Thursday, November 03, 2005

baby, you CAN'T drive my car

This bit at Slate is pretty funny -- Emily Yoffe tried and failed to learn how to drive a stick shift.

Well, I'm part of that slowly disappearing minority of Americans who CAN drive a stick. And I am part of the 10% who bought a car with the manual transmission, not the wussified automatic transmission that only the worthless and weak* rely on.

I like manual transmissions. They're cheaper, more reliable, better on gas, and give more control. Plus it's just cool to be able to shift. It's like an archaic frontier skill, like being able to build a barn or make clothes out of burlap or quote the Declaration of Independence from memory. And I think Yoffe was on to something -- the rise of the automatic transmission is at least partly responsible for the obesification of America. If you own a stick shift, you can't munch on a Mega-Mad-Cow Burger, drink a Gallon of Cola, and nibble at an order of Idaho** Fries while driving down the highway...

*"worthless and weak" should be read with an Austro-Californian or possibly Hans-and-Franz accent in mind for the best effect

** so named because they are half the size of the state of Idaho