The husband smushed one of our cars a couple of weeks ago; he got rear-ended on the interstate (he's fine, thanks). The owner of the body shop where it was towed informed us the chances of its being totaled were about 60/40 (60% totalable). The insurance adjuster traveled to have a look at the car at the body shop and didn't even break out a pen. Totaled, she concluded without a blink.
Skip ahead to two days ago, when we brought a new car home. I insisted I wanted a stick-shift; they're more fun to drive and, with the 13-year-old being, well, 13, I advocated that he should learn how to drive a manual transmission (after he obtains a driver's license, of course...). Golly - everyone should know how to drive a stick shift, just in case.
I didn't realize it was a 6-speed until I parked it in the garage for the first time; in all previous parkings the new car had enjoyed a spot on the uphill driveway, parking brake duly applied. The major difference, then, between the driveway and the garage is the presence or absence of a hill.
The 13-year-old and I piled into the new car in the garage, all psyched to attend his orthodontist appointment. Next I needed to back out of the garage. Hmmm. I didn't know how to get the car into reverse. In a 5-speed it's right, right, down; however, right, right down in this car is 6th gear. The little handy diagram on the shift lever pictured the telling "R" symbol as left, left, up.
"Ooookie dokie," I assured the 13-year-old, aka natural-born worrywart. I depressed the clutch and shoved the shift knob left, left, up. The car inched ever so slowly forward; the car was in first gear.
"No problem!" I reassured the 13-year-old, who was growing more anxious. "Let's try that again!" Left, LEFT, up. A few more inches forward (did I mention the garage is not cavernous?)
Being resourceful, I decided to check the owner's manual, a fabulous idea thwarted by the manual's unfortunate location in the husband's car at work 38 miles to the south of us. Digging even deeper into my resources, I phoned said husband with the first-hand knowledge that he had successfully put the car in reverse the previous day. Voice mail.
"Hmmmm," I mumbled, not so reassuringly to the 13-year-old, who was now aging rapidly from stress. I tried left, left, up again, stumped. Reverse still eluded us.
"Want me to get out and tell you how much room you have?" the kind and helpful 13-year-old offered.
"Uh-huh," I accepted, thinking what a brilliant idea it was.
He held his hands less than a foot apart from each other in the air, then plopped into the passenger seat next to me.
"Okay," I decided, "get out and push."
"Lol," he laughed. I mean he literally laughed; he didn't say "L oh L."
"No, seriously," I said.
"I can't push a car," he argued.
"Sure you can!" I encouraged, "you'll be surprised how easy it is!"
Now alarmed on so many levels, the 13-year-old dubiously exited the new vehicle and planted himself at the front of the car. He began to push. Sure enough, the car moved. The 13-year-old was floored. He pushed some more. The car moved some more... and more... until it was safely on the driveway hill and began to roll gently backwards in neutral.
The 13-year-old's eyes popped, having temporarily forgotten that I had use of a brake.
We proceeded to the orthodontist's office, cautious to park on an uphill slant...