My boyfriend, later to become my husband, drove a Volkswagen bug everywhere. He and “Betsy” had a long relationship and I was relatively new to the scene. The car did have many miles on it and I had certainly been along for many rides, so I was somewhat familiar with its operation. However, I had only driven automatics until the day I had to borrow “Betsy” and needed to get some road time in quickly prior to going solo. He was more than patient as we bucked around a large parking lot and then onto a busy street, stalled out several times and continued for a few more blocks. He assured me I would get the hang of it and his confidence was contagious. He must have inspired me because I was not nervous as I set out the following morning in rush hour traffic enroute to an important job interview. Forgetting about fear or comfort zones, I was launched.
I would love to report that things went smoothly and that I never broke a sweat, but it would not be an accurate account at all. In fact, the car stalled more than once and I was indeed stuck in first gear too…more than once. Luckily there were no hills to manage and I quickly blocked out the various horns and yells from other drivers. In fact, I drove downtown and back without stripping the gears or damaging the car in any noticeable way.
For me, most important was the success of learning something quickly; prompted by necessity, as well as having the unquestionable support of my instructor in the process. Yes, he had been a passenger in my car many times and knew that I could be trusted to use good judgment. But it was also a leap of faith to allow me to practice on his beloved “Betsy”. He assumed I could do it and this gave me the additional confidence to get behind the wheel and go. What an accomplishment and what a terrific feeling afterward! Rather than being shaken by the early morning scenario, I was more self-assured at that job interview than I ever expected I would be. The energetic spill-over from managing my transportation successfully was palpable, empowering enough to decline the job offer and continue to look for a better fit.
• When have you done the thing you never thought you could do? • Who supported your actions? • What were the short and/or long term effects? • How did you change as a result?
©2014 Maureen Weisner