I hate driving. I always have. Driving around town in high school nearly always flooded me waves of panic, fearing that I'd do something wrong, piss someone off, or just get into an accident. Oh, the stress!
Eventually, I did get over that. But I never enjoyed driving.
Upon moving to Mexico, I was really excited about the thought of living somewhere that has a reliable, cheap, and fairly efficient public transportation system. Wherever I have lived in Mexico, I have taken full advantage of the buses, combis, and taxis and gloried in the fact that I had absolutely no need to maneuver a car in the midst of Mexico's freakish traffic.
However, Saltillo's traffic follows fairly standard rules. Turning left from the right lane is actually discouraged here and the traffic police here really do have some clout. For example, taxi drivers insist that passengers in the front seat buckle up because they know that otherwise they'll get fined. Again, I was shocked and charmed by the level of civilization here.
This also means that I ran out of excuses for why I could procrastinate my mastery of the standard transmission vehicle that Mario owns. Reason #2: the heavier that Clara gets the less fun it is to strap her to my back while we ride the bus. Reason #3: while I'm beginning to find friends, they all live on the OTHER side of town. Boo.
So after months (OK, years) of touch-and-go "how to drive a standard transmission car" lessons, I finally traversed town by myself, with Clara shouting encouragement from the backseat, a few days ago. I feel like a real grown-up again.
Despite the fact that I'm back to the whole knotted-stomach, driving-induced stress that I experienced in high school, I know I can do it. The stress will pass eventually.
This made me think of Clara and her "quest" for increased mobility. I put quest in quotation marks, as she has made it clear that creeping and rolling around on the floor is as mobile as she wants to be, thank you very much. Quite like me and my satisfaction with the buses and taxis. It doesn't matter that she is over a year old and most other kids her age are at least experimenting with walking. I was over the age of thirty and had no desire to drive a car, like a "normal" adult.
Like me, she just needs some real incentive coming from deep within to make it worth all the effort of getting her legs under herself. She almost had it this morning when she really, really wanted a cup that was on top of the coffee table. But, like me driving the car, it will just take a lot of practice to get it.
She'll get there.