Tuesday, 27 September 2011
(Just Like) Starting Over
We got a new car last week. It's great except I don't know how to drive it. That's right, 14 years on the road in automatic cars and I've now decided to learn how to drive stick. The timing for this venture couldn't be more perfect; it is most certainly a fitting metaphor for where I'm at with everything these days. Here's an example:
This morning Bri and I had our coffee at home, sat in the living room with the boy, and perused the newspaper. 9:30 encroached and it was time for me to go to work. I took a deep breath and collected myself, for getting to work used to be a simple thing, and now it is a challenge. I have to wrestle with the new beast of manual driving, which brings humiliation, frustration, and makes me feel like a hormonal teenager. Yes, I know this sounds dramatic, but bear with me...
I got in the car, put on some music, and made my way along the regular route. There is construction on Dundas St. so when I arrived at the top of the hill there was back-up. I haven't yet been on a hill, stopped. There was a line-up of cars behind me. The light turned green: I released the brake, released the clutch, pushed the gas. I started rolling backwards. Did the process again. Rolled backwards. Car behind me with nowhere for her to reverse. Cars everywhere. I put the brake on and got out. Then I started waving my arms to the construction workers, and the cop at the top of the street. "Do you guys know how to drive stick?" No one knew how. Traffic was lining up, my heart was racing (yes, dramatic!). I saw my friendly mailman coming up the street and ran to him, "can you drive manual?" He said yes, and then I actually told him that I loved him. He said to keep the emergency brake on, and to gun it. The construction worker kindly said he would hold up traffic for me. So I got back in, waited for the green, and did exactly as he said. It was hilarious - I had a mailman, a construction worker, and the guy who owned the laundromat shouting "you can do it!" as I gunned up the hill. Once I knew I was in the clear and was headed downhill, I noticed the words of the song playing in the car "you're gonna neeeeed to be... patient with me".
I have a new life now. All the rumours about having a kid are true. I am truly learning a whole new way to drive. I don't know how just yet, and I stall all the time, and I get really mad, and it makes me feel so humble and so frustrated to be on such a learning curve with everything. But every day I get up and keep trying. I try to be patient with myself and with my little boy, who is changing so much these days and is also frustrated with the things he can't do yet.
Today I told him that he'll soon be walking, and that he'll soon have words to tell us what he wants, and that it will make things a lot easier. But for now, we're just going to be frustrated and that's okay. Me? I have to learn how to have balance. There is so much stop and go, and I find myself wanting to lurch forward into movement, to get back into work and doing and being busy. But it's too much; I'll burn out if I try to do things the old way. A little bit of clutch, and a little bit of gas - that's what I am learning. Hopefully I'll always have a team of construction workers, mailmen, and policemen to cheer me on...