Moving out of our house was easily more difficult than moving in. Largely because it was not an exciting prospect to be leaving behind our independence, even if only for three months. Packing is also a much more daunting task when the boxes won’t be opened for 15 months. It just adds an extra layer of difficulty to the job.
Among other things, I was tasked with booking the moving truck.
I don’t know anything about trucks. Until a few months ago, when a mechanic insisted I learn, I had no idea how to check the oil in my car and would continue driving it for weeks after the oil light came on. I’m pretty sure all my tyres are nearly flat and my coolant is always low. When a big piece of plastic fell off the bottom of the car, I picked it up and shoved it in the car boot. Basically, I’m not great with vehicles.
But I did know that we needed automatic transmission. Which is why, when I booked the moving van, it was the only question I asked.
‘Is the truck an auto?’
‘Of course. How would you like to pay?’
So it was quite a horrifying moment when we went to pick up the truck.
‘The clutch is right here,’ the man said. He spoke casually, not noticing the fear that crossed my and le fiancés faces. ‘Works just like a usual manual.’
I think manual is called stick shift in the US, for anyone reading from there. But in both of our minds, it was called Mission Impossible. Fortunately, le fiancé undertook the driving while I followed in the car. Less fortunately, his rage at my mistake was visible and palpable. As I sat behind him at the traffic lights, watching the truck stall and bunny hop, I knew I was in trouble.
Thankfully, when we got back to the house, fiancés best friend was waiting with coffee and pastries, and I wasn’t the focus anymore.
But there was still the issue of the ramp.
Apparently, moving trucks have a range of options for actually getting stuff into the truck. One is a ramp, and another is a hydraulic lift gate.
I had booked a truck with the former. That was the wrong thing to have done. Three weeks later, I am still paying for this mistake. The other day when I forgot to remind him that we owed rent, fiancé brought it up.
‘You keep making these mistakes that I have to fix. The truck for example.’
Let’s just say it made for a fun day, especially as we had a five hour round trip to where we were storing all the furniture and boxes.
I believe that experiences like this are able to teach us something and to help us to develop. So I’ve decided, as part of becoming a responsible and fully functioning adult, I am going to learn to drive a manual car. I’ll be organising lessons soon and keep you up to date with my progress. In a year or so we’ll have to do the whole process in reverse, and I’ll make sure to book the hydraulic lifter.
This is Julia, being grown up and learning to drive.