Sue, my older brother’s high school friend, possessed the 1980s high school trifecta; a sense of style, popularity, and a tan. To me everything Sue did was cool. The absolute coolest thing about Sue was the way she drove. Sue drove barefoot with her seat so far back her tanned toes scarcely touched the pedals. I very much wanted to be cool like Sue when I learned to drive. I knew I could not drive barefoot as my fair skinned Irish toes would look like corpse feet on the pedals. But I certainly could have a cool driver’s seat position.
A few weeks after receiving my driver’s license, with my seat set Sue-style, I drove too close to the garage and “scraped” my mom’s Cutlass Supreme. I chalked the accident up to my inexperienced driving not realizing my seat position may have been the cause of the “scraping.”
Over the next few weeks, despite the scraping incident, my dad agreed to teach me to drive his Ford Escort which sported manual transmission. I thought I was so cool learning to drive stick as none of my friends were stick shift drivers. Plus, once I learned to drive the Ford Escort, I would feel doubly cool because then I could drive a stick shift, Sue-style.