Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Adventure Time!

A little backstory: my boss at the pet supply store was my friend before she was my boss. She lives a good drive away from the hustle and bustle of Hollyweird, so I typically only see her at work, on weekends. But we've decided that we should still be able to "hang out" on days off, if possible, so maybe a month ago (?), she picked me up from my apartment and we went to Costco together for the #WalkingSamplingLunch. It was fun. She wasn't planning to buy anything that day. She didn't want a membership. She just needed to hang out.

I HATE shopping for things like clothing. I don't really mind shopping for groceries, because ... well, I dunno why I don't mind it. I just don't mind it. I know there are folks out there who don't do well in the big-box warehouse environments of IKEA or Costco, because #crowds or #SensoryOverload or whatever. I respect that. I also kinda LOVE the big-box warehouse environments of IKEA or Costco because #inspiration or #WalkingSamplingLunch or whatever.

Apparently, my boss enjoys those environments too, as long as she's there with a guide. On our first Costco Adventure, we took our #SweetDamnTime, ya know? She was a kid in a candy store! Literally! Well, literally a candy-electronics-clothing-grocery-vitamins-liquor-housewares-automotive-pet-books-and-movies store, at least. Every aisle was perused. Prices were compared. Foods were sampled. She made a little mental shopping list, and by the time we'd finished our first pass (I always make two passes at Costco: first one unencumbered to sample, second with a shopping cart to load whilst sampling), she'd decided to get a membership, if it wouldn't take too long.

The process of signing up included an upsell to applying for the store credit card. She opted for the Executive Membership, which includes rebates, and was approved for a decent credit line, which also includes rebates. Sweet! So we made our second pass, and I taught her how to load the cart so that the cashier can scan all the barcodes & you don't hafta unload anything onto the conveyor (*that is one of at least a few Costco "secret" tricks). Successful first adventure!

Like I said earlier, we don't often get to hang out. So when we do, we include at least a Costco trip, and then if there's time, we also do some other fun shit. Like today. I needed to get gas anyway, so we took my car. I drive a 6-speed manual transmission TARDIS. On the way home, we started talking about driving manual versus automatics, and she "outed" herself as not knowing how to drive a stick. So after we got the groceries sorted, we headed back out... for a driving lesson!

I wanted to find a big parking lot, so I originally thought of the mall parking garages. Then I thought of the lot at the new IKEA! Since it's the largest US IKEA in existence and has both a garage and a lot, the lot would probably be perfect! But before we even got there, I found a side street in a neighborhood that had nice long straight stretches with occasional stop signs and very little traffic. Since I wasn't teaching her how to drive, per se, it didn't matter if there were cars parked at the curbs. She just needed space to travel forward and learn to shift.

So I parked at the "beginning" and we swapped seats. She adjusted her seat and the mirrors, and I walked her through the gears while still parked. I used my hands to show her the "timing" of what the feet should be doing. She put the car in 1st gear and proceeded to bounce it a few feet before fully engaging (as one does on one's first time driving a stick). She kept apologizing for "killing my car"; I kept reassuring her, and telling her when to shift (up or down). We'd get to a good "stopping" point and switch seats again so she didn't have to reverse (to turn around), and then we'd switch seats again, and she drove back up the stretch she'd just been down.

She became very adept at the higher gears pretty quickly. I advised her to speed up to catch that green light, and now we were on a new stretch. Speed up to catch that green light, and again, new stretch. First gear is the hard part. So, just enough stop signs in that neighborhood to stay ~35 mph, or top out at 4th gear, and constantly practice the rolling from a dead stop.

For most of the lesson, we kept the hazard lights on, so if other traffic pulled up behind us, they'd know to pass. We let a bunch of drivers take the right-of-way at four-way stops. We weren't in a hurry, and I wasn't going to let anyone stress us out. We had one asshole behind us, who thankfully turned away before we had stressed HIM too much. We passed a school that was letting out, so once she got through that, I took us around and up the block to make one last return trip, but starting well beyond all of that foot-and-vehicular traffic.

On her last long stretch, I turned the hazards off. She stopped at all of the stop signs, as well as one traffic light (all the other lights had been green). She saw a busy street ahead that didn't have a signal, so she parked before we reached it and said "that's enough training for today". I didn't blame her; she was right. She did great!

Next time, maybe IKEA. For both the store and the parking lot. ;)

What adventures have YOU been up to lately?


  1. My Dad insisted that I learned to drive on a stick shift before being allowed to drive an automatic. So he took me out to a pasture in the country to teach me. It was a good idea as there was plenty of open space and only one small tree in the middle of it. Yup, I managed to hit it. Despite that one incident I'm glad he did that. I rarely drive a stick anymore but it's nice to know I can if I need to.

    1. We learned to drive automatics from a *very* young age. As in, if you could stand in the driver's seat, reach the pedals with your feet, and see over the hood (even THROUGH the steering wheel), then you had a chance to drive. Always on a Saturday, in the middle of an empty university parking lot, with the licensed driver in the passenger seat. Every Time they bought a car that was "new" for the family, we'd all go out on a Saturday to that empty university parking lot.

      Manual transmissions were too difficult, even by the time we were legal to drive, so we all learned those in our own time, with teachers who were more patient than Daddy. ;)

      I chose stick after totaling my automatic when my brain disappeared for a moment in the week after Mommy died. I drive a stick because you HAVE TO DRIVE. If your brain disappears for a moment of grief, and you forget to DRIVE, the car will stall. Fail-safe? Maybe not. But better than totaling.


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