Thursday, January 27, 2011

"All I wanna do is to thank you even though I don't know who you are You let me change lanes while I was driving in my car"*

Driving to work this morning after last night's snow storm, I briefly got stuck in a snow bank at the end of the alley leading out from the lot where I park. I put the car in reverse a couple times and then would try to move forward with no success. Then I remembered the tried and true rule that I learned in high school- when driving up a hill in snow, put the car in 1st and constantly accelerate- which did the trick. Soon I was on the road with the rest of the people driving to work.

I learned how to drive in a 1980-something Buick Electra Estate station wagon (very similar to the one pictured here.) My friends in high school referred to this car as "the boat". This moniker was accurate; the car was huge. We could fit two parents, four kids, luggage for six, and a collie pretty comfortably in it on family trips.

The great thing about the car, in retrospect, was that I learned how to drive in a car that was bigger than any car my friends had or I had subsequently. My dad made sure I could parallel park that car in downtown traffic and do a three-point (K) turn in it too. I drove it on the highway and in snow and ice. Having learned on that car, really made doing any of that stuff in a smaller car a piece of cake. One time in high school, a friend's little Honda Civic was blocked in on three sides in the student parking lot, and she asked me if there was anyway to get it out. With a little manipulation, I was able to extract it for her; it was easy for me because I was used to dealing with a monster car.

Driving in a big city like Boston has its challenges (traffic, construction, one-way streets), especially in bad weather, but the skills my dad taught me in that tank masquerading as a station wagon have held up over the years, and I am glad that I learned them when I did. (Doesn't make driving in the snow any less stressful, but certainly can help in bad moments.)

*lyrics from "Whoever You Are" by Geggy Tah

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