Standard, that is, in what you hear when you drive a standard transmission vehicle for the first time, or the first time in some time:
“It's just like riding a bicycle. Once you learn how, you never forget.”
“More gas, less clutch. Let out on the clutch while you're giving it gas.”
“Don't jerk us to death.”
“I'm getting whiplash.”
“I think you killed it.”
Years ago, when we lived in Enid, I had an older, full-size pickup with lots of miles on it. It had a big engine, a few rust spots that had been painted over, 2-60 air conditioning (for those who know what that is), a toolbox and a good radio. It also had a four-speed on the floor.
I loved that truck. Whether it was just driving to work, hauling something, or taking my son fishing or to a ballgame, it was fun to drive. It was my big toy. And back then, gas was not unrealistically expensive.
I also had several buddies in Enid who raced cars, from oval tracks to road courses. They had shifters on the floor, on the side of the cockpit, or in other locations. But that long shifter in my pickup was just fine for me.
Learning to drive a standard was no big deal ... for me. I can't say that was true for EVERY member of the family. I was treated to some grinding gears and bounced around the cab more than once as the driver worked on that clutch-gas synchronization.
The time came when I had to sell the pickup. But the memories came back when my son bought his first pickup, and again when he traded for his first sports car. You notice I said “first.”
His latest venture is with German-made autos, with stubby shifters on the console ... Six-speed shifters. When we did a little “musical cars” recently to accommodate friend and family travel plans, I got “der auto.”
It had been a few years since I had handled a stick shift (“It's just like riding a bicycle. Once you learn how, you never forget.”). I was a little out of practice (“More gas, less clutch. Let out on the clutch while you're giving it gas.”). The first couple of attempts weren't so pretty (“Don't jerk us to death.” “I'm getting whiplash.”).
Finally, I began to find the synchronization ... almost (“I think you killed it.”). The individual who got the biggest kick out my reintroduction to the shifting? The family member who years ago did the gear-grinding, herky-jerky with my pickup.
With practice comes success. I soon got it right, and the memories of my old pickup came back.
But in all honesty, I think I'll stick with my automatic.
By the way ...
The best comeback when you hear one of those “standard” comments?
“Don't laugh at me. I'm the driver. You can walk.”
And they just might.
Enjoy your week and drive safely.