Thursday, January 17, 2008

Stick Shift

In 1978 Jilda and I had been married four years and she'd been driving a mangy 1967 Camera. It had a good motor but there were rust spots in the finders big enough to throw a dog through.
When I started to work for the phone company I bought me a little truck and a while later we went looking for her a new car.
We decided on the cheapest thing on the lot which was a brand new Honda Civic. No air, no power anything, and it was a stick shift. The only problem is that Jilda had never driven a stick shift. She looked inside the little vehicle and fell in love. It had a radio that really worked and the car just seemed to fit.
When the salesman asked her if she had any questions, she inquired about the extra pedal on the floor. "That's the clutch," he explained helpfully. He gave her some brief instructions - You put the shifter right here when you start off and when you pick up a little speed, you mash the clutch and put it here - and so forth."
She slid behind the wheel, mashed the clutch a little, ground that transmission into low gear and when she let off the clutch, the little bugger lurched up on the curb where the motor promptly died. But Jilda does not rattle easily. She cranked that engine, stomped the clutch in, revved up that engine and she burned rubber in three gears.
She was driving like Mario Andriette before we got to the Sumiton City Limits and every car we have owned since then (except for her Volvo) has been a stick shift.
Not sure what brought that story to mind, but here it is.

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