Thursday, January 21, 2010

Five low, Five high

Day two behind the wheel, and I enjoyed it as much as day one. I got wet, cold and grimy. I stood in the rain for half the day, drove some of the rest of it and watched others drive some, too. It's fascinating. Really. The experience behind the wheel is just part of that. And of course the technical information.

Coming from liberal arts academics, I can tell you that the leap from instruction to implementation isn't a big one. You work with words to teach people to be able to work with words themselves. The tools, whatever ~ they're related. Words, book, word processor. Read, hear, write.

And then there's this kind of learning. The written and spoken instruction is invaluable and yet foreign to the act. The act is lifting a hood the size of a doughboy pool (I exaggerate only a wee bit). or shifting by running through ten gears in five slots -- first flip the selector down; then 1 2 3 4 5; then flip it up and slide into the 1 slot which is now the 6; then 7 8 9 and maybe 10. Come to a stop by down shifting to 6th (which is low and inside); then flip the selector back down and at about 5-10mph, slide up and away into 4th.

While you're doing that downshifting thing, brake just a little to lower your speed; let go the brake as you clutch (just part way); then tap the accelerator getting the rpms to about 1700 to slide into the lower gear (otherwise you grind and fight the gear). Unlearn the belief that accelerators and deceleration Don't go together. 

... So. Find your gears. Downshift. Plan your position for any turn. (Plus have other possible tasks come up, like your wipers, defroster, etc.) And do it while in motion in light traffic. ... The book is completely forgotten. But you're totally Engaged. It's very cool.

Another fascinating thing, speaking as a girl here now, is the comradery of men. Do they have ESP or something? They stand in clusters, hands in pockets, watching others do pre-trips or alley dock the truck. In the 40 degree rain. No talking. No problem. What's that about??

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.