Posts Tagged ‘stick shift’

$508.90

April 21, 2018

I just wrote a check out for my car insurance.

Which means that I have had my car now for five months!

I’m sort of amazed by that and how quickly I have adapted to driving her, the car’s a girl, Priscilla sometimes, but most times my cute little marshmallow.

My slightly dirty little marshmallow.

She’s getting a wash tomorrow, I wanted to take her in last week but the rains, it looks like nice clear weather for a while, so tomorrow I will hopefully get her in.

I love her.

I love how compact she is, how easy to park, I love that she’s a stick shift, I really feel at home and comfortable driving a stick shift, the hills really haven’t been an issue.

I killed it a few times my first month, but I haven’t really since.

I’m driving every day, every where I need to get and gas is running me about $20 a week.

Granted, yes, it’s higher than when I was on a scooter and gas ran me $20 a month, if that, but all the things my car has that my scooter did not.

Including.

Heat.

Blue Tooth for making phone calls.

Oh my God.

How nice it is to drive and talk, it feels like I’m staying better connect with my people just because I can talk on the phone when I drive to and from work and back and forth from my internship, it really is a nice perk.

Music.

I love having music while I drive.

So much.

I use Bon Entendeur, a French House music app, Spotify, and occasionally my Itunes on my Iphone.

Plus there’s the radio, which my best friend actually helped me program recently.  I hadn’t really bothered with it because I use my phone for music, but it’s nice to have it programmed and it’s set to either the jazz station or classical.

Plus.

Safety.

My car is safer than my scooter and I’m no dummy about that.

Oh.

I plan on using my scooter occasionally, I’ll use it my last weekend of school classes, that’s for sure.

Although I found parking much easier than I had thought it would be, it was still pretty freaking expensive to park all day down town while I was in class, I’d like to not have to do that again, but I will if there’s rain.

Absolutely will.

I’d been wondering when the car insurance bill was coming and there it was in the mail when I got home tonight from seeing clients.

When I first opened it I was shocked, but then I realized the $508.90 was for six months.

That’s actually really affordable.

I get a lot of good discounts, I have it wrapped with my renters insurance and scooter insurance, plus I get a good driver discount and a low mileage discount.

Pretty damn pleased.

So I wrote the check and I’ll drop it in the mail tomorrow.

I pay for my bills 24 hours within receiving them.

A habit that helps me not bounce checks and know always how much money I have in my account.

I was uncomfortable with the suggestion when it was first given to me, but I am used to taking suggestions, especially from those that have more experience than I do, so I did it.

And I have to say.

It’s always worked out.

The money has always been there.

Even though I wasn’t exactly jumping up and down, I’m happy to have it paid and done with until November.

I’m also a head on my car payments, I don’t owe one until July.

I’ll still make one in May, I like to stay on top of it, plus it will be nice to have my car payments paid out a little in advance so I don’t have to worry about them when I’m traveling.

Oh man.

I can’t wait for the traveling.

I am so ready.

But first.

Of course.

I have to get through the next few weekends and get my school work done.

I feel better today about it all falling together.

I actually had a really good conversation with the mom at work about what I have to do this weekend to get what needs doing done.

Saying it out loud helped.

I really do have everything that I need to write the paper, all my sources, all my quotes, the idea, the feel of the paper and the direction.

I just have to sit down and write it.

I have blocked out time Sunday after noon after doing the deal with the ladies and before my Sunday night commitment up in the Castro.

I am feeling excited to write it and prepared.

Grateful for that shift in feeling.

Grateful too for another day without reflux.

I’m not sure why and I’m not going to question it.

My tummy was a bit upset through the night, but no reflux, so I’ve signed up for a 9 a.m. yoga class tomorrow and yes, yes, I did.

A 7:15 a.m. class on Sunday.

My best friend and I are going to do yoga than coffee and breakfast and I’ll be off to a bright and early start to my Sunday, I’ll get every thing I need done household wise, cooking, cleaning, laundry, then be ready for the ladies and then the paper.

That’s the plan anyway.

Who knows what will happen.

I’m going to let myself sleep in a little tomorrow and do the 9a.m. yoga class, though I did briefly flirt with the idea of doing the earlier 7:15 a.m.

I decided that since I have had a very busy week and a pretty packed weekend, that the best would be to get lots of sleep and then go into it full throttle.

I also have a dentist appointment tomorrow and group supervision, so I think that it’s a nice way to start, a little extra sleep and more time to digest dinner before getting all twisty and sweaty.

I think it’s going to be a good weekend.

I feel really positive.

And I’m looking forward to spending time with my best friend and also that I blocked out a little time too for some pampering, I’ll definitely be getting a mani/pedi tomorrow after group supervision.

My car gets a wash.

I get a polish.

Heh.

Honky Tonk Heart Break

November 25, 2017

I have nothing to complain about.

Especially when I listen to the music from this Spotify playlist.

Honky tonk heart-break is a for real thing.

Bottom of the whiskey bottle, bottom of the bear glass, the lonesome sound of the woman you love walking out the door.

Yeouch.

I mean.

What do I have to complain about?

My massage was kind of weak.

Oh.

It wasn’t bad, but I was surprised, in fact, at one point I thought to myself, deep tissue, my ass, this isn’t deep tissue at all.

It was pleasant, I suppose, but not what I was hoping for.

In fact, the spa really wasn’t as posh as I thought it would be.

It was still nice, I’m not bitching, but I was a bit surprised, it was smaller, and the back patio was covered with leaves and the reclining chairs didn’t have cushions.

So much for sitting outside on a lounge and getting some sun.

The fireplace wasn’t on either.

That bummed me out.

It, was, however, when I left, I thought that was funny.

The massage was nice though, and the sauna was good and it was nice to drive my car to a new spot in town and to find parking that wasn’t a meter in the area was pretty sweet.

I also made a little pilgrimage to Nest and got a sweet little Christmas ornament.

Last year I actually was pining pretty bad for Christmas.

I think it was mostly the fact that I was so fucking lonely last year, since I was under quarantine with the lice, I let myself get a Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving.

I saw social media post of people who have already got up their tree and I was like, whoa!

I’m not feeling it quite like that this year.

Although, granted I am very much looking forward to getting a Christmas tree.

It’s an expensive bit of self-care.

I get a live tree and they’re expensive, but the smell, oof, so good.

I just love having that smell and the magic of Christmas lights and the sweetness of having presents wrapped under the tree.

So, yeah, it was fun to get an ornament today on Fillmore Street.

And I thought about doing a little Black Friday shopping, but once I got back to my car, I would have to move it and re-park it and it just didn’t seem worthwhile.

I hit the road Jack instead.

I did actually, inadvertently do a little shopping anyhow.

I swung into Laurel Village on my way home to deposit a check into my bank and there was an Ace Hardware store there that I got a bunch of little things there.

A replacement light bulb for my salt lamp my friend gave me for Christmas last year.

A set of blue Christmas tree lights, I have some from last year, but I think I needed to replace a strand.

I always do blue lights, I like to have an Elvis Blue Christmas theme for the tree.

I got a pack of printer paper, I got a pack of papers I need to write-up before the semester wraps up.

I also got a phone charger for my car!

That was cool and I got a car mount kit so that I can mount my phone to the dashboard.

Quite happy with that as well.

And can I just say, Bluetooth is revolutionary.

So nice to have my Spotify go straight to my radio.

So nice to have phone calls I can answer via touching a little button on my steering wheel.

Amazing.

My mom was my first call I took in the car.

Heh.

Also, lovely, really, to have navigation, I love plugging in the address and having the directions told to me.

Remember maps?

I fucking do.

Fuckers.

I had a stash of them and somehow never quite used them all that well.

I mean.

I made it across country driving my little two door Honda Accord, but really I am still amazed I made it.

All the places I used to have to look up in an Atlas, remember having the AAA Atlas in your car?

Maps for every state.

I think that’s what I used to drive cross-country.

Now all I have to do is type in the address on my phone and my car literally syncs up with my phone and the directions come out of the speakers.

It’s fucking magic.

I know.

Maybe it’s not magic for you, you’re used to this, but remember, I haven’t owned a car in fifteen years.

It’s really nice.

I have to say, I really like it.

I’m so grateful to have gotten it.

I am so grateful for all the help I got getting it, meant the world, it really did.

There is such a comfort in driving.

It feels right.

It’s really interesting.

It feels right to be in a car.

I must be an American.

And one from the Midwest for sure.

It was out of the question for me to not have a car when I was in Wisconsin.

It wasn’t for over a decade here.

Plenty of transit options, shit, more so now then when I moved here if you count Lyft and Uber and Get Around and car share services and what all.

But.

Really.

Having my own car is something special.

It feels really natural.

I am almost surprised by how natural it feels.

And occasionally, I will admit, a tiny bit smug that it’s a stick shift.

Not sure if smug is quite the right word.

Perhaps.

Self-satisfied.

There is something about being able to drive a stick shift that seems really cool and a bit anachronistic and well, just a tiny bit out of the ordinary.

All things I rather like about myself.

The manual feels right and of course, that makes sense to me since all I owned previously were manuals.

It’s rather like coming home.

And being surprised that it’s been patiently waiting for me all along.

It’s not honky-tonk at all.

Nope.

Not one bit.

But I can play honky-tonk in my car if I want to.

Ha.

And Then She Went

November 21, 2017

And got a car.

Holy shit.

I did it.

Not without a bit of hand holding.

Thank fucking god for my friend who came with me.

Just having another person there was super helpful and I didn’t feel quite as overwhelmed as I think I might have had I gone alone.

And.

Well.

It was hella nice that I had a female sales person.

The person who I had been working with to set up the deal ended up being out sick and I got another sales associate, and she was super sweet, very accommodating, and really helpful.

I had really already done the majority of the work, so it was just signing the papers, coordinating with my insurance company and doing the test drive.

I was nervous about driving the car, I won’t lie, I haven’t driven a stick shift in a while.

But it was just like riding a bike.

I had no problems using the stick.

Yeah!

That’s right bitches, I got a manual transmission.

Which is one of the reasons the car was on sale and that was fine with me, I know most folks like an automatic, but this lady learned on a stick and I love the control I have in the car versus driving an automatic.

I learned on a Ford Diesel station wagon how to drive stick.

My mom taught me.

It was horrendous.

Let me make no bones about it.

She was not the right person to teach me and getting screamed at while stalling out the car at the four-way stop intersection in Windsor Wisconsin is a trauma I may well never forget, she did, however, eventually teach me how to do it.

Or she at least installed the fundamentals.

I actually feel like it was my Uncle Jeff who taught me how to drive.

My mom was bitching about my inability to get the mechanics of it at a Thanksgiving dinner with family and my uncle piped up and said, “I’ll teach her.”

And like that we were getting bundled up in coats and out the door.

I remember there was snow on the roads, and they were a little slippery, but we were not anywhere close to any other cars, and it was Thanksgiving, most folks were not getting in their cars to go anywhere, most folks were still digesting their food and watching the Packers play Detroit and wondering if they might be able to sneak a sliver more of pumpkin pie in their bellies without exploding.

I remember the truck cab was really cold and the  stick was huge, he had an old Ford.

He told me my mom was too worried about me ruining her car to relax, he didn’t give a fuck if I hit something or killed it, it was an old truck, he was fine with me beating on it.

And in that moment I felt a huge burden fall off my shoulders and I could breathe again.

He also explained a bit better to me the feeling of what the clutch did underneath my left foot when the truck wanted to shift into another gear and I could feel it much better underneath the big clutch on his car and the much smaller one on my mom’s.

I started it, popped it into first, shifted into second, got it up to speed in third, managed to not slip on any ice or snow and we drove around for a while.

I had a great big grin on my face.

I got it!

It made sense, I could feel it and sure enough, the next time I took out my mom’s car I was able to do it and I’ve been successfully driving a stick ever since.

My first car I bought on my own, with money from detassling corn four summers in a row at Kaltenberg Seed Farms–I had gotten a bonus for perfect attendance, was a Honda Civic, stick shift.

Then after that car died, it really went quick and I didn’t have the money to fix it, I got my first car in a relationship in my early twenties.

We went in halfsies on an old Jetta that was a stick.

I really loved that car.

It died soon after my boyfriend and I broke up, but for three years it was a great little car and I think we only paid $500 for it.

And when the Jetta died my boss at the Angelic Brewing Company sold me his car, a two door Honda Accord that I had for three years, also a stick shift, when he upgraded to an SUV, which were just beginning to get a lot of attention.

All the cars I have owned have been manual!

But this.

THIS.

Is my first brand new car!

I have never spent more money on a car.

The Honda Civic in high school was $500 used, the Jetta $500, the Honda Accord my boss sold me I think I paid $1200 for.

This time my car cost $12,000.

But seriously.

A new car for $12,000 is fantastic.

I, of course, did not pay the full sticker price, no way I could have.

I put $2,000 down and my car payments are going to be $186 a month.

l also pre-paid for six months of car insurance.

I just felt better doing that and I’m going to have to pay it and then I left myself room with my money, I didn’t spend the entire $5,000 I pulled from savings, nope, I gave myself a year’s worth of back up payments with that money, in case anything happens, I’ve got a year of payments stacked.

I don’t have to make my initial payment after this until January and when I do I will pay more than the $186.

I do want to pay it off faster than the loan terms, which would stretch out for six years.

But I also don’t want to hurt myself by throwing all my liquid cash at the car.

Which was nice.

I had some left over to take my darling friend out to lunch on Shattuck Avenue.

And where we parked made all the hairs on my head tingle.

We were directly across from the hotel that I stayed at when I first traveled to Berkeley to meet up with a friend and get myself reappointed with the Bay Area.

It’s not a hotel anymore, but I recognized the building and it felt so amazing and synchronic and auspicious.

Lucky, you know?

I could never have imagined the life that I created out here in San Francisco when I was sitting in that hotel room on the phone with my friend from Wisconsin trying to tell her that I had found where I wanted to be and that I was going to move to San Francisco, in fact, I was seriously considering not coming home and just leaving my entire life in Madison to die.

My friend convinced me to come home, to finish my degree, to give it another year, um, especially since we had just signed a lease on a 2 bedroom apartment, and I said I would, but I was moving to San Francisco as soon as I graduated.

And 15 years after I donated my car, my little two door Honda Accord, to the Goodwill on South Van Ness I got to drive my brand new Fiat Pop 500 home to my little studio by the sea.

Pretty fucking amazing.

And!

I found parking.

Hahahahahaha.

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I Killed It

April 6, 2014

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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