Back at the end of January I bought my first car. It's an '89 Toyota Camry that looks a bit like a moose due to the ski rack, which I can only assume was built for industrial-size wrought iron skis, mounted to the top. It's a stickshift too, which presented a few problems when I first got the car, namely that I had no idea how to drive it and a job that requires me to drive about 6 hours a day like a bat outta hell.
I overcame this slightly embarrassing obstacle after a few weeks of apologetic waves and shrugs to other motorists as I jerked, stalled, and over-revved my way across town. Of course once I became comfortable with manual transmission, I enjoyed the comfort and control of being able to resume my wild careening through the ghettos and hoods of central Illinois (of which there are many, and all happen to lie conveniently in my delivery zone). Oh the joy of cutting someone off again, inducing The Finger once more and laughing madly as angry drivers wishing merely to go the speed limit hurled obscenities at my dust trail.
The best part by far about driving a manual is that, more so than control or intimacy with the car (that sounds dirty, but it's really not), is that it makes you feel like A MAN. I deal with this feeling like most men do: pushing the seat back, rolling the windows down, playing music entirely too loud, and mistaking other men's disapproving glares in my direction as acknowledgement that my penis is larger than theirs.
Recently I've taken to driving barefoot, at the suggestion of my mother. Despite my initial skepticism I've found that it really does add to the driving experience, and makes things a lot smoother in a car like my own (not to mention it compounds the MAN factor). So I'd like to take this opportunity to tell her that she was right and that not all her advice goes to waste.