Monday, April 20, 2009

A special lunchtime treat

Well today was another "first". I drove a manual transmission car for the first time since getting my store-bought leg.

I used to drive sticks almost exclusively, everything from small cars to large trucks, both civilian commercial and military. I preferred stick shifts but as luck would have it, back when I got hurt I actually owned a vehicle with an automatic transmission, only the second such vehicle I'd ever owned in my life. So at least I didn't have to deal with clutches right out of the gate. I'd always meant to get reacquainted with one, but I hadn't gotten around to it yet. Until today.

I took Nicki to lunch today, and since she didn't know downtown Washington DC traffic very well, she asked me if I wouldn't mind driving. Now being a guy, how could I refuse? It's just a guy thing that we gotta drive. But it wasn't until I'd agreed to do so and went to get in the car that I realized that not only was her car one of those little Toyotas (I'm an American car guy all the way), it was also a stick shift.

Well being a guy, I couldn't really back down. I'd said I'd drive, and the more I thought about it, the more I became confident that I could pull this off. And it's not like it was my car, so what the heck...

It took a few practice shifts to get the hang of where the clutch pedal was since I couldn't actually feel it anymore, but it seemed fairly straightforward. Granted, I did miss the clutch once and hit the brake instead, bringing the car to an abrupt stop in the middle of the road, but there was harm to us. The people on the tour bus right behind us probably weren't too happy when their driver locked up his brakes to avoid drop-kicking the Toyota, but life's full of surprises. Welcome to DC, tourists.

But I quickly got it down well enough to drive in traffic, and other then a tendency to ride the clutch if I don't remind myself to take my foot off the pedal, it went well. Much fun, and I got to take Nicki to my favorite Chinese restaurant, The Magic Gourd. (Best General Tso's Chicken I've ever found.)

All in all, it was a good day despite the rain. The food was great and so was the company. Nicki did seem to have a little trouble with some ice at the restaurant, but I won't go there. (Heh!) And afterwards, as a bonus, the rain stopped long enough to let me grab a nice little run around the Tidal Basin and Hains Point while I was down there. Sometimes life's just nice.


  1. Anonymous8:47 PM

    Congratulations to YOU!!!!!!!!!!! I know you are without a paw, I am not sure of the circumstances. But, I know one step is step in the right direction to healing and emotional help. Gives you a hug.

  2. It's a Nissan, darling, not a Toyota. :-D And no, it's not the same thing!

    As for the ice... just remember, two can play that game! :-p

  3. Isn't it a great feeling when you are put into a situation where you 'have' to do something that you're not so sure about and then come out on top!? Congrats on this 'first'!!

  4. Oh what a sweet story. Sounds like you two are hitting if just off fine and dandy. that's *your* side of things...I can't wait to hear "Nicki's" version of the trip to DC. ;-)

  5. Nissan, Toyota, Arisaka...whatever. There was a time once when I wouldn't ever have ridden in one. But even national pride has to give way to disgust at over-paid, ignorant and greedy union workers--most of whom vote Democrat and in doing so caused and continue to cause great harm to this country.

    Oh--and regarding the ice... I ain't skeered of you.

    And to Just me, there's never any doubt that I'm going to triumph in any situation. Sometimes it's not clear how, but it's going to happen.

    Cpdc, it was work-related a few years ago. And to say that the bastards were ungrateful and less than supportive after the fact wouldn't be any exaggeration. But life goes on.

    Laura, Nicki's version will probably be much like my own, only with a few more curse words thrown in. ;-)

  6. Now, now, Superman... don't be hatin' on the Nissan. Just because its battery doesn't go all wonky on a hot date... ;-)

    Laura - yes, my version of events is much the same. He drove my car well... except for the fact that he drives like a maniac in a city that gives me an aneurysm every time I come near it. I HATE driving in DC. HATE it. And Superman was wonderful enough to agree to drive. The fact that he didn't kill us, or get arrested for going postal on the idiots on the roads of DC is bonus.

    And by the way, Superman... don't be skeered... be intrigued. :-p

  7. Anonymous5:13 PM

    Good job and congrats. We all need successes.

  8. "sometimes life's just nice." Can I have your good luck??? I need it!!

    Congrats on the driving thing! That is very cool you were able to drive a stick shift! :)

  9. Hell, if I can fly airplanes, I can re-learn to drive some little jap car. ;-)

  10. Now if you could just stop riding my clutch... ;-)

    (Filed under: Things That Sound Dirty, but Are Not)

  11. OMG!! That is exactly what my father called my car when I bought a Nissan in 1985!!! Which, by the way, was my first and last 'jap' car.. :):):):)

  12. Hey, at least I didn't leave the windows down when it was raining (unlike somebody I could name...

  13. "Hell, if I can fly airplanes, I can re-learn to drive some little jap car. ;-)"

    Now, if you could learn how to fly a Zero, we'd really be impressed.
    (maybe you can, if so...Ooooh)

  14. Just ONE window, thank you! :-p And it was cracked... a little too wide.

    Besides, it makes me stand out from all your other admirers! Makes me more memorable. All part of my insidious plot to kidnap Lagniappe and make him my own!

  15. Simply leaving the District will all fenders intact and no injuries is a feat unto itself. I got hit ( and they took off) on the 495 beltway once in heavy traffic while towing a travel trailer.

    And yes I got the plate number and a subsequent check for $1,200 to fix my trailer from HER insurance company. She got a nice present from a VA State Trooper too :)