Friday, May 20, 2005

Getting It In Gear

I spent a portion of this afternoon teaching Lisa how to drive the "little truck that might" which has carried Amy and I to our summer vacation destination the past couple or three years - although seemingly it's always been somewhat of a dicey proposition.

It's a little Chevy which belongs to Amy's Dad...I think it's a 1988. The maintenance of which is suspect, although I know the air filter has been changed at least once...because I watched the original air filter burn to a crisp on a rural roadway in Ohio a few years ago.

It's also a standard...and Lisa hadn't driven a standard before today. I taught her older sister how to drive a stick and Lisa took to my lesson plan much the same. My teaching philosophy is we drive around a parking lot in second gear and then we simply hit the road. We stalled a few times. We rolled backwards once or twice because the clutch was disengaged at a stop and no one's foot was on the brake...Lisa only took one turn where the passenger in "the death seat" - me - suppressed the urge to scream, "FLOOR IT!"

All and all it went rather well and I'm sure when we return in a month or so Lisa will be driving the truck with ease.

That's how so much of life is I suppose...we start out shaky, we grasp the basic concept but have a little trouble implementing it - eventually we figure it out although we frighten a few folks and occasionally ourselves along the way.

Being a "Step-Dad" there are not many father-daughter moments that I could grab as my own over the years. Now that the kids are all grown up there are even fewer. When the girls were little I was very cognizant - rightly or wrongly - that I might be taking away a "memorable moment" from their father and purposely shied away from some opportunities, although admittedly I also was unsure of my abilities so let's remove noble from the equation lest anyone get that idea.

I suppose being a stepfather has been a lot like my driving lesson technique. I started off pretty shaky although I understood the basic concept. I had some difficulties implementing my ideas, but eventually I think I figured it out.

Sometimes though I still get scared along the way...but I resist the urge to scream.