Oooo, look at my little baby…

(note: the above was dripping with sarcasm.  I may be the type of girl to name her first car, but I will never refer to it as my baby.)  (Note number two:  I like babies very much, but I don’t have any at this time or in the works.)  (End Notes)

Well, here is my brand new rental car.  It is not really new, only to me.  You probably can’t see my sideview mirror that is taped to the car.  But otherwise it works well.  The only problem is me.  I am a brand new driver in the U.S., let alone in Jo’burg, SA where they use kilometers, the left-hand side of the road, and stick shifts.

Thus far, I have driven three times here-once with friends/teachers and the last by myself.  That was the first time I have ever driven alone as I wasn’t on my parents’ insurance and always had to have one of them with me.  Boy, I prayed like crazy and came home safe but with a gigantic tension headache.

But I made it safely in time to get photos with the setting sun and to climb into pj’s for a night of skype, television, and cake.  Ha, just what a tension headache needs, eh? 

Speaking of skype, you should all set it up so we can chat for free and even have free phone conversations over the internet.  If I can configure this modem with my personal laptop I can even add live camera to our conversations so you can feel like you’re hanging out in Africa with me.  And best of all, it’s all free free free!  Just what any grad student or intern or stay at home mom or youth group member or whoever you are, likes to hear!  Check it out at and if you want to add me as a contact and start chatting you can find me @ myfirstname.m.mylastname — fill in the blanks though my middle name does start with an M and make sure and add the periods!

So here’s my so far unnamed (and likely to stay that way unless it develops a personality above and beyond my poor driving and then deserves to be named) car:

If anyone has any tips on driving a manual transmission car, please let me know.  Like, can I take my foot off the clutch when I don’t need it for a while (like on highways), how far back should I put my seat (so far, my left leg always holds weird angles to hit the clutch and it makes me very sore), etc, etc, etc?


3 Responses to “Oooo, look at my little baby…”

  1. Maureen Says:

    Jennifer, the only time your foot should be holding down the clutch is when you are changing gears.
    All stick shift cars are different in the way the clutch/gas is applied – you will have to find the right combo for your new “baby”. (I have named each of my cars, though I never wanted to name anything else in my life except animals.) If you have someplace to practice stopping and starting, then you can more quickly learn where your car has the “just right” gas / clutch combo.
    My suggestion for the seat is to move it so when you step on the clutch or brake all the way (like you are coming to a dead stop, or shifting), then it is comfortable – i.e. not too close, not too far. This also is different for every car, so don’t be surprised if you have to adjust all over again if you happen to drive in another car there.
    I’m proud of you – learning to drive in SA and a stick shift at that! And driving by yourself!! Way to go , girl!!!

  2. The clutch is only used for shifting. Take your foot off when you want to stay in that gear. You’ll wear out the clutch if you ride it all the time. The clutch connects the transmission with the engine. When you push in the clutch you are disconnecting so as to shift gears.

    I’ll be researching the car make. “It’s cute,” says mom.

  3. Abbie Elliott Says:

    Another tip: When sitting at a stop light I like to put the car in neutral and then I don’t have to keep the clutch in. You may already know that but no one told me when I started driving. Have fun! Manuals are the best! You will never go back! Also, all of my cars have deserved names. Maybe in time yours will deserve a name too.

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