How to Drive a Stick Shift For Dummies

Today I had a  flashback to when I was eighteen, poor and driving the most beat up old truck ever. I think life hands you these humbling moments to give you perspective. As in this afternoon in San Diego when I embarrassed the shit out of myself by not being able to put the SUV my boyfriend had just purchased to tow behind the RV into first gear. Yes, it would appear that I forgot how to drive a stick shift. At the same time that I was being humbled by a Japanese clutch I was also having a flash back to India and judging someone else who was having a hard time driving a clutch. After this afternoon on the streets of San Diego I feel like poo for criticizing how someone else drives a stick shift.

When I was eighteen years old, my first truck was terrible. It was an eighty nine Dodge and I loved it but it stunk to high hell, it overheated every day in the summer time and it had the kind of clutch that you would expect an eighty nine Dodge with 90,000 miles to have.

These days I drive a Subaru and the Subaru clutch is very smooth. I am spoiled rotten by my new Subaru (That I just paid off last week! Yea) It took a stock model four banger Suzuki SUV stick shifts to put my driving tactics to the test today.

I mean that is if I could get the damn thing to engage into first gear. My boyfriend had just taken it for a fifteen minute drive around El Cajon, no problems at all. I knew it had to be me, as the seller of the car stared at me like I was a dumb dumb.

It turned out it was just the stickiest clutch ever and even though I was giving it a ton of gas it was not enough. I eventually did manage to get the SUV in gear and we began to make our way home to Big Bear Lake through the fun of San Diego traffic. San Diego is at least two hours to the south of our snowy mountain home, and that is without terrible San Diego traffic.Stick shift-Big Bear Lake

Oh but not before I got my hand stuck in the driver’s side window as I was driving.

I swear these things only, only happen to me.

The seller had told us that the front drivers side window stuck just a bit and I saw this just as soon as I started driving. I kept trying to get it up, to no avail and meanwhile trying to drive this really tricky clutch, in city traffic no less! I finally grabbed onto the window with both hands and tugged up which was great as the window finally started to close! But I was so surprised,  and watching the traffic ahead of me that my left hand got completely stuck in the closed window apparatus! My knuckles were screaming pressed up against the glass as I took my hand off the stick, to try to lower the window with my right hand. My boyfriend was following me to make sure our thousand dollar car purchase made it back to the mountains okay and I was positive he had just witnessed everything that had happened but when we met up at The Yardhouse for dinner halfway through the drive in Temecula, he said he hadn’t noticed anything at all. Yea me?

Now that I have made it safely back to our mountain home and I feel like I have conquered our new tow car (The Toad) I feel like poo for judging one of my boyfriends relatives back on the crazy cow filled roads of India when she had a hell of a time driving a stick shift. I feel like she must have had a sticky clutch that runs super hard just like The Toad and I feel so judgmental for judging her for stalling it and driving so jerky. Some old cars are just toads. And the people who drive them deserve a pat on the back.

We can’t all drive Subaru transmissions.
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