My First Time Driving an MG...
It was a gorgeous fall day November 17, 2013. Perfect weather around 50 degrees. I was getting ready to help my parents ‘winterize’ their deck when I received a call that my best friend was close by in his 1975 MG Midget. I asked him to stop over in that beautiful blue car to chit-chat for a short while when we realized we had time to go for a quick ride. I’m no fool. When you have a chance to go for a ride in a convertible, you take it.
We headed out of town and rode around for a bit when I mentioned it was my turn to drive the car, knowing he doesn’t let anyone drive this particular car. So as a best friend would do, he just smiled and didn’t say anything. I may have mentioned a few moments later it was my turn to drive the car. He smiled again then proceeded to tell me only 1 other person had driven this car and that was his son backing it up in the driveway. That was it, no one else. Every other person had only been a passenger. Did that stop me from saying “No, I think it’s my turn to drive”? No, it did not.
So we cruised a little longer when the darndest thing happened…he pulled over. He looked at me, smiled, and got out of the car. It was actually going to happen! I hadn’t driven a manual in years but always loved it so I was extremely thrilled I was being given this opportunity, dare I say privileged, to drive this glorious vehicle.
With a huge smile on my face I sat in the driver’s seat and my heart instantly dropped into my stomach. You’ll never guess what happened. And why would you? You don’t know that he’s 6’2” and I’m 5’4”. You don’t know that the difference in our height is all in the length of our legs. You don’t know that when we sit down we’re the same height yet when we stand I’m 10” shorter. I bet you’re getting it now, aren’t you? I cannot reach the daggum peddles.
“OH NO! This is NOT happening!” I exclaim inside my head. But I calmly reach down to find the lever to adjust the seat and can’t find it. There has to be one! Please oh please there just has to be one!
I calmly say to him “I cannot find the lever to adjust the seat.” Per usual he laughs then reaches down to show me where it is. Whew! What a relief, I think to myself. I adjust the seat and then we both start laughing. Why, you ask? Because I had moved the seat so far forward to reach the peddles my chest is practically resting on the steering wheel. How do you not laugh at such a ridiculous sight? It had to be especially ridiculous from his view. And for me to try and drive with only my chest? Well let’s just say I don’t have ‘the goods’ to drive hands-free.
So I push the clutch in and put this little blue beauty in 1st gear to take off…and stall it. He laughs, of course, best friends and all. But this time it’s a nervous laugh which gives me a hint of joy, again, best friends and all.
I proceed to tell him “No worries, just need to get a feel for the release of the clutch vs. the pressure on the gas pedal.” So I start her up, put her in gear, and awaaay we go. And this time I get to laugh at him. The relief on his face that I truly knew how to drive a manual was priceless. I wasn’t going to ‘torture’ his car after all.
Then it was a total and complete O….M….G experience! This MG is Oh so fantastic! I can’t stop smiling. I mean I literally cannot stop smiling the whole time I’m driving. I didn’t think the day could get any better just by riding around as a passenger in this majestic machine, but the elation of driving was more than I ever imagined. The more comfortable I became in shifting the more I wished we lived close to a race track so I could see what this baby could really do. WOOHOO is all I can think in my head. WOOHOO we’re taking a curve! WOOHOO we’re cruising faster and faster down the road! WOOHOO I get to shift from 1st to 2nd, from 2nd to 3rd and so on and so on! And I couldn’t have been more comfortable with my chest pressed against my arms pressed against the steering.
I take a moment to look over at him and he can’t stop smiling at me because I can’t stop smiling while driving. He proceeds to tell me that racers would actually drive in the position that I’m driving in right now. They would be that close to the steering wheel so as not to tire their arms/hands during a racing event. All I know is it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. It is truly one of the best moments of any day in my life. And my best friend was not only able, but unselfishly and willingly to give that gift to me. Oh how fortunate I am.
By now it’s time for us to head back so I can complete my original mission with my parents. We swap seats and he drives back into town to drop me off. Needless to say I’m still smiling, and so is he. We bid adieu and I watch him and what I now consider, little does he know, my car drive off into the sunset. I turn and start walking to my parent’s deck, still smiling. I smiled the rest of the day. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever stopped smiling at one of the best moments of any day of my life.
So for all you fine readers who are taking the time to read this excerpt I have this to say: if you ever have the opportunity to drive an MG…do it. DO NOT hesitate. You could end up having one of the best moments of any day in your life as well. And you will feel as fortunate as me, no matter who gives, or shall I say gifts you the opportunity.
Happy driving and riding to all!
My First Time Driving an MG...