I never really learned to drive stick shift. I think I could manage in a pinch, if there were some sort of life or death emergency that involved driving someone to the hospital and the only car was a stick shift. A lot of people judge me for this, but it’s honestly not something I had much control over. My dad had a stick shift for a few months while I was learning to drive, but then we got all automatic cars. There was literally nothing for me to practice on.
I would like to learn, someday, if there is someone patient enough to re-teach me.
But that’s not really the point. I live in Santiago now and never drive. Ever. It’s kind of nice. The only times I kind of wish I had a car is when I have to bring Charlie to the vet. It’s not so fun to bring him on the metro. Plus people stare at me more than they already normally do when I’m carrying a cat (he will not stay in a bag, and I haven’t bought a carrier yet). Plus, I feel good at myself because I’m not contributing nearly as much to the giant smog cloud over Santiago.
That all being said, I have a re-occurring dream in which I’m driving a stick shift, and everything’s going smoothly, until suddenly I realize I don’t know what I’m doing. Specifically, I realize that I don’t know how to brake. Do you put down the clutch when you brake? Or not? And I’m always going down a steep hill (usually it’s a specific hill in my hometown) and there’s a stop sign at the bottom and I’m afraid I won’t be able to stop. I always wake up before I get to the bottom.
I know this is probably all very symbolic, like I feel I don’t have control over my own life, blah blah blah. But I think it’s funny because the hill I’m always going down is in rural Vermont, where the possibility of there being traffic at the bottom where I have to stop is slim to none. So there’s no real danger.
In other news, I’m heading home today for a couple of weeks. I’m super excited for many obvious reasons and a bit sad and guilt ridden for leaving Charlie behind. But, he will have excellent care takers and hopefully won’t hate me too much when I get back. I bought him a mechanical rat to compensate.