This past Saturday saw me going to my local Subaru dealer for a look at their inventory. I have my heart set on a WRX and they were running a special on the exact one I had in mind while also showcasing a 2012 premium. After a comparing the two side by side, I had a good vibe about the 2013.
But I don't drive stick.
I let the saleswoman bring that up herself. We have been discussing this for a couple months, since she sold my mom a Forester, so she is well aware of my wants and concerns. She went in search for a Mazda6 that they were using to train some employees in the art of rowing gears...but it was nowhere to be found. It was destined for auction and she didn't know if it had disappeared or not.
As I was leaving, it was found. So, ten minutes of leaving a parking spot, getting into second, parking, reversing, not stalling once, and talking things over a bit...she went to check what the insurance policy was on the car. I sat there in the car, anxiously awaiting her return, thinking about what I had just done. "I had not stalled once! Yay me! Crap...she has a plate...this is going to get real."
The drive we took was about 15 minutes in length, hitting pedestrian traffic due to a couple church field days. I got into third gear, over-revved once, downshifted to return to the lot, and again...didn't stall once. She was impressed and I was on cloud 9. "I have no doubt you will be able to learn on the WRX...but don't be surprised if you stall in that."
This week, I may buy a rex...but I'll keep you posted. The real point of this post is this:
I liked driving stick for exactly the reasons I anticipated liking it:
1) the mechanics. I have always been fascinated by how cars shift...the clutch, the gear selection, how it all meshes. Automatics fascinated me because I just didn't understand how it all was regulated. To have control over what was going on underneath me was just great.
2) the sense of accomplishment. I didn't rev match, I wasn't terribly smooth (but didn't jerk or stall!), but I felt on top of the world after backing into a spot to end my drive. It's like any activity, you get better at it and when you notice a difference, you feel good.
3) the control and awareness. I was focused. I was listening to the engine, feeling the clutch, paying attention to traffic ahead of me, checking all my surroundings. I felt hyper aware, which may have been due to the adrenaline but still. I didn't reach for my phone once. I didn't zone out once. I paid full attention to everything that was going on because every obstacle, every action I made was intertwined with my surroundings.
I am excited for what my future holds but terrified of spending such money. I'll have to get over that apprehension, pull the trigger, and enjoy the ride.