Yield

I spent a good part of the early afternoon walking around an automobile agency looking at cars to replace the one I’m driving now.  I dread this.  But it’s the price one pays for leasing rather than buying.  

The last time I did this — about 4 years ago — I drive my (their) RAV-4 back to the Toyota dealer to exchange it for another one, similarly equipped.  It was our third one.  Cars don’t mean much to me.  All I want in my car is reliability, some level of comfort, and economy.  For a long time, those three basic virtually defined Toyota.   

I have one indulgence: a sun roof.  And I want a manual transmission.  

Since 1986, when I drove home my very first Toyota (a little black Corolla GTS with an unbelievable engine), I’ve had nothing but stick shifts.  Guido and I have to be the only remaining American household with two manual transmission vehicles.  And PS — I drove that Corolla for 20 years before I totaled what was left of it.  

Long story short: there are no more manual transmissions.  Not in the RAV-4, anyway.  Now they have some gigundo thing that looks like a Humvee which can be bought equipped with a stick, but it’s ‘way out of my budget and it drinks  fuel like a garage drain.   

That’s how I ended up last time driving the single ugliest car on the road: a Scion XB the color of moldy Gulden’s mustard.  It was okay — stick shift, sun roof, plenty of room, and got ‘er done, but I don’t want another one.  It’s not even that 4 years later people still point at it to giggle and sneer.  I want the SUV style and functionality of the RAV-4.  So it looks like my gear-shifting days are over.  

Why stick shifts have become endangered species is completely beyond me, especially when the price of gas is $4/gallon, but then again, I was delighted using DOS and WordPerfect, and I prep to shave with a mug of shaving soap and a beaver tail brush.  I was an old fart years before I got old.  I was born an old fart.  I want to shift gears.  So sue me.  Or just point, giggle, and sneer.  Say — isn’t that an accounting firm?

But I suspect this era is about to end.  I will go back to my former practice of braking with my left foot, and keeping the car in gear down ramps and approaching stop lights.  I will slow down and brake before rounding corners instead of down-shifting.  What a drag.  How lazy.  How American.  

Makes me wonder who the old farts really are.
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5 Responses to Yield

  1. julesagray says:

    I drive a stick. Always have, always will. Keeps me awake when the meth finally wears off.

  2. ya' gotta guessit says:

    Look for a small pickup, squathole – a 5-speed manual & 4 cylinder engine = great gas mileage.
    They come with 4WD, too – you can pull stumps on weekends.

  3. Spanish Fly says:

    I’ve always been a big fan of stick shift transmissions.

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