Thursday, July 17, 2008

Manual Transmission

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.

1 comment:

Freckle Face Girl said...

I actually have a manual transmission, so I know what you mean. Your story reminded me of when my mom got her first automatic. I was 8. My baby brother (toddler at the time) used to sit on the arm rest in the front seat (before seat belt laws). My mom used her clutch foot to slam on the breaks & he flew into the dashboard & chipped a chunk out of it. Fun times!