Is it possible, just maybe, for someone to steal the reverse gear in your car? I have had windscreen wipers taken before, and I have heard of kids walking away with the wheels, leaving your car resting on four bricks, but yesterday, I seriously considered the idea that someone had stolen my reverse gear!
The problem was that I had been away for a week, driving around in a hired car. It was a small nippy little thing, with a flat back end, a boot too small to take hold my suitcase and a reverse gear in a different place from my own car. I had zipped all over the Warwickshire countryside and in that short week I had got used to it.
Once back at home, we thought we would do an emergency shop for bread and milk, just to tide us over. Could I find the reverse gear on my car? According to the diagram on my gear stick it was on the far left, but no matter what I did, we just went forwards. I tried pushing the gear stick downwards and then shifting it over - still we inched forwards. We must had tried every combination possible, but still we inched forward. I have been driving that car for three years and I could not find the reverse gear! I was well and truly defeated and almost at the stage of taking off the brake and physically pushing it backwards.
I took a toilet break. Is it possible, I challenged myself to still drive my car, but never need to use the reverse gear? Mentally, I was adding up the money in the savings account and leafing through the yellow pages to get a garage to come collect the car and mend my obviously broken gear-box!
My husband, not the driver in our family, while I had been away playing out a million scenarios in my head, took out the manufacturer's handbook from the glove compartment. As I approached the car, he was leaning on the roof, grinning like the Cheshire cat. There in black and white, complete with a diagram, was the simple manoeuvre I had been putting into practice, without thinking about it, for the last three years - lift the gear stick and shift to the left!
How is it possible to forget something like that? What state of "mush" must my brain be in? The hired car has to take some of the blame, surely, but as for the rest..?