Two Roads Diverged

Life is all about choices – so which choice is coming next?

Talk About Your Emotional Gamut

on January 15, 2013

I guess this is what it must feel like to be pregnant.
Or hormonal.
Or like a girl who’s learning stick shift.

The last week has been my first week driving the stick (name still to be decided).


And man, it got driven a lot. Several hours worth of distance every day.

And during those hours: my emotions swung everywhere.

Emotional gambit, swinging emotions, emotion meter

And most days went a little something like this:

Get out of the driveway.
Wait at the stop sign to cross two lanes of traffic.
Fidget, body tenses
Make it to the freeway safely.
Shift onto the freeway, guy behind me tailgates as I shift too slowly.
Navigate the freeway.
Have to get off the freeway for some reason (gas, destination, etc.).
Get to stop sign/stoplight.

Light turns Green.
Restart, let foot off clutch.
The car behind me honks.
Start panicking
Somehow get the car started.
Get through that intersection.
Get stopped at a light.
Another car honks.
Burst into tears

Most of last week I stalled at least 3 times a day.
And burst into tears at least once a day. (I swear I don’t cry that much!)

It all culminated into Friday, I jumped in the car, headed off to work.

I was parked a bit differently and was going to have to navigate a bit more to get out of the driveway. Now, our driveway is relatively flat at the top, drops off on one side, and the drive is a good 70O angle. So I didn’t want to go off the edge, and I didn’t want to be trying to navigate the steep drive.

When my turning angles weren’t quite what I wanted them to be (damn you geometry!), I tried to go back to start over.

I turned too sharply, and the right front tire went over the edge.

Cue the tears.


If only I was this adorable when I cried! Ah, lost youth…

A quick phonecall to my dad – a turn of the steering wheel, and the right wheel was able to grab onto concrete and pull me back onto the driveway.

Completely shaken, I took my dad’s car. Loving the automatic, and not having to shift, I was able to calm down.

But just as many of you claimed I would, I missed the shifting. I can’t say I missed the control, which I hadn’t gotten yet, I didn’t even miss the gas mileage, which I hadn’t calculated yet.

I can’t honestly tell you what I missed. But when my mom suggested I stop driving the stick, I couldn’t do it. It wasn’t just the desire to learn (or ‘stubborness to learn’ I guess I should say), but there’s something about the car that I liked.

So I returned to the stick.

And for three days now I’ve been relatively stall free! (Only twice in three days!)

I can HEAR the engine changes. I’m starting to understand the shifting.

It’s falling into place!

But my emotions are still all over the place. No more crying – but panic. That’s definitely still there.

39 responses to “Talk About Your Emotional Gamut

  1. MissFourEyes says:

    Oh Jill, I understand the crying. I’m glad it’s getting better. You’ll be driving the stick like nobody’s business!

    P.S. Don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t adorable when you cry. You are. I know you are🙂

  2. oh man! i hated the double/triple stalling at stops…did that all the time when first learning…the people honking do not help!! my dad also took me to the high school parking lot (while i was in college) to practice starting because it’s a sloped lot, and he tried to trade me with another dad for a 16 year old beginning driver!

    on the other hand, that car is down for maintenance at the moment so i’ve been driving an automatic and EVERY time i come to a stop, i move my right hand to the shifter and my left foot to the clutch. every single time. it cannot be helped.

    so yeah, pretty soon it’ll be second nature. and even if your next car is a manual, it’s still a good skill to have. and, and, and….just think! most of those people honking have probably never tried to drive stick. that’s what i told myself anyway😀

  3. vyvacious says:

    YAY!! This is so exciting!! So glad you’re finally figuring it out! Woohoooooo!😀

  4. mairedubhtx says:

    But you’re getting better every day, aren’t you. Your post tells me you are. Another week and you’ll be driving that stick shift like you were made for it. Just trust yourself and don’t second-guess yourself. Don’t get overly anxious. It will work out. You can do it. Your post tells me you can!

  5. MaximumWage says:

    Yay! You’re doing it! And don’t worry about your emotions something tells me they will eventually stabilize!🙂

  6. Bill McCurry says:

    It sounds like you’re close to mastering it–hearing the engine is a huge step. I didn’t cry when I learned stick, but I said a lot of bad words, which was the guy equivalent of sobbing. Keep going!

  7. Jill, don’t be so hard on yourself; it’s almost like learning to drive all over again!

  8. twindaddy says:

    Jajajajaja (That’s a typo AND Swedish laughing…) The more you do it the better you’ll get. Keep at it!

  9. Amy Li says:

    Dude, I tried driving stick once and couldn’t even get started on a 5 degree slope. Bravo to you!

  10. calahan says:

    Once you drive stick, it’s hard to go back to automatics.

    Also, when you do cry, try to make it funny like on I Love Lucy. That way, passerby’s will have something to laugh at.

  11. calahan says:

    Hey Giggs,

    I have my hotel reservation set for February. Contact me, I’d love to try and meet up.🙂

  12. Seriously, kudos for learning stick! I tried, but felt like such a dumbass that I gave up. I have heard that once you get a taste for it, it’s hard to go back to automatic.

  13. El Guapo says:

    Soon you’ll be all Road Warrior with the stick (perhaps The Shaft of Authority!(?)), smoothly moving through the gears as you gaze at the other lesser drivers with disdain from behind your sunglasses and stubble.
    Well, maybe not stubble…

  14. Good for you for sticking with it (sorry, I couldn’t help myself)! My first car was a stick. Once I got the hang of it, it was supa fun. =)

  15. The Hook says:

    Hang in there, you’re made of strong stuff, young lady!

  16. Katie says:

    All of it is true. Hang in there. Nothing like the smug feeling you get driving around like a pro stick driver. It’s kinda awesome.

  17. Once you start vomiting – then I’ll give you ‘pregnancy’🙂

    Good for you for taking a step back (the automatic) then realizing you wanted to continue forward (the stick)! I know what it’s like being reduced to tears because of cars….believe me, I know and feel your angst.

  18. Reading about your stick shift experiences continues to make me feel nostalgic as I remember mine! Apprehension, tons of anxiety and lots of excitement were weekly, if not daily emotions I experienced while driving. Stop signs at the top of a hill? Cue panic attack.

    • Oh good, not just me! When I see a red light ahead, and it’s a hill, I pretty much just coast. Praying the whole time that it will turn green so that I can keep going and not get stopped!

  19. Jennifer says:

    While I miss the automatic, I missed manual (stick) even more. Loving our new car with gears. Great that you’re learning it, they’re so much fun.

    • I’m definitely missing the auto some – like when I’m at stoplights/stop signs (as I’m sure you understand!), but like you, I’m definitely loving the stick! And LOVING the gas mileage for it!

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