What is the sound of one piston slapping?
What is the sound of one piston slapping?

Edit: Thanks for all the feedback Oppo, in agreement and dissent. I genuinely appreciate all of it. 

A recent comment I made on front page seemed to have sparked the irritation of several people when I stated that having a manual prevents me from fiddling with my phone too often - which it does. But I shift my manual like an auto would shift, I upshift often for economy and downshift often for passing or acceleration. I have a 7 speed. I’m up and down the rungs all fucking day in all manner of traffic. Last I checked, that still takes two hands - I’d spill a coffee doing that and I’d rather not risk it.


So I wanted to do some research, in case I in fact am completely off base / wrong / not a real stick driver.

Apparently that is not how it is done in other necks of other woods, based on the rather shitty responses I got.
Note: I’m calling them shitty because the responses weren’t particularly well thought out, not because they were fundamentally wrong. On some level, you can mess with a phone or drink a juice while sticking. On very few occasions I have done that before - but I’m focused on driving! I hate doing it and it’s rare for me. 9 and 3, both hands, both feet, both eyes. That’s how I drive 99% of the time.


Apparently it’s really fucking commonplace for others so let me detail you a small example drive on my end - and let me know if my situation is not that common.
Example: The drive to Costco (about 15 min)

  • The drive out of my neighborhood is uneventful as there is very little traffic. I shift 1-2 and pootle my way out at 20 mph. But kids play in this area and I am unlucky so 0 focus away from the windshield! Had one kid literally cross the street in front of my on a scooter with ZERO advance notice.
  • I take a left onto a 45 mph street. Traffic likes to come in spurts to make lefts difficult, so I stop and wait, take the left, and then I lay on the throttle a bit, going 1-2-4-6-7 to about 50 mph. It takes about 5 seconds.
  • It’s a 2 lane street (each way.) Blocks in my Phoenix suburb are about a mile long. The next light is about a half mile away. Someone is doing 40 mph in both lanes. I slow from 50 to 40 and that’s too low for 7, so I go into 6. I don’t tailgate.
  • We approach the first light which is red for us. Everyone slows, and I coast a bit, apply brake, downshift from 6 to 4, 2, and then clutch to neutral and approach the back of the car in front. I have a desire to change from Amazon Music playlist to my Youtube playlist, but that requires a few button presses. As I try to make the changes, the light turns green. This happens to me often. I cancel the change, clutch into first, ready to move forward when the cars in front moves forward. Eventually, when the 2 cars out of the 4 in front of me figure out the light is green we move forward.
  • I stay in 1 for a bit while I figure out how fast the cars in front are going to accelerate, then I transition to 2-3-4-5-6. The cars in front are accelerating slightly slower than anticipated, so I go back down to 5 at 35. I’m in the right hand lane as I *want* to do the left-lane-is-for-passing policy and that the left laner is being a cock block on purpose, but that’s a mistake on my end, the right laner is now slowing to turn right onto a branch street. 6-4-2-1, as the right laner goes to a crawl to turn right.
  • After the right laner turns, I move back through 2-3-4-7 to get back up to 50. I’m slowly closing in on the next light which just turned green, but the cars are taking their sweet time starting up through the intersection. To avoid tailgating them, I brake, clutch in, and feel for 7-6-4, and change lanes to the left as after the intersection a left turn is coming up.
  • The following intersection (planned left turn) is completely clogged with cars. I stop probably about 100 yards from the actual intersection, and am still in the left lane since the dedicated left turn lane doesn’t start for about another 20 yards in front of it. The next 5-6 minutes are me inching forward in 1, clutch in/little throttle, but since the road curves up until the intersection one hand is on the wheel and one hand is on the shifter in case we stop and I have to go back to neutral. I don’t leave my clutch pedal in during stopping so I don’t prematurely wear out my throwout bearing.
  • I get to the intersection and go back to neutral. I want to attempt to change playlists again but the light turns green 10 seconds later because it took so long to get to the intersection in the first place, I cancel the change, gear into first, turn left and accelerate as I am first in line, going 1-2-3. The road curves slightly, I hit 50, 4-5-7.
  • 300 yards later I have one more left to get into the Costco parking lot. There are about 6 cars waiting to turn left even though there are two entrances, so I drive by the first one with the 6-queue and brake, 7-5-3, turn left about 100 yards later to clear traffic, left lane and turn left at 25 mph. Brake as I hit the ramp into the lot as my car likes to scrape the front splitter, enter the lot at 5 mph. Downshift to first as 2 is nearly as tall as first.
  • 10 mph is easy enough at 1st gear, it looks like the parking lot is not that active right now, so I upshift to 3 and push up to 20, and move to back of the lot to go park where nobody will ever park next to me. (I’m extremely paranoid of door dingers.) takes about 45 seconds winding around the lot lanes and dodging neglected carts.
  • I find a spot, turn in, brake, clutch in, 3 to neutral, stop, e-brake on, shut the engine off, and if necessary put it back in 1. (Sometimes I do this, sometimes I don’t - AZ is extremely flat most of the time and isn’t always needed.)
  • DONE! Happy shopping at Costco. The return trip is mostly the same thing in reverse, but after start up I change playlists before going in gear and pulling out since obviously traffic won’t let me.

That’s one trip. That’s tons of thinking for negligent drivers, over-slow drivers, bad surprises, quick actions, and changes to plan.

This entire time, I couldn’t even manage to change the music playlist I was listening to, I spent the entire time managing the car, the traffic, and my navigated path.


So, now’s your chance Oppo - where in this trip, as a driver that’s clearly better than me, were you going to:

1. mess with your phone (and for what reason?)

2. drink a drink

3. Do anything else in the cabin not related to driving?

I seriously want to know. Show me the godly ways that you can fuck around in your car without paying attention to the road without lane weaving, tailgating, getting too close, dealing with surprises, and being in the right gear.

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