Friday, July 17, 2009

Secret 10: No manual transmissions

If a car has one of these:

I can't drive it. Oh, I've tried, but it has not gone well.

In high school a friend let me drive his mustang on a two lane highway. I killed it at about 55mph. Not just that I couldn't get it in gear, I actually killed it. I've had people wonder how the hell I did that as they didn't think it was possible but I most definitely did. I had to pull over in a hurry so as not to cremate the car. Mike never let me drive again (I think he was a little peeved).

I tried again around '99 or 2000. We had a car dealer license on the side and had gotten a Jeep Cherokee that was a wee bit temperamental. The back of the driver's seat had been broken by the last owner (a very nice boy at the University's metal shop tried to weld it back together but that only lasted a couple weeks) so you can imagine it wasn't the most cared for car there ever was. I killed it at EVERY SINGLE STOPLIGHT. No exaggeration. I tried to drive this thing for about a week until I finally threw my hands up in frustration and sent it to the car dealer auction and got myself a nice automatic (And a convertible. A very cheap but very fun car). It was not meant to be. Luckily however, according to this site (which is also the source of the pic) only about 6% of cars are manual anymore.

Now I have another attempt at it because my father very graciously gave me his old car (since the gas mileage is much better than my truck) but I just can't and I don't really have a place to store it anyway now that I've moved. So, since he was going to give it to charity origially if I didn't take it I think I'll be donating it and send the reciept to him for his taxes.

There is one car I would make an exception for, however. For this car I would try again. And again, and again, and again:

My parents had a 1972 Porsche 914 in baby blue when I was little. In the 1st grade I would miss the bus on purpose so my dad would have to drive me to school in it. I asked him once, after the car had sat unmoving for 15 years, if I could buy it from him. He said, and this is a direct quote, "What would you do with it? You're a girl." OMG, he raised 5 girls! I could not believe he said that. Two years later he GAVE it away (to a guy, of course). Now my oldest sister, Big-Big, has it and it's still unmoving. I wonder what she would want for it?...


  1. If you don't learn how to drive a manual transmission, how are you ever going to drive the Murcielago? ;-)

  2. Fidgeting Gidget just talked about this today too and I'll tell you the same thing: What if you're out in the desert and husband passes out and you have no way of getting out of the desert except driving a manual? You have to learn! Besides, all the best cars are manuals...Just do it. We'll practice over labor day :)

  3. I know how to do it but wonder if I still could since it's been about 20 years since I have. My ex used complain I went "up" the gears fine but had trouble down shifting

  4. That Porsche happens to be my husband's favorite. He restores the old 356's but that particular model is his favorite.

    I've found that learning to drive a standard is best done over an extended period of time, with many breaks and allowances for temporary failures. It can most certainly be intimidating but it is very possible to master. And when you've mastered it, you feel like the Queen of the Road!

    I'm sad that only 6% of cars are manual now. I prefer them because they make driving an Experience! They make me feel like a Professional. I can hear the magic of the engine bending to my will as I push it further into gear. But then again...I'm not an average girl when it comes to mechanical things. I guess not everyone feels that way.

  5. Aha! Perfect... Blog Camp. We need to get the Porsche running before Labor Day so you can go practice driving it that weekend. No sense in ruining a perfectly good relationship when you have friends to help you instead. (kidding) :)

  6. Oh don't forget the time before Mike's Mustang... I remember you driving a stick when you and I were 14/15. We had to work late and Miguel (our co-worker) was supposed to drive us home. Unfortunately, he drank an entire bottle of wine while at work that night and then went to the bar across the street for more. You wouldn't let him drive so you drove us home in his truck (without a licence and with a drunk co-pilot yelling at you not to kill it or speed and get caught.) Oh to be teenagers again!
    -Lee (Little-Little)

  7. In the UK EVERYONE drives a manual (stick shift) car, or at least passes their test in one. Automatics are getting more popular, but they are by no means common. I drove an automatic as a teenager as my mum had one, but since then I've always had a manual car.

    We recently got our first, family automatic car and MrSpud is still getting used to it!

  8. I'll make you a deal of a lifetime Big-Little... Learn to drive a stick, and Gretta the "blue phrog" is yours. With memories of riding behind the driver seat, with my hair streaming, in the long ago days days before seatbelt laws... I have a dream to restore her, which is why I've kept her. But, the opportunity to drive her on a windy country road, on a few sunny days with the Targa top off... would be enough for me. I'd even let you practice driving with my Lola. Love, Big-Big


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