Friday, March 22, 2013

Popping the Clutch

Finally getting my driver's license just before I turned 17 presented a fantastic opportunity. I didn't realize it when I was learning to drive, but some of my more savvy friends informed me that I could start the car, our yellow VW bug, by popping the clutch. I called it my batmobile. it could do some great tricks. Using the clutch would save me in the event that I had a tough time getting the engine to turn over, etc. etc. I have often heard that you haven't lived unless you have had to pop the clutch. Well, I quickly learned that I could use this fantastic tip for something way more dastardly. That's right, sneaking out of the house.

My room was on the second floor at the very back of the house totally at the opposite end to my parent's room. We had crank open windows. They were crap for letting air in, but they were great for opening, removing the screen and climbing out onto the about 3 foot wide section of roof. I would then quietly walk down to my parent's balcony and climb down the post to the patio. I would continue to walk around to the front of the house and down the driveway to the small piece of blacktop where the VW bug sat just awaiting adventure. From there I would unlock it, put it in neutral, back it out of the driveway, and then start pushing it forward until I got it going pretty fast. Yep all that gymnastics training really paid off in the strength department. I would then jump in and pop the clutch. I would be far from the house so no one was the wiser.

From there it was to the beach or a friend's house to get the evening started. This went on for a long time. As with all good things, it did eventually come to an end. Someone gave me up and one night my mom was waiting for me. When I arrived home and shimmied up the post to the balcony, she was waiting for me. She was quietly lying on the floor of her room. As I started to climb over the railing, she spoke up. In that first moment, I thought either ghosts had achieved a new level of scary or it was God. As the initial fear wore off, I realized I had been caught. Grounded forever and no car. It was all worth it though. I had some great times in the middle of the night. We didn't do drugs, but we did drink on occasion. We would be smelting on the beach or just hang out. Sometimes I would even meet my cousin Kathy and her friends. They were the kind of kids I wasn't supposed to hang around. They smoked like chimneys, but I always thought Kathy was so cool. She was a lot older than me and was a rebel. But this is a story for another day...