Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Drive a Stick

When I was 16 or 17 years old I needed to drive my Grandfathers S-10 pickup truck. It was the only car available at the time and I had to do something important. The car was a manual transmission or as I always said "a stick." I had no idea how to drive it. My mother, who grew up knowing how to drive a stick since near birth, had no idea how to explain how to drive the car to me. She just knew how to do it! So with brief instruction and a toss of the keys I was driving.

I was actually screeching, lurching, stalling and cursing. I cannot remember ever reaching my destination. I can't remember getting home. I can only seem to recall the first hour of the drive. I think I was only going 5 or 6 miles.

My second attempt at driving a stick was just about as horrifying. It was the car I had just purchased. The dealer handed me the key and I asked him if he could teach me how to drive it! (I really did ask) He declined.

I went back the next day, having to take the bus, with my boyfriend at the time. I managed to drive my brand new 1987 Chevy Sprint (in metallic blue) off the lot, with a little bit of coaxing from my boyfriend. He didn't have a drivers license, but he taught me how to drive. We didn't choose the main road in Albuquerque, NM. to terrorize, just an incredibly busy side road with about 400 stop signs. Once again the familiar screeching, lurching, stalling and cursing came right back to me. After an hour or so I finally got the hang of it.

I taught one of my sisters how to drive my Sprint one year. It was Easter Sunday and we found an empty parking lot for her to learn. I think learning how to drive a stick while NOT in traffic is much much easier. My heart rate wasn't nearly as high as when i learned. It took her an hour to get the hang of it, but of course she really learned how to drive the car when she got out on real roads. I was so proud of her. She has a skill that few people know these days.

I think everyone should learn how to drive a stick. If you vacation outside of the United States you will find that a lot of rental cars are sticks.

That sounds so funny - the cars aren't actually sticks with wheels hahaha

A lot of sports cars are sticks. And who doesn't want to drive a sports car once in their life!

Think about learning how to drive one. It only takes a day and the skill will be with you for life.

I'm curious though - how many of you already have the skill? Is it because you grew up on a farm, had a Chevy Sprint in 1987 or a Honda Civic in the 1980's, or some other reason... let me know!


Vered - MomGrind said...

I can drive a stick!

I learned how to drive in Israel, and they teach manual transmission over there. It's the standard. Well maybe it has changed since (it was 20 years ago, I'm old).

It gives you so much more control over the car's performance than automatic transmission.

Tammy said...

Ok, do not let my husband see this post. I have NEVER learned how to drive a stick shift and my husband tried to teach me how while we were dating. And we still got married and I don't drive his car!

Susan said...

Yup, I can drive a stick shift. I a Chevy with a manual transmission when I was in college. Decent little car, but certainly not a sports car. And when I met my husband he had a S-10 pickup that was a stick shift. He loved that truck. We just recently got rid of it. Always called it Old Faithful.