“Wait”, I hear you saying. “Shouldn’t a post about a computer manual be on Techie the Frog, not Smackie.” Well, if I were actually going to write about a computer manual then it would be. But instead I am going to write about a manual transmission. And what everyone out there who doesn’t have one is missing.
When I bought my new car the salesman said that Honda had done studies and apparently only around 10% of drivers anymore know how to drive a manual transmission. I’m not sure I believe that it is that low, but I do believe that it is pretty low. I feel like most of my friends don’t know how to drive a stick, and even many adults that I know don’t really know how to drive one, or drive one well anyway. And all of them are missing out.
Driving an automatic transmission can be so passive. You put the car in drive, press down the gas and point. Now I’m not saying that this isn’t complicated, but it is rather low key. You can drive the car with two limbs; an arm to steer and a leg to work the gas and brake. When you are driving, you don’t really have to think about the condition of the car, just the position of the car.
A manual transmission is completely different. Suddenly you are responsible for shifting the gears, not the transmission. This means that every time you want to even want to move you are going to have to interact with the clutch, and probably the shifter at least multiple times. You are no longer just pointing the car where you want it to go. You are controlling the speed of the engine in a much more direct way.
I realize that this sounds really lame. As I’m writing this I’m having trouble explaining why exactly it is so much fun to drive a stick. The extra control is nice. Having more to do is certainly fun. Even the action of moving the shifter around in exciting. But there is also something more that I can’t explain. It is intangible.
So here is what I am going to offer. If you live in the STL area and don’t know how to drive a stick, I’ll give you the chance to drive my car for an hour. We can go to a parking lot, I’ll teach you how to do it, and you can drive it around for a bit.
But who am I kidding? No one is going to take me up on this. It is too easy to just put a car in drive and go…