14 August 2008

Looking silly

Yesterday, when I discovered I had to spend some quality time on the internet, I borrowed my team leader's car so I could drive to the Land of Internet.

My team leader, somewhat oddly, drives a VW bug. One of the newer ones.

Upon hearing that I was heading to Civilization, one of our captains volunteered to ride along with me. So we loaded up in the VW and prepared to take off. It was then that I first looked down. The Bug is a stick-shift. Not a problem, thougt Abby, so is the Jeep.

But the R...well, it was on the left of the 1. Not way over to the right, after the high end like I'm used to.

But the letters on the knob are like a guide, right? You put the knob in the appropriate pictured spot, and there you are. Right?

Wrong. I tried a couple of times and couldn't get the thing into reverse. So I pulled slowly forward out of the parking space, and all was well. The captain and I reached the land of the Internet, did our respective things, then took off. Or tried to take off.

The car would still not go into reverse. Finally running out of patience, the captain gave in to his Inner Guy and tried to find reverse while I stood on the clutch. Nada.

There was a curb in front of us, which precluded the creeping forward approach. So we opened our doors, extended the outboard legs, and rolled it far enough back to be able to pull out.

A repeat performance at a fast food place where we stopped, and we made it back to Camp Rustic without further drama. I caught up to my team leader later in the evening at a company meeting.

Sir, I asked, does your car have reverse?

He looked at me as though he had just realized he was going to be trapped with a retarded team sergeant for a year.

Umm...yeah. He paused. You know you have to push it down to get into reverse, don't you?

No, sir, I replied. But that explains it.

He paused, since we were having this conversation quietly while the first sergeant expounded at length about something or other. Suddenly, the picture in his head made him look back at me.

Hey, [Abby], he whispered. How did you guys back up then?

I glanced at him, extended my left leg, and made a pushing motion.

My team leader dissolved in giggles. The first sergeant shot him the Look of Death, and I did my best to sit and look appropriately innocent of any part in the loss of military bearing. You learn something new every day - I had never heard of such a thing. Down to get into reverse. How 'bout that?