I can't exactly pinpoint the date. But the vivid remembrance of that day when a whole world “that mattered” had a good laugh on me is still present in my memory. It happened to me in late seventies and while in a process of becoming a smarty kid. I was at age of ten, perhaps twelve.
You know... In late seventies and mostly at the weekends we could find as many fathers down at the parking lot or in front of their garages, with a screwdriver in a hand and a head inside a car engine compartment. They were adjusting intakes and gasoline/air mixtures or some other fucking liquid levels. And for hours at times. The shit, we thankfully must do no more. They will check the tyre pressure, preignition timing, belt tension or simply will start polishing the shiniest-shine they could pull out of shiny chrome. Whatever. And characteristically of that time, all the openings on the car that did have the door, will have the fucking door opened at all times. An unnecessary and ridiculous must do. The cars looked as if crucified.
And a bunch of mostly small kids were there to. Yeah, we the boys. The girls went somewhere else, doing their kind of shit. We, the boys, were exercising a fetish over the crucified car and our all important & knowledgable fathers, that one day we will be like.
So, I was sitting in the driving seat of a crucified car and farting from time to time while my father head was somewhere inside the engine compartment. I’m turning the steering wheel left-right and manually shifting throughout all 5 gears. Up and down and up again, daydreaming a day when I will be a famous F1 driver like Niki Lauda. I was racing at unbelievably high speed, while in reality the handbrake was up, engine key was naturally out of lock and the head of my father was safely inside the engine compartment. In my daydream, I was burning some slick tires, smoke was coming out of disc brakes and car was endlessly spinning in circles. Fire, smoke & confetti everywhere. Right there in front of all other stupid ugly shitty kids, naturally being the only one that can do that. You know, like the shit the boys dream about when they go to bed. Like savagely killing hundreds of mans just for fun, right before we fall to sleep. Feeling safer, you know.
The problem was that the clutch pedal on those ancient cars were very hard to press. You needed kinda big force just to hit the bottom. And on top of such unpleasant inconvenience, sometimes I wanted to hold it steadily for minutes as I was shifting. So, I've grown a fucking problem. A pain in my stretched little tiny left leg that was prematurely ending my play. So, faced with an immense first world problem, here we go... a fast & fresh young brain at work!
In a split of a second I envisioned a system with semi-manual gearbox. Nothing like boring American automatic disaster (P-R-N-1234). I designed a manual racing gearbox where with a help of hydraulic, the clutch will work magic on its own. The driver needs only to command a stick, no clutch pedal is to be manipulated. With that, wow! I could keep fantasising forever without the fucking pain in my shitty tiny leg. I saw electro valves, analog sensors, hydraulic tubes and a whole drawing of this brilliant fucking system right there in my stupid head. Genius!
I jumped out of crucified car, and filled with a bliss went directly to my father. I pulled his head out of engine compartment and start explaining the next big thing. Once I finished tantalising the idea of a gearbox with no clutch, he asked:
How do you move the clutch?
There's no clutch pa, hydraulics miraculous I explained. You pull the stick and… then sensor… and so you move and… and…
hahah.. ahaha…. brahaHAHA… HAHAHAHAHAHAHA…
FUCK, NO CLUTCH. WHY DO YOU WANT THAT?
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAH HAHAHAH HAAAAAA AHAHAHAHahhaaaaaaa…… fuuuck that.
Then he used the opportunity to light a filter Morava Blue cigarette and had a relaxed smoke. I went back to that driving seat more pissed then ever before. I knew I was right, damn. And I was ready for a revenge. Just wait. You. Over there.
Fast forward for some 25 years. I'm gliding throughout the city streets in a brand new SMART car that I’ve just bought and pulled out of shop. It has the same exact gearbox I have envisioned on that fucking day. A semi-manual gearbox with two buttons, one shifts up other shifts down and with no clutch in sight. A hydraulics miraculous. I won. You lose. Revenge is sweet!
Although my father (his name was Borislav) died sometime in the middle of those 25 years, I know he rolled at least once in a grave on that day. Just for fun and good old times. And I had a smile at my face for a whole fucking week. Like an idiot.:-D
Borislav was a cool father. I've learned from him a shitload of screwdriver art and a bunch of life threatening reality stuff that’s waiting for me. But in this particular anecdote, the story was not that he was unwillingly mean, had laughed on me and then afterward I felt bad. Nope. Not even revenge matter here. He showed me one more thing.
He didn't get it only because he didn't have a problem. He couldn't understand why I don't want a fucking clutch. He didn't felt a fucking pain.
“Never underestimate somebody with a problem to solve.”