I never had much of a problem learning to drive with a clutch. My dad being the impatient – maybe that’s where I get it – man that he was and the disciplinarian… took me down on the open river bank in our pea-green VW bug and said, “drive. When I tell you to go, go and when I tell you to stop, stop!” There was no one around, maybe some curious neighbors peering from their windows higher up on the bank.
Everything was going fine and I was doing well when he yelled “stop.” I made the mistake of asking why? I was told “you don’t need to know why, just do it.” The worst was being intimidated so much that I had no confidence in driving. I took Drivers’ Ed in school and did well with the big football coach teaching us.
At my state driver’s test I was doing great even with parallel parking. The very last part was going up a steep hill. I was told to stop in the middle of it, turn the car off and I did. Then he said okay, let’s go. I put in the clutch and the seat adjuster broke, so my feet couldn’t touch the pedals. I was hanging on to the steering wheel trying to pull myself forward enough to reach the pedals. The hill was very steep so made it difficult. The instructor pulled the emergency brake and I tried to adjust the seat but it was a goner. I had a small panic as cars were lining up closely behind me and rolling back at all would have caused an accident. The instructor was calm and said to go, apparently not realizing I couldn’t reach anything. He waved the car’s behind us to go by and he pushed my seat up and held it so I could get the car moving up and off the hill. I was so embarrassed when I got out of the car, I wasn’t getting back in. He told me I passed, but I wanted no part of it. How silly I was then, but I think part of it was my lack of confidence.