When I learned how to drive in the 1970’s, my parents owned two vehicles, a gold-coloured first generation Honda Civic, and a rust-coloured (who buys a car the colour of rust? ) Ford Fairmont which we nicknamed the squad car since it was the model of choice of police forces across the continent at that time.  Since the Ford was the “good” car, I wasn’t allowed to learn in it, so that left the Civic, which of course was a manual transmission.    I was duly signed up for lessons, because my father ever the frugal one, knew that this would ensure he would get a discount on my car insurance – the fact that it might make me a better driver was just an added bonus.   But before the lessons started, he decided to show me the basics – we went off to a parking lot and I learned to get into gear, hippity-hopping the small car each time until I finally got the hang of it.  I think I got to second gear in that adventure.  When we returned, my father, looking somewhat drawn, said I had taken three years off the life of the car.  Well, at least I had thought it was fun.  But Dad was privately high-fiving himself about his genius decision to enroll me to learn on someone else’s car.

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