Wednesday, July 15, 2009

#20 Learn How to Drive a Stick Shift

This task was also completed while we were visiting Brad and Aria over the July 4th weekend. Let me just tell you about Aria for a second. That girl makes stuff happen. She told me when we decided that we were coming down to visit that we were going to accomplish several things on my list - and we did! I didn't even have to remind her at all, she was on top of it. I got up on July 4th and she was up, ready and raring to teach me some driving! So we took her sporty little convertible Miata (could I have done my test drive in a more fun car??) over to the local high school parking lot and she taught me how to drive it. Let me just add that I have sort of been taught twice before. Once, my dad took me around a neighborhood when I was maybe 18 and another time, Corey took me around a neighborhood, as well, when I was maybe 21. Both were very brief and very stressful, if I recall correctly. And I completely forgot every thing about manual vehicles. But this experience was wonderful! Before we started, Aria taught me how to use the clutch, how the gears are essentially in the shape of an H if you trace the path from gear to gear and what to expect as far as stalling goes. I was sooooo afraid of stalling for some reason. So she told me that I was for sure going to stall, probably at least the first few times I tried to get going. Well, guess what? I didn't! I just waited until the 5th or 6th time! It seems that I got a little too comfortable after a few tries.

We proceeded to practice braking and first and second gear for about 15 or 20 minutes by just going around the parking lot. Then she took me around some tougher parts of the parking lot to practice going up through the 3rd and 4th gears. Then...she had me drive home! Granted, it was like a five minute drive with two left turns and a straight shot but STILL. It was quite exhilerating, actually. Aria said that I would learn very quickly when the car needed to shift gears and in my head I was like, "yeah right"...but, she was right. It becomes intuitive very quickly. I can't believe that I did it! I don't necessarily feel like I could just hop in a manual right now and go anywhere but I do feel like I could get from A to B if I had to in a pinch and that was really my goal! It is important that I drive one every once in a while, though, so I don't forget.

Aria was such a great teacher. She didn't make me feel stupid when I stalled or when I freaked because I didn't push the gear far enough into place and she made me feel like a rock star by praising how well I was doing the entire time. I can't say enough great things about this experience. Thanks so much, Aria, you were an AWESOME teacher!!


  1. What a great friend! My first car was a standard and I hated it at first, but now I'm so glad that I got it. I know that I can drive any type of car if I have to and I'm not restricted to only automatics. It's a great feeling! Good job!

  2. I smiled the whole time I read are such a stick drivin rock star. I am so proud. Make sure you do make it a point to practice..that will keep the edge off. YAY YOU!

  3. I have never been able to manage a stick shift. Good for you for learning how! What a great friend you have that taught you!