Late entry today, as I’ve been running around town all morning. Due to the “bambi incident” (as my father is calling it) my new car is now at the body shop, hopefully getting made good as new. In the meantime, transportation wise, I’ve gone retro, borrowing the old Honda Civic from my parents that I drove for years. It’s a 1992, a bit battered, and a stick shift.
I have to say that while I love my automatic, especially in stop and start traffic, there’s just something really nice about driving a stick. My first car was an automatic, and I remember when I got my second, an Accord that was a manual, I had to get a crash course in driving it. My brother, then living on a Zen Buddhist retreat in California, taught me initially. He was a VERY good driving teacher, as I remember—must have been all that meditating—barely flinching as we lurched and stalled out around a local parking lot. “See,” he’d say, all calm, as the engine cut off again, “that’s what happens when you don’t hit the clutch in time.” Later, my husband took over, and while also good, he was not quite as calm, clutching what he refers to as the Oh S**t handle, right above the passenger window, the entire time. Eventually I took to practicing at night, when I got off from work at the Burrito and the roads were pretty clear. I’d just go from neighborhood to neighborhood, slowing, stopping, practicing on hills (one of which I rolled all the way down, thankful no one was behind me). Eventually I got it, and then was so comfortable that years later, when I was buying my first car all by myself, I was adamant that I didn’t want an automatic. In the end, I got one, and promptly got spoiled by it. I’m so used to driving that way, actually, that I was nervous this morning pulling out of my parents garage, worried I’d roll back down their driveway. But no. It all comes back, more easily than you’d think.
The only downside? No working A/C. Which, on a day when the heat index is supposed to be above 100, is kind of a drag. Nostalgia aside, I won’t be sad to get my car back, is all I’m saying. Driving a stick is fun and all, but let’s not get ridiculous.