Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A Disappearing Skill

Back when the earth was still cooling, I signed up for driver’s ed class at Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, Virginia.
I had a choice of the car I would train on: standard versus automatic transmission. I chose standard, figuring that way I’d know how to drive either one.

          Through the majority of our married life, our cars have always been standard. It’s only over the past few years that we’ve become lazy and abandoned the whole clutch and shifting thing.

          As a result, our kids had no choice when it came time for them to practice before getting their licenses. I remember driving around and around a church parking lot with our son, and I still recall my daughter attempting to turn off of a busy street while tilted on a slight rise. Anyone who’s ever dealt with a clutch knows the delicate balance necessary between releasing the clutch while pressing on the gas. This isn’t helped by inexperience and people honking behind you. We made it finally, but we still remember her plaintive, “Why can’t we have an automatic like my friends?” Later, though, she took pride in the fact that she knew how to shift, unlike most of the boys in her class.

          What prompted all this was a story in the news today.

          It seems two young men received a ride from a man in his BMW. Once they’d arrived, they pistol whipped him, threw him out of the car, and attempted to drive off.

Unsuccessfully, since they couldn’t get it into gear.

          To solve this, they leapt out of the car and began kicking it (my favorite part of this). While they were occupied, the owner of the car jumped back in, drove off, and sent police back to the site of the attempted car-jacking. The dynamic duo were still there, looking for a cell phone they’d lost (it was later found in the car).




  1. How infantile. Too many kids are like that.

  2. Great story. I've always driven a stick, have a 6-speed now and love it.

  3. Oh my! I drive a stick shift, always have and now I'm sure glad. But nobody would be interested in my old Honda, so I think I'm safe. Great story! :-)

  4. Well done BMW owner. I love it when potential criminals get caught through their own stupidity :)

  5. I love this story! not that the man got pistol whipped but yeah.Every car I have ever owned was a standard up until we bought the the Camry 3 years ago. both our kids learned on standard transmissions. I still prefer a standard to an automatic and prevailed when we bought a new truck about 8 years ago but when it came time for a new car, this was the one the husband wanted.


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