Submitted by megan on Mon, 09/21/2009 - 21:46
When I first became the part-owner of a stick-shift car, one of my co-workers told me I'd love it. She said "Once you learn, you'll never go back. You'll find it boring."
You know what I want to be boring? Driving my car.
I'd always wanted to know how to drive standard. Like learning to mouse with my left hand, it was part of my Emergency Preparedness Plan. What if I have to drive someone to the hospital, and they only have a standard car? I do not want to be like our old neighbour on our doorstep, her bleeding kid across the street, querulously asking if the car she can borrow is automatic.
The big problem is that I thought I'd be pretty good at it. I'm reasonably mechanically inclined, can generally figure out how things work and how to take them apart and put them back together. I thought this might come in handy.
I'm not sure why.
Because it really doesn't matter if you understand how the clutch operates the bits of the engine it pulls apart and lets touch again if you have a hard time making your appendages do different things at the same time.
Thus, it has taken me a year to be even kind of comfortable driving my car. I'm still not great at talking while I'm trying to drive in the city, and still can't have music or the radio on because I need to be able to hear the engine.
All in all, though, I'm pretty happy about where I am. I'll never be great at driving standard, but that's alright. It was fucking hard for me to learn, and rubbed a few of my soft spots raw. It made me cry on numerous occasions, thankfully mostly in private. A few times the adrenaline of maybe not making that hill start has made my legs shake so hard I've had to pull over. I damn near gave up on several counts and occasions.
But I didn't.
As a result, you may please feel free to call me in any kind of driving emergency. As long as there are no hills between where you are and the nearest hospital.