Driving a Stick Shift, Ice-Skating and other Things I Am Deluded Thinking I Can Still Do

I was discussing cars with my daughter and she came upon the term manual. How many kids these days know what the term manual means?

For those of us aged persons, we know that manual means stick shift, or the opposite of automatic transmission.  Many of us growing up in the sixties had a family car with a stick shift and no auto transmission. Some of us even learned how to drive them.

I have my hand raised. I am part of the some of us in my generation who learned to drive a stick shift. It was with a lot of pain and anguish that I learned to drive one, a few years after I learned to drive a regular, automatic car. (Except that my boyfriend who taught me how to drive the first time at age 16 would probably say there was a lot of pain and fear in those sessions as well!)

The first new car I bought was a lot cheaper if I bought a manual one. So I bought it first, and then learned to drive it. Crunch went those gears as I learned! Stalls were frequent. Stoplights were dicey. No one was really safe on the road until I got the feel and hang of it.

It was a good skill to have as I one time had to drive a manual car when the driver was indisposed and I had to take over the wheel. And then later, my ex-husband and I bought a “fun” car from a friend, a sporty MGB convertible that had a stick shift. I can’t tell you how much fun it was to drive that.

But that was 30 years ago. I haven’t driven a stick shift in at least thirty years. Yet somehow, when I imagine driving one, I think I still could. Yeah, right. Crunch the gears would go. Sputter and stall. Yep, I am sure of that.

I haven’t ice-skated in many years, yet when I had the opportunity to do so recently, in my mind, I pictured me effortlessly floating around the ice, light as a feather. I grew up a block away from a playground called Tarken, where they had an ice-rink, and so I grew up ice-skating. It was truly second nature to me.

There hasn’t been an opportunity for me to ice-skate since my 27 year old daughter had a birthday party at around age 6 or 7. So that is a lot of years in-between skating, and I was pretty rusty back then as I recall.

That’s the weird thing about me and the reason I wrote this blog today. I imagine myself being able to do all kinds of things that I probably can’t do. I haven’t skied in 15 years and before that 30 years previous. So although I imagine I could be a real snow bunny, it would not happen that way.

The same thing goes for diving. I haven’t taken a dive off a diving board in many, many years. In my mind’s eye, I could execute it, and picture myself doing so, but we all know what a disaster that would be.

I have spoken before about staying approximately age 20 forever in my mind, but I am an aged old lady in reality. Still, I guess it keeps me young thinking I am still capable of pulling off any number of stunts.

What about you? What are you certain you could still do???

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