Work in Progress

Baseball, Seminary, Wrestling, and the Dreams and Days of one Mike Work's Angeles experience

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Two weeks ago, i received a completely unanticipated, unplanned, generous gift from a friend. He heard that I haven't been driving, and decided to give me a car.

Wow is an understatement.

He gave me the car, title and all, about a week and a half ago, and I spent a week working out title and registration, insurance, smog testing, and getting a California driver's license. Now the pressing task is learning a new skill: driving stick shift.

I'd never done it before, and the first experience was on the 110 freeway, during late afternoon traffic. A bit of a crucible, to say the least.

The daily discipline this past week involved putting miles under my feet and learning how to drive this car. Many missteps were made, but i'm starting to get this thing.

Confession to make: i'm prone to strong visceral emotions, especially anger, and that has plagued me in the past, having been particularly visible on the road. In the two and a half years since i last drove regularly, a lot has changed, but the emotional responses to traffic are still ingrained in my brain, and need to change. I don't want to be that guy anymore.

So...since change won't come without conscious practice, i went out late Saturday afternoon and spent a few hours practicing, on roads where I'd be challenged to learn how to handle myself in all sorts of situation, yet without the added pressure of a tightly-planned schedule and the tardiness factor.

After heading west on the 134/101, I turned onto the 405 freeway, and spent the next hour and a half making my way through the greater Los Angeles area, an under-construction Santa Monica Boulevard, the Figueroa corridor, and the 110 freeway included. Made it, and it was really helpful for watching my reactions, as well as for learning all sorts of gear-shifting tactics (and i've now got a new fount for metaphors, too).


  • At 9:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Don't you hate hills? I did when I first started driving, then again I went back to automatic.


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