I did something stupid this week, and while I won’t be writing about it, it did remind me of another of the many stupid things I’ve done over the years.
It was while I was living in Harrisburg in the late 70’s and working at Channel Home Center. I owned a 1978 model blue Volkswagen Rabbit at the time. Standard transmission, of course.
There was a snowstorm dumping several inches of snow on the ground, and I drove my car home for my lunch hour (don’t ask me why), parking it directly in front of my apartment building. It was still snowing a bit while I ate my lunch, so when I came out to return to work, there was a thin layer of snow covering the car that needed to be cleared off.
There were others out as well, and we were helping each other when somebody needed a push just to get started.
When I had cleaned off my Rabbit, I got in and started up the engine. Since I hadn’t had any trouble driving home and parking, I didn’t think I’d have any trouble pulling out of the parking spot.
I was wrong. The car refused to budge.
Happily there was still a group of people there willing and eager to give me the needed push to get me going.
Alas, try as they might, all their efforts came to naught. I had helped them push much larger vehicles, but my little Rabbit stubbornly remained stuck in the snow.
And then it dawned on me.
You know how for most routine chores that you carry out every day, you usually have a regular sequence of actions that you take? Usually without even thinking? But if something disturbs your rhythm, sometimes you might forget one little piece of that sequence?
Well, that’s what had happened to me that day. I’m not sure why, but probably it was just that I wasn’t used to putting the snow brush away before starting up the car. Or maybe at the last minute I said so long to the other people. I don’t know. But one of the things I always did after starting the ignition without even thinking about it was release the parking brake, but when I glanced down, I saw to my horror that the brake was still engaged.
I quickly released it, stepped on the accelerator, and the car jerked out of the parking space. The people who had been pushing started cheering, thinking that it was their efforts that had finally succeeded. I waved a thank you to them and drove back to work without further incident.