Who doesn’t remember the first time they drove a car? Or truck? Or motorcycle?
Actually, I don’t remember the first time I drove a truck, probably because it was an automatic, but I do remember the first time I drove a car and a motorcycle, because of the stick shift in the case of the car and With the car, it was a Ford Fiesta; with the motorcycle, it was some — as my relatives would call them, but didn’t prevent them from riding one — “riceburner”: Kawasaki, Yamaha, what-else-have-you-got-in-Japanese-built-two-wheelers?
To be honest, the main thing I remember about driving/steering my first motorcycle by myself was that it was as scary as hell but also quite the adrenaline rush. When you switched up the gears on the gear pedal (I think that’s what it’s called, all I know about motorcycles these days is that the Harleys on Sons of Anarchy look pretty bitching) and you were knocked back on your seat, there was nothing like it.
Now the first time I drove a car, I recall that a little more clearly than driving my first motorcycle. It was a box Ford Fiesta, like the one pictured above, not one of those fancy ones that they have now (I’d show you but Plinky only allows me to use one image, so you’ll just have to Google it yourself). It was a stick shift. I don’t remember how many gears: four, maybe?
According to my mother, I was with my father. The Fiesta, bright red, as I recall, was parked in front of our garage. When I say “our garage,” let me set the picture. It wasn’t a garage besides a house. It was about 100 feet from the house and also doubled as my dad’s workshop. We didn’t park in the garage most of the time, because usually it was full of lawnmowers or my dad’s tractor, an ancient Ford from the 1930s, I think. We parked in front of the garage, but horizontal to the main doors. Behind where we parked were two trees, maples, maybe — and a field a neighbor used to grow hay for his cows (yep, I lived in Farmville).
Those two trees and that hay field came into play the first time I drove because I decided to shift into reverse instead of first gear and miraculously, the way the car was parked, I drove right between the two trees and into the field when I pushed down on the accelerator after letting up on the clutch. Luckily, the field wasn’t fully grown, as I think it might have been in the spring or fall that I first learned to drive, and I finally did figure out how to drive forward. I still hated starting out on a hill, though, and am glad that I now have an automatic.
While talking to my mother this morning on the phone, as I was trying to recall if it was she or my father who was with me at the time, she told me about her first time driving.
“The first time I drove, Daddy was going to show me. We lived in Kinston at the time. I was supposed to stop in front of the house, and there was a fence in front of our neighbor’s house. I went through it. I must have mistaken the accelerator for the brake.”
At least, I didn’t hit anything.
So do you remember first driving a car, truck or motorcycle? Or if you’re one of those city folks that never drove a car (for shame, for shame), then do you remember the first time you rode a bicycle? Or a subway?