Don’t worry you can do it

"Got myself one of those dang fancy reversing beepers."

“Don’t worry you can do it.” said someone who insisted that I drive their manual barely hanging together truck to the local store to buy a grocery item.

"Got myself one of those dang fancy reversing beepers."
“Got myself one of those dang fancy reversing beepers.”

I explained that I had never driven a manual before and that I wasn’t confident that I could drive this truck to the store. They felt that since it was a small town the traffic wouldn’t be a problem, and that you could learn how to drive a manual truck just by doing it. I asked if they had insurance and they said they weren’t concerned. Ok then. It was parked in the driveway so that was my first problem.

The manual gear was very worn down and I could barely read the numbers and letters on it. I figured out how to reverse it and I slowly backed out. Then I put it into neutral and after checking on the traffic, tried first gear. The truck was garbage so the clutch didn’t smoothly engage into first gear. The entire truck lurched forward and at that point, I just considered parking the truck and telling the older relative no way. However I was young and stupid, and if they thought this was a good idea I would do my best to make it work.

I was doing ok in first gear but first gear wasn’t happy that I was in it. It didn’t have overdrive and I shifted into second. Then a stop sign was in my path. After stopping I downshifted to first and then tried to go to second again lurching once again with the rough clutch action. I had driven a four-wheeler that had a clutch and you shifted easily through gears with your foot so I was somewhat familiar with how a manual transmission should work.

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There were other cars on the road but they saw I was going slow and seeing the condition of the truck gave me a wide berth. I got to the store bought the item and then returned it in the truck. I never drove that dumb truck again.

Even when people insist you can do something, sometimes you just have to say no.