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H4H: Stick Shift December 17, 2014

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

Over the weekend, my next-door neighbor, Lynda, bought a brand-new car: a VW Jetta sedan. It’s beautiful. Her decade(plus?)-old Passat needed new tires, and it had a bazillion miles on it, and it was time to think about not getting new tires but trading up (especially after getting stranded during last week’s snowstorm). And despite considering used-new, she opted for new-new, and I’m very excited for her.

But what I’m most excited about? She bought standard transmission.

Is my excitement Freudian? Probably. Is it tribal? Possibly. Is it snobbish? Yes.

Two years ago, when Tim traded his 11-year-old Honda Civic in for a new one, I nearly wrote a blog post titled “How Old Is Too Old to Drive a Stick?” We had owned seven cars in our lifetime together, and not one of them was an automatic. Had we stayed in the city, no doubt we would have given in—Tim’s back could not take a standard T in traffic, and even I admit it’s a total drag. But we moved to Vermont just in time, and I was adamant about manual transmission. It feels like you have so much more control. It feels like you’re actually driving. It feels cool.

It turned out that the car Tim was buying two years ago was not even available in manual transmission. The other day someone told me that Subaru isn’t making Outbacks with manual transmission anymore. I have not looked into this. I don’t want to hear it. (Lalala, I’m not listening!)

For the last couple of months, since I read someone’s post about needing to replace a clutch, I’ve been thinking about polling my Facebook friends to see how many people own stick shifts. I suspect it’s almost no one.

And then Lynda went and bought one.

And I think that is so cool.



1. Bridgett - December 17, 2014

Very nice. I consider my job as parent complete when my children can read, swim, and drive a stick.

2. Mali - December 30, 2014

I was convinced I’d responded to this. I remembered a whole discussion. Then I realised – it was on Fb. I grew up when we all learned to drive a manual (stick) car. It’s only in recent years that autos have become more prominent. Adjusting back can be a pain, but it isn’t hard. I’d much prefer an automatic though – it’s especially frustrating in a city that is surrounded by hills, which means we’re changing gears up and down all the time. Basically though, I drive to get places, not really to drive.

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