the stoplight so I could—like the chicken—cross the road to pick up the CRAZY CHICK WHO JUST JUMPED OUT OF HER OWN CAR AND RAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The child gets into the car, snotty nose, tears literally leaping from her eyes like they do in cartoons and she’s screaming to the top of her lungs, “I’LL NEVER DRIVE THIS CAR AGAIN. JUST TAKE IT BACK. TAKE IT BACK!”

So I drive to the old abandoned K-Mart parking lot/building area, get out and get her at the wheel again. She drives from one end to the other changing gears, going up inclines, really getting the hang of it and more comfortable with the whole shifting thing. Before we go back home, I let her drive up to that same intersection where she begins to cry again and THIS TIME, I yelled at her.

I said—“WOMAN UP!” She got through the stoplight and grinned like a fool. So we then ride all over town and she’s just as happy as a clam. So, with three more hours invested in all of this we return home. Her dad is there waiting to see her car and the two of them take off. I go inside and have a glass of wine.

In they walk about thirty minutes later and her father announces, “I think she’s got the hang of it. Didn’t take that long to teach her either. I thought it would, but she caught on pretty quick.”

I got up from my chair, walked into the kitchen, set my glass on the counter and grabbed the wine bottle from the fridge. Who needs a freaking glass?


Also posting this week will be male erotic romance author, Brindle Chase, who is going to let all us women ask him about men. Yep--that should be a real eye-opening post.

And Lucy Felthouse joins us to share a new anthology she edited and a nice little rant about taxes, too.

So keep checking back in with Four Strong Women all week. It's shaping up to be pretty interesting to say the least.


Lisa Alexander Griffin said...

Oh, Tess. I don't envy you the driving lessons. We tried to teach Shannon to drive a stick. Last straw was...when she half jumped a stump in the yard. (yeah, we'd cut a few trees) The drivers side front wheel was balanced on the stump, the other on the ground. After that, she learned on her own. My nerves couldn't take it anymore. I'm surprised she lived through learning.

Anny Cook said...

*Snicker* Well, hon. I learned to drive a stick when I was...35?

My dad offered me a car is I would come and get it. In Texas. I lived in New York.

I flew down there. Spent three days learning to drive the damn thing. And drove it home with three kids in the back seat.

I can safely say I KNEW how to drive stick by the time I arrived home!

Congrats, Momma!

Tess MacKall said...

LMAO, Lisa. Lord that sounds painful. I know my experience was horrible. I've never heard such sounds coming out of another human's mouth before. Worse than any banshee scream in any paranormal movie.

I left out the part where she almost drove us into a lake. sighhhh

Tess MacKall said...

Well, thank God your frontal lobe was fully developed by then. LOL

And hell yeah, high five for Momma!

Faith said...

LMAO! This is such an awesome post, Tess! I enjoyed it so much.

Love this: "She will flat out deny she is EVER wrong. Wonder where she got that? (Don’t answer that.)"

Anthology Authors said...

HAHAHAHA Tess, you have a lot more patience than my father. I learned to drive stick at 16. My first car was a stick. A Chevy Luv to be precise. We got into the car. He told me to watch what he was doing. He drove me into town and drove around the block a couple of times. He stopped in the parking lot at a restaurant, got out and said, "See you when we get home." (He was meeting my mother for lunch.) End of lesson. Fortunately, it was a small town. I'm not sure the number of times I stalled that truck in town, but by the time I got home, I could drive a stick.

Anthology Authors said...

BTW, had I yelled at my father, I never would have made it home. (g) I'd be one dead muchacho. LOL

Sarah Masters said...

That sounded a completely painful experience and...Bro thought he'd taught her! OMG!


Anonymous said...

You're going to need more wine.


Tess MacKall said...

Well, at least you didn't answer that, Faith. lol

Tess MacKall said...

Hey, Marci. My dad left me sitting in the car at the dealership. I didn't even know the car was a stick until after he left and I couldn't find drive. I flagged down the salesman and basically said: wtf? lol

He said, "uhhh, you've never driven a stick?"

Oh, it was a rough ride home, but I made it!

And if I'd yelled at my dad I'd have been dog meat. lol

Tess MacKall said...

After my third glass of wine, Sarah, bro got set straight too.

Tess MacKall said...

LOL Casey. It was a gallon jug. LOL

Cassie Exline said...

First right off, let me admit, I'm Jess, except I never learned to drive a stick. Nope never and I walked home I was so mad at my father. And no I didn't yell at him either, I just cried. lol

Years later, hubby tried to teach me and he's lucky he's still alive. Nobody talks to me like that, I was trying. Not my fault we sat through that light so many times.

It says "Thou shall not kill thy father," but I didn't see one damn word about husbands.

I'm very proud of Jess and you. You're a sweetheart, Tess.

Tess MacKall said...

OMG...that's hilarious, Cassie. You poor thing. You never learned to drive a stick.

I started out patient. I really did. But when she started screaming like a banshee, I just sort of lost it. lol

I'll never forget getting out at that stoplight to get to the other side of the car and her standing in that parking lot hiding her face. Why didn't I just make the cars wait and snap her picture with my cell phone? LOL

Cassie Exline said...

That cell phone pic of her in the parking lot -- priceless.

Tess MacKall said...

It would have been. I miss so many pics because I forget about using my cell phone camera. Don't know why I can't remember---although in the mess I was in that day, horns honking, kid crying, traffic about to run me down...I think I have that memory lapse excused. LMAOOOOOOO

Molly Daniels said...

LOL:) I'm sorry; your description brought back flashbacks of my son yelling 'WHY' at me the entire time he took algebra....

AND the argument over whether or not we could have domesticated rats (he got me when he reminded me I had hamsters as pets...note to self, do NOT disclose EVERYTHING about childhood...)

And I don't know if he can drive a stick shift or not. I'll let Grandpa or his dad handle that one!

Lisa Alexander Griffin said...

lol @ banshee scream. I can only imagine, and your expression had to be priceless. ;) You need to tell us about the lake episode too.

No, trying to teach Shannon was pure torment. If I hadn't stopped trying to teach her I would have been in the looney bin. Probably will be after Morgan. big sigh...

I have two more years until driver's permit time. :(

Tess MacKall said...

Oh God...yep, just like Algebra, Molly. Only worse, the stick could get us killed. lol

I've got one that will be driving in about a year and a half. I flat out told him I would not teach him to drive a stick. To which he replied, "you don't need to. I already know how." HUH??? So I asked him how the hell he knew how to drive a stick.

He said that he understood the system itself and the principle behind it all and could handle it. And you know what? I believe him. He'll be the kind who just gets in the car, shifts into gear--grinding a few times before he gets the feel of it--and off he'll go. My kind of kid. lol

YEAH...let grandpa teach him. lol

Tess MacKall said...

I dread it for you, Lisa. I'm just hoping that C lives up to his theory he can drive a stick and no one will need to teach him.

And the lake? We were out on the main highway--busy busy busy highway---needed to turn left. Well, this particular street she needed to turn on is a dam basically and on either side there is water. So she eased up on the main highway too far while waiting on traffic to pass so she could turn and whoaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa missed the damn street and ended up on the side of the road. If I hadn't grabbed the steering wheel and turned it fast, we would have headed down the embankment to the lake and had a nice big drink. Oh, I also got out there and got in the driver's seat too. I couldn't take another second.

Debbie Gould said...

I was in tears and near panic level the first time I rode with my daughter, and that wasn't even a stick, lol.
Leave it to Bro to think he taught her.

Tess MacKall said...

That's bro...and you know how he is, Deb. lol Hey, guess what? My furnace is out and I've been waiting on the repairman for over twenty four hours now.

Debbie Gould said...

My luck just kinda flows over to you. At least you're not in VT, it was 24 degrees this am.
Call him up and tell him you need warmth NOW! Maybe he'll be a silver fox!!

Tess MacKall said...

oh honey, it was 22 here last night. I have four space heaters running and I'm still cold.

Lisa Alexander Griffin said...

Stay warm, Tess. It was 21 here last night. Our heat works fine and it's still cold. I can only imagine what it's like with just space heaters. Brr!!! Hope the repairman comes soon.

Debbie Gould said... least we have a woodstove. I love wood heat.

And get your mind out of the gutter!

Tess MacKall said...

Well, the repairman came. Need a new part. Will be two more days while we wait on deliver--of course they don't have it in stock--why would I ever think of such a crazy thing?

brrrrrrrrrrr...bro just went to Lowe's to buy another heater. lol

And Deb...what makes you think my mind would be in the gutter???? LOL

Janice said...

Poor you. That sounded really rough.

I have the same lessons coming up with my daughter when her car arrives. *sigh*