Sunday, February 06, 2011

Car snob

I am a car snob. I have no reason for it. My car is a Nissan Versa. This one. Yep, I still have that one. And I still love it.

It's really amusing to see my little car next to all of the other Mom Vehicles. SUV, SUV, van, SUV, van, my little car, van, SUV, van. The juxtaposition makes me smile.

My first car was a huge boat of a thing, one of those 70s classics. My dad bought it for me the night before I took my drivers test. (No pressure!) The shop class boys flocked around it before and after school, which amused me heartily since I was a nerd, and I seriously doubt they even knew my name. That huge boat of a car has probably colored my opinion of cars though. Since then, I've almost always had a small car.

My second car was an old Toyota. Manual transmission, which I didn't even know how to drive at the time I bought it. My previous experience was with my dad's old Ford truck with the shift on the column (not at all similar, which was a good thing since I thought it was difficult on the column) and my friend's mom's station wagon (which I ended up BACKING down the road because I couldn't even get it out of first gear). Of course, after having purchased the little Toyota, it was kind of a requirement to, you know, learn how to drive it. My dad took me out to one of the back roads and I drove. And drove and drove and drove.

And my snobbery began.

Turns out that I loved my manual transmission Toyota. Loved it. I drove it for a few years, then I moved out of town. The car was old, and I was always worried about driving such an old car with my daddy to far away to save me if I needed it. So my parents helped me find and buy another car. This time it was a 1987 Toyota Camry. Again with the manual transmission.

The Camry was owned by someone who drove a LOT. It was four years old when I bought it, and it had over 100,000 miles on it. But my dad (my mechanical genius) checked it out and said it looked good, so I bought it. Paid $6000 for it, and I drove it for nearly 12 years, when my dad pronounced it less reliable than I needed. I hated to get rid of her. The Grey Ghost was practically a member of the family.

I'll spare you the play-by-play on the other vehicles (one of them deserves her own post), but when I had the choice (read: Skeeter didn't need to drive it), I chose a manual transmission. My current vehicle is a manual transmission.

Not long ago, the urchins and I were discussing learning to drive, as Spyder will be learning pretty soon (ACK). It was never an issue whether he would learn on my (manual) or Skeeter's (automatic) vehicle. He will learn to drive a manual transmission. I'm indoctrinating them!

All kidding aside, I do think it's important. There were a couple of situations before I learned where I needed to drive one and couldn't (see above paragraph about backing down the road), and I don't want either of them to be unprepared if they are in similar situations someday. And maybe they will come to dear old mom's rescue when my old and arthritic joints can't manage the clutch or gearshift.



Susan said...

I so agree with this. We have several automatic cars, but one is manual and one day, all the automatics were gone and the girls needed to go somewhere but couldn't drive the manual. Not good! So we started to teach all our drivers then. It's harder than we thought though! I wished we would have taught them the stick shift first, then moved to an automatic. That's how I learned to drive.

Noodle said...

That's interesting, because I'm kind of wishing that I had an automatic to get him started. Just so that he wouldn't have to learn the gears and the blinkers and the brakes and and and all at once. And I KIND of want to get him started soon, since my husband travels so much. What if something happened, and he NEEDED to be able to drive. You know? AH, decisions!