Driver converted | The Life of K: Driver converted

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Driver converted

Growing up we always had big cars: a late 60s Chevy BelAir, a mid 80s Buick LeSabre and Pontiac Parisienne. Big cars are often automatic transmission so that's what I learned to drive. Most of the people I knew also learned to drive automatics but it was always a goal of mine to learn to drive standard.

I got my chance when I started dating J who was driving a little Saturn at the time. Well, I "learned" and drove it a few times but only late at night or on cottage roads. I never felt like I got it and never felt comfortable behind the wheel. One time I actually pulled over on the highway in stop-and-go traffic because I was so frustrated. Clutching is hard.

My real, no going back, chance happened when we traded in our Mazda 3 (loved that car!) for the Yaris we have now. We chose a standard because J really wanted it and I knew it was the only way I was going to learn.

I looked into lessons because we all know what it's like to have your spouse teach you something: hell. Booking and taking lessons is time consuming and costs money so we braved it and I learned to drive the car. Our marriage survived.

It was a high stress time in my life (one of our cats passed away and I had a miscarriage) but I did it. It wasn't easy and driving, something I always loved, was a chore. I didn't go anywhere by myself unless I absolutely had to and only after I was sure there was no way to change plans.

A year and a half later, I don't even think about it. Standard is the standard and shifting and clutching is second nature so when I drove an automatic car last week I was completely thrown off.

Being the awesome person I am (it's my blog, I can say I'm awesome) I drove L and Baby R to the airport and picked her up and babysat her car for a weekend. L came over Thursday just as J was getting home from work. I gave him Baby J and me, L and Baby R piled in her car. I drove. It was so strange. Not having to clutch and shift felt like I was cheating or dreaming. It was surreal.

Hard to believe that just over a year ago I couldn't participate in conversations while driving because it took that much concentration. I've come so far.

S&L have a peppy little car and the whole time I was driving it I wanted nothing more than for it to be a manual transmission so I could be in total control. Apparently I've been converted. I never understood why J claimed that driving stick was fun. I do now. A test drive of that peppy little car, in a manual, is in my future.

For the sake of driving. Consider me converted.


  1. What's the peppy car? We're talking cars over here too, and opinions are always welcome. Our 97 mazda MPV is good for where we live but a wee bit too unreliable now.

  2. I've always wanted to learn how to drive a standard, because you never know when you might have to. Good for you for sticking with it!:)

  3. Congratulations my awesome, generous, caring friend on completing your conversion to a standard driver!

    @Capt The peppy car is a 2007 VW GTI. It has a wicked fun direct-shift gearbox.
    I'm going to go drive my car now. I love my car.