Many years ago when I started a job at a new organization, I was paired with an older tradesman and a younger apprentice.
For many weeks we three traveled together in a two door, bench seat work ute several times a day…to work, to different jobs then home again.
The older tradie always drove and from day one I considered the car was a piece of rubbish. The tradie would have to rev it hard in first gear then slip it straight into third gear…where it stayed…reving it’s head off. (‘H’ pattern manual gearbox) I assumed the gearbox was broken, or the selector…or something.
After quite some weeks an occasion came up where I was called upon to drive back to our workshop to get some parts from our storeman, then back to the worksite.
With some apprehension I took my place behind the wheel and turned the key…
Straight into first gear, I knew that one worked… rev like heck then into third.. chug, chug and away I went.
As I drove I gently tested out the gears to see if I could find second or fourth, to my great surprise they were both there, and working fine.
The ute drove great with not the slightest defect.
I didn’t say anything to my workmates but observed the tradie closely from then on. It was always the same…first gear, then third…
I wondered if the tradie didn’t know how to drive a manual and had been too embarrassed to say anything, or maybe he was just weird…
Toward the end of out three months together the apprentice had to go to trade school for a few days and with only the tradie and I in the car, he drove perfectly.
I was stunned.. I just had to ask!
In a very ‘matter of fact’ manner he simply said..
“I’m not putting my hand between another blokes legs…”
The apprentice you see, always sat in between us…with one leg either side of the gear stick… True story.