My first attempt at driving alone from my flat in the suburbs to my workplace in the city bowl proved to be a memorable occasion. I proudly managed to get on and off the highway successfully and at the correct on ramps and exits.
The only trouble came as I waited at a four-way stop. On an incline.
Let’s just say hill starts are not my forte.
I was in a queue of several cars waiting to turn at the stop sign ahead, and I stalled my car. Couldn’t get it started again for the life of me. Most likely flooded the engine while trying.
Eventually other cars started honking (excuse me, ‘hooting,’ as is the proper term in S’Africa), because they couldn’t get past me. Then a kind man got out of his vehicle to try to help me, but I’d been warned not to open my window to strangers as a safety precaution, so I only cracked the window a sliver so I could hear what he was telling me to do.
Except that he wasn’t speaking English.
Finally an English speaking person stopped, and together both men pushed my car (with me still in it), through the intersection. They tried desperately to explain to me how to start my car while it was rolling down the hill, but I never got it right. Instead, I coasted down the decline, lurching my own body forward in an effort to boost momentum. My workplace was in sight.
I got to the end of the hill and was still rolling enough in neutral to turn into the parking lot of my work, only for the car to come to a standstill in the middle of the entrance. The parking lot was on an incline, and my little Jetta had run out of oomph.