I’m Proud of Me!

Didn't want to lose our VW Golf, so I took a picture of its location in the underground lot

Didn’t want to lose our VW Golf, so I took a picture of its location in the underground lot

Three months and one week before Carlin was born, I left my broken-down-again Subaru on the side of the road in Richmond, and told Subaru to go pick it up and sell it. After four years of doing battle with them over a dreadfully-constructed vehicle, I’d had enough.

Interestingly, they complied. They picked it up, took it in to their shop, did a full work-over on it, and sold it on my behalf, with a full used-car warranty to the new buyer and a decent price for me.

I think they were very happy to — finally — be rid of me. I know I was ecstatic to be rid of them! That car stank.

It was a brand-new 1988 wagon, stick shift, and I was so proud of it. It was the perfect go-camping car. Until it started breaking down. Over and over and over. Mostly under warranty, but that doesn’t matter when you’re stranded in the middle of nowhere.

Coincidentally, I haven’t driven stick since that chilly Friday night in December, 1992. We replaced those wheels with a Mazda MPV, automatic, and that was that.

So, the thing is, nearly all the rental cars in Europe are standard drive. You can get an automatic if you try, but they charge a massive premium for it when you can get it. So, we’re renting standard vehicles most of the way.

Jeff has been doing an amazing job of recovering his own long-unused clutch-and-shift skills, and I think he’s been really enjoying the little VW Golf we’ve had all week. The mountain roads (see this video for an idea), have been quite a lot of fun!

Finally today, with much anxiety about finding I’d lost my ability completely, Jeff took me into an empty parking lot that we spotted, and I tried it out.

Turns out I can still drive stick! Not perfect, for sure, but not like a beginner.

Now I’ll probably do more driving. And I’m even looking forward to it!

I’m actually rather proud of me.