New Year, new slip-up.

maria Maria's Blog

500I’m not fond of driving, but a car with automatic transmission helps.

My first car was a FIAT 500, Cinquecento to Italians. I hated shifting gears and going uphill I was always afraid I would let my foot slip and end up rolling back without ever putting the car in reverse. And forget about parking uphill, we were taught to point the tires a certain way in case the car started to roll down. If you drive you know what I mean. Then I came to the United States, bought my first car with automatic transmission and my life as a driver changed forever. The fact that Phoenix doesn’t have up and down streets like San Francisco was an added plus.

Fast forward. I visited clients to discuss listing their home for sale. The house is lovely, in a cul de sac, with great view. It is also higher up from the road, but I always park on the street so it doesn’t matter, until yesterday, of course.

It was trash day in the neighborhood and I arrived just as the garbage truck was making the rounds. I couldn’t park on the street. My only choice was the driveway, uphill. No big deal. Hey, I’m driving a Ford and I have automatic transmission. To be on the safe side I activated the parking brake. Probably the first time I used it, at least in this car. I remembered watching my kids doing it and so I knew it was to the left of the steering wheel, below the dashboard. Getting out of the car I admired my perfect parking strategy, glanced at the road below and walked to the front door feeling mighty proud.

I visited with my clients for about an hour then one of them walked me back to my car and I explained why I parked in the driveway. He laughed recounting the neighbor kid who had just gotten her license and parked the car uphill without setting the hand brake and the car rolled down and hit the vehicle of a Realtor who had stopped to set up open house signs. We had a good laugh. As I opened my driver door my client said, “Are you aware that you hood is unlatched?”

“What?” I dropped my purse on the seat and walked to the front of the car, sure enough, the hood was open.

He looked at me. I looked at him and felt blood rush to my face. He didn’t say a word, but closed my hood.

The gadget I pulled wasn’t the hand brake, it was the hood-release handle. 

And how was your first day of 2016?

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  1. sounds like me when I go to put gas in my car. 50% of the time I hit the hood release instead of the gas tank release. I love your stories. Keep writing them my friend.

  2. I got a Fiat 500 last year (automatic!) and I’m still figuring out all the controls. I’m forever turning on the rear window wiper when I want the front one. But it’s such a fun adventure to drive.

  3. You’re so lucky it didn’t roll down the drive. My error seems to be I unlatch the tank when trying to lock the doors. (It doesn’t help secure yor car, I’ve found!)

  4. AUTOCORRECT changed trunk to tank. It should have said: My error seems to be I unlatch the TRUNK when trying to lock the doors.

  5. You haven’t lived until you have had to start up a deuce and a half (translation: big truck but not a semi) with a manual transmission and a grabby clutch on hill.

    Curiously enough, I just finished reading Christmas in Venice (again) about 15 minutes ago in a Holiday anthology I’m working my way through. so far, it’s been the only story worth my time (even if it was a repeat from elsewhere).

    1. Thanks Jeannie, I did enjoy writing that story it was refreshing not to kill people for a change…
      And trust me, I have no desire to try to drive anything with manual transmission, one of the reasons I no longer drive in Italy.

  6. That was a cute story. With my luck, it would have taken off, down the hill. I am always popping my trunk when trying to lock the door.

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