Thursday, July 17, 2008
While I was home last week, I was fortunate enough to drive my Dad's car. It's a stick shift. I learned how to drive on my parents' stick shift mini van, back when you could still buy those. Driving stick shift is becoming more rare, but is still a useful skill. I find it's much more labor intensive - but once you get the hang of it, it's not much different than driving an automatic.
We don't have a stick shift on either of our current vehicles. They're both automatic, for various reasons.
So I found myself, the other day, trying to shift my automatic into the next gear. I had just dropped my car pool partner off, and a friend of his was sitting on his steps waiting for him to get home. It was a little awkward, as the friend was shouting "Hi, who are you? I can't see you." from the front step to my car. We've met before, but obviously, he didn't remember me.
The point of this story is, as I was driving away, I wasn't thinking about what I was doing. I was just automatically shifting, as I'm used to with a manual transmission. All of a sudden, I realized I was trying to shift into park, driving down through this residential neighborhood. It was the sound of the grinding gears that woke me out of my daze.
I believe there is such a thing as physical memory - at least in certain situations, our brains revert back to habit.
I've actually had this happen to me in the past, driving automatic transmissions. I had just thought I was over it.