spinning in manual…

Books can motivate me into doing things, when nothing else will. Hurricane happening outside? Roads closed? If I’m looking for something new to read, or just dying to go to the bookstore, those things just might not stop me. At home, I’d drive 40 minutes to Greenville, no problem, because I wanted to go to Barnes & Noble. Even if I don’t buy anything, the joy of looking… ah, bliss.

So, I was approaching the weekend, knowing that there were three books waiting for me, at the library. I stopped there, after dropping the girls at school, only to find that the library didn’t open until ten. Blast. Ok, we can wait. But the battery light was on again, despite the battery having been replaced just the other day. The car had stalled, yesterday, and so, they decided to have a friend drop the car at the shop. Jade took the car, and left hers here, leaving me the key on the counter.

I assured her that I didn’t need to go anywhere (I had temporarily forgotten about the library), and besides, her Pajero is a manual. I have yet to drive a stick-shift vehicle while here in Australia, and hadn’t planned on trying it. I told myself that I’d go at the end of the day.

But it was Friday, and I was tired. I became worried that I would forget to go to the library, and I would be stuck for the weekend, without my three new books. As I said, books are a great motivator.

My first attempt at putting Bubby to bed, this afternoon, it achieved nothing. She’s tired, in pain from the teething, and hungry, but she’ll go to sleep when she’s darn well ready. So, I made the snap decision to give it a try, and take the Pajero for a spin, to the library.

Before you get worried, my Honda CR-V, back home, is a stick-shift, and I’ve been driving it for years. It’s so much more fun than driving an automatic. So, I have no issues with driving a manual at home. But considering that here in AUS, the wheel’s on the wrong side, and the lights and windshield wiper levers are switched, I figured the pedals and stick-shift numbers would be backwards, too. Plus, I’d have to shift with my left hand, instead of my right.

After buckling Bubby into her car seat, I went and stared at the pedals for a bit. It’s been six months since I drove my own CR-V, so my thinking about the pedals was pretty scrambled. Ever tried to teach someone else to drive a manual? And suddenly, you have to think about what you do, rather than just do it? Suddenly, you can’t remember which pedal you pushed first, or anything?

I started the car with no problem, and quickly figured out what I was doing, surprised to find that the numbers on the stick-shift go in the same direction as they do at home. Number 1 is in the top left, and R is in the bottom right. You just have to remember that you reverse by pulling it back TOWARDS you instead of AWAY from you.

It wasn’t until I’d left the library and was about to pull out of my parking space, that I realized that the pedals are in the same order as they are at home. Yes, it took a little while to compute, but no wonder I wasn’t finding it that difficult. The only hard part was shifting with my left hand, but the rest was the same. I guess it does make sense to keep the pedals the same, the world over, but in my experience, companies do not always do what makes sense to me.

So, I’ve now taken that manual Pajero for a spin, to the library and back, safely, with no stalling. I never thought I’d do that, while I was here. But it sure makes me miss my own car. I can’t wait to get home and go on a road trip to PA and MD. Or FL, to visit my brother.  : )  The choices are endless!

Oh, and before I forget, I did get to pick up my books. Turned out they had four of them, three by Tamora Pierce (The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, Lioness Rampant, The Emperor Mage), and one by John Marsden (The Night is for Hunting). Happy weekend, indeed!

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