Yet another car-related one, big surprise.
I was trying to parallel park the car on a hill -- a challenge I might've avoided under different circumstances, but it was a big spot, the street was quiet, and no one was around. In the past couple of weeks, my driving has gotten much better: I almost never stall even with all the stop and go traffic around here, I can get the car into and out of our tiny garage with ease, I shift at the right time without grinding gears, and I don't hyperventilate anymore -- except on hills. This is my biggest challenge. So, when I saw this chance to practice without anyone around, I jumped at it.
I pulled up next to the the car in front, took a deep breath, and got ready to back into the spot. The nose of the car was pointing downhill, so of course when I started backing into the spot, I rolled forward..and panicked and stalled the car. Unfazed, I restarted the car and tried again...and overcompensated and gave it too much gas, nearly taking out the street sign...and then stalled, again. Still unfazed, I pulled out and tried one more time. This time, I did fine, only rolled forward a little and reversed without stalling. But my angle was wrong and I ended up too far on the sidewalk (everyone here parks on the sidewalk, but this was a bit too far, like nearly on the boulangerie's doorstep).
I pulled out one more time, and this time thought I'd experiment with using the parking brake to keep me from rolling forward -- something I haven't yet mastered. Well, I still don't have it: I stalled the car yet again. Restarted and tried one more time. Now I thought I'd experiment with letting the clutch out to the point where the car starts to shake before moving my foot from the brake to the gas, thinking I might be able to get moving a little faster this way. I did -- way faster than I expected, causing me to nearly take out the street sign again, panic and stall the car one more time. Confident that I had it now, I restarted the car, and backed into the parking spot perfectly without rolling forward at all.
Feeling triumphant, I started to get out of the car -- and noticed a group of men standing around, laughing and pointing. I had been so engaged with my task, I didn't even see them before. Hoping they'd go away, I sat in the car a minute or two, digging through my purse and trying to look busy. But they didn't. In fact, they called over another friend and pointed me out to him. Since I was now nearly late to pick up the kids, I had no choice but to get out and face the crowd. As I got out, they burst into a loud round of applause, complete with whistling and cheering.
What else could I do but take a bow, then walk away with my face blazing, hoping that they'd have dispersed by the time I got back to the car with the kids.