by Karen Seaboyer

I owned my first car for a month before I drove it to work.

Jackson Yellowe the Wonderbug was the most exciting toy I’d bought myself and yet I couldn’t play with it. Friends offered to teach me to drive a gearshift, but it was autumn and dark on weeknights. We toodled around on weekends, doing circles in the UBC Thunderbird Stadium parking lot. Then changing direction.

One Saturday afternoon was spent driving back and forth in a vast, barren parking lot that was used for Cirque du Soleil’s tent village in later years. But this time it was used for my humiliating attempts at driving my bright yellow car (not easily camouflaged) without stalling it – and maybe even going fast enough to change gears.

The loitering teenagers hanging out on the sidelines saw me bunny-hopping across the lot and restarting the car every 20 seconds when I stalled it. (That clutch was a real menace.) They shouted out “Wanna drag race?!” just to instill more confidence.

Eventually I got the hang of it, but was told, “When you learn to drive this, you’ll be able to drive ANYTHING.”