Memory: Driving a Stick

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.

One thought on “Memory: Driving a Stick

  1. janina says:

    Congratulations on your new car! 🙂

    I used to work for a car dealership, and I was “the swap manager” at one point. I would pick up the cars at other dealers and bring them back for clients who were waiting to purchase them.
    Finally, the day came where I had to pick up a standard transmission, white, 200SX with leather interior. IN Jersey. (The dealership was middle-east Long Island.)

    I did it. But I learned soon after the sale the dealer had to replace the transmission for the new owner. Under warranty of course. 😀 Oops.

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