Monday, February 22, 2010

Learning How to Drive Standard

A few men have tried to teach me how to drive standard, Dad was the first. He bought me an old Bronco when I was 17 and after my panic on trying to drive it with the standard, he gave me a new automatic Nissan Sentra that was mom's and bought her a minivan. When I was in Germany, my ex was frustrated that I couldn't drive standard, because German's don't drive automatics. He tried teaching me, and it ended in a mix of German and rapid Kurdish cursing when I almost drove into this big pit. His uncle was just going to give me a crappy car to drive around, but ended up giving me his BMW because out of the dozens of cars that he had, it was the only automatic. I was nervous driving such an expensive car in a foreign land, not knowing what street signs meant. I went down a wrong way on a one way street and some German guy was honking at me crazy and yelling at me. I just apologized for being American and went on my way.

Yesterday Cowboy pulled over on one of the millions of gravel roads out here in Wyoming that seem to lead to nowhere. Told me it was my turn to drive. I climbed up on his side of the large diesel Dodge a little nervous, but there wasn't anything to hit really. He smoked more cigarettes than normal I noticed, one right after the other in fact as I drove around. First I learned where the gears were, it is a little hard to remember when driving, sometimes I would forget which gear I was in already even. He kept reminding me to shift my gears with a calm "I think you need to shift now." He calls the gas pedal the throttle and I kept forgetting what a throttle was as he told me with a slightly elevated voice to take my foot off of it when I switched gears every few minutes. My hands were so sweaty, I kept wiping them on my jeans. I had to turn off the heater, I was pretty hot and nervous, like I was driving on ice. Then I decided to stop to try the low gears again, but I made the mistake of stopping on a large hill. The truck slid back down backwards as he was sternly telling me to let off the clutch as I pressed down on the throttle, his cigarette in hand. After I managed to get the truck up to 6th gear again a little later, he told me that the gravel roads were just like ice and I should be careful. Hands got sweaty again as I shifted down a gear to not go so fast.

Then there was the black fluffy cow right in the middle of the road, it was just staring at me as my truck sped towards it. I forgot how to brake and panicked. It took a little while as Cowboy reminded me how, and I stopped in time. The cow walked off the road slowly, and Cowboy said "The worst that could of happened is that you would of hit it, then we would have prime rib tonight." Right after the cow, there was this herd of pronghorn standing next to the road, and I didn't know if they were going to run in front of me or what. Cowboy said they were cockroaches and it would be fine if I hit them. They never moved though as I crept by them. After that, I was worn out from the stress, and Cowboy took over driving again. I didn't think I could drive in the city just yet. He drove me out to some of the coal mines to show them to me.

After some grocery shopping, I fixed up some ribs, potatoes, corn bread, salad and cookies for Cowboy and his roommate. They devoured it all quickly, the corn bread was first to go with much enthusiasm. I went out after and fed the four horses under Cowboy's supervision while he was fixing the battery on his big work truck that the company Cat gave him. I grabbed large piles of hay from around a big bale with a pitch fork, unwrapping it like a cinnamon roll. I call the greedy horse big brown, he belongs to Cowboy's uncle. He does that horse nostril blowing thing at me, but lets me pet him.

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