This past year I purchased a brand new car. The vehicle is only the second one I’ve purchased where I was the original owner.
The first time I purchased a bare-bone “starter” vehicle: a charcoal gray hatchback with a standard transmission because back then, an automatic transmission cost more, and I was on a tight budget. The only problem was I didn’t know how to drive a manual transmission. I figured the best way to learn was to buy the car. Then I wouldn’t have a choice.
There were some funny moments those first couple of days. My younger brother still tells stories of me rolling backward at a traffic light on I-690 and panicking about it. But I did learn. And I loved driving a stick. There had been one or two occasions in the past when the ability to do so would have saved me some grief. It’s a handy skill to have.
Even after I mastered the ability, I encountered some amusing moments –that weren’t so amusing at the time.
My boss at the time had some fancy-schmancy sports car–low slung and long in the front. She was also very tall, maybe close to six feet. I am barely five feet tall. She needed me to drive her car . . . I don’t remember the details. The gist was “you know how to drive a manual transmission, my car needs to be someplace I can’t take it, please do this.” Except even with the seat pulled all the way up, I couldn’t reach the clutch. I was nearly fully reclined, barely able to see over the dashboard, driving in the city (i.e. lots of stop-and-go traffic), driving a hideously expensive sports car that didn’t belong to me.
That was a moment.