I Killed It

by

No.

I mean.

I literally killed it.

Like, um, four times.

Heh.

Learning how to use the clutch on the scooter.

But learning I am and I now feel comfortable enough to go out on my own tomorrow.

Not very far.

No.

Just up and down the block, get the feel of it, get used to rolling off the throttle, using the clutch, moving from 1st to neutral, neutral to 2nd, not killing it.

But killing it.

Now, figuratively.

Because.

Soon.

Soon, I will be zipping around this seven by seven tract of city like no body’s business and it’s going to be on.  Of course, there’s a learning curve, and I did not want to get on that curve today, nope, not at all, in fact, I had more than one fleeting thought about how this was all a mistake and what was I thinking and who needs a scooter and I am crazy.

I ate my dinner anyway before my friends showed up.

My friend came over with his girlfriend to help me practice.

And I thought as I hugged her, this was a mistake, the eating of dinner, I am going to throw up.

The feeling stayed with me as I promptly killed the engine on the scooter taking it from neutral to first and letting out the clutch to fast and leaping forward a little and whomp, there she goes dying.

I got to slow down then.

Stop.

Back it up against the curb.

Practice finding and using the kill switch.

Practice rolling on and off the throttle.

Practice squeezing out the clutch slowly.

My friend noticed my biggest error right away, I was using the clutch like it was a brake.

Aha!

Makes total sense, at least to me, I am used to squeezing a lever on the handlebars on my bicycle, it means I am engaging the brake on the wheel.

Eight years of habit is a hard habit to break.

And I have to learn how to brake by using the foot brake on the Vespa, the right side has a foot brake on the floor board of the scooter.

The clutch is on the left, the throttle on the right and the right front brake and then the rear brake is on the floor on the right side.

Ugh.

Dyslexia girl strikes again.

What my friend did was genius though.

He just paced right along side me on his scooter.

He went slow, watched for traffic, had me start out in neutral, ease off the clutch, go to first, give it some gas, and practice stopping and starting every ten to fifteen feet for a while.

Then when I was getting the hang of it, I took it into second and went a little bit faster.

Not that much faster, though.

I got passed by cars.

Bicycles.

And, mortifying.

One guy on a skateboard.

But what ever.

I got it.

I stilled killed it at a four-way stop sign when I got overwhelmed with the sunlight and the cars and the turn and just fritzed out my brain.

And that’s ok too.

I am learning.

And I got the thumbs up to do some practising on my own.

l feel like I can do that tomorrow, take her out, just zip, slowly, up and down the blocks.

My neighborhood is actually perfect for that kind of practise.  It is so residential and there are stop signs just about every block.  I couldn’t bring the scooter over 25 mph if I wanted to before I would be braking.

I can just do exactly what I did today.

Get on, start the engine, I literally have to kickstart it.

There is not engine on switch.

I put the key in the scooter, turn it, to make sure the handle bars have gotten unlocked, and kick down the lever to start the engine.

It is pretty awesome when I think about it and I really do see myself becoming a pro at it.  I just have to practice and allow myself to be a novice at something.

I learned how to drive a stick shift when I was fifteen.

I did the same thing then as I did today.

I stalled out  the engine.

I didn’t understand the feel of the clutch and the sound of the engine and when I needed to shift.  Mostly I was also mortified to make any mistakes.  Especially with my mom in the passenger seat telling me how to do it.

She made me drive up and down the drive way at the house in Windsor.

What I did not realize when I was first learning was that too often I was putting the car into third gear, first and third being close together on the gear shift, I didn’t know the difference, until, one day, it just clicked.

But by that time I was in a panic to not drive anymore.

I had stalled out at the four-way stop sign in Windsor and had traffic behind me and mom yelling at me in the car and I just wanted to give it up forever and who needs to drive anyway?

I somehow managed to make that left turn, just like today.

And after that it got easier.

And my uncle Jeff took me out in his truck shortly thereafter and was so laid back and easy-going and just explained it to me and I got it.

Same thing happened today.

I got the throttle and easing up and off while using the clutch and I got used to using the foot brake.

My friend was wonderful and patient and encouraging and so was his girlfriend, who had learned from him as well.

There was even a few moments when I was not terrified that I was going to kill it, never worried about killing myself, just the scooter, and I really enjoyed riding, the park is beautiful and I was riding along John F. Kennedy and hey!

I live in San Francisco and I own a vintage 1965 Vespa and I am riding it through Golden Gate Park wearing a sparkle helmet.

Whoa.

Life is amazing.

Even when I killed it.

I was killing it.

 

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