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. You ARE awesome! :)

  2. 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.

  3. 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!:)

  4. 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.