Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I need a manual to drive manual

I'm one of those rare folks from the states who actually learned to drive on stick shift and has only driven on stick shift my whole life.  This worked to my advantage when I moved to Italy since it's pretty impossible to find an automatic car anywhere on the entire European continent.  So for the past 8 years in Italy, I drove a little green Ford Fiesta, and I zoomed through the streets shifting happily like everyone else.  (More on the experience of taking an Italian driver's test and surviving and driving in Italy, to come).

Prior to Italy I owned a cute red Hyundai Accent, which I had to sell before moving to Italy.  Ask Pier how much I bawled like a baby when I sold it.  It was my first real car, that I made payments on (regularly) and actually changed the oil on.  However, if you read my first post, you'll know how I threw dust to the wind back in 2001 and changed everything about my life and moved to Italy.  No car would have stopped me.
Back in the states, and we just bought our first car, a black Hyundai accent.  But this time it's.....automatic!  I know, shame on me.  Actually, finding a manual car here anywhere even at a dealership is something of a miracle if it happens.  Even the dealers don't know how to drive them.  When we asked for a stick shift, the dealer looked at Pier and I as if we had worms coming out of our nose.  He said he had one, way, way in the back, and we'd have to walk to it because he didn't know how to drive it.  Then when we got in, he said "I've never seen someone drive this before, I would need a manual to drive it!!" and once we started driving "well you'll never get up those Pittsburgh hills" and then as we got going a little faster "wow you really know what you are doing, dontcha?"  And so on.  And when we went to the Subaru dealer, and asked for a Forester in a stick shift, the guy said "well we got one in Ohio, and the guy'll drive it up here tomorrow (isn't that like a 30 hour drive--won't be new anymore after the guy driving it who doesn't know stick will get here!).
Anyway, my Hyundai ended up being an automatic cause it was the only one not in a puke-like color with radio and a/c, and we'll try the Forester out tonight and let you know if the transmission still works.  Maybe we'll get a discount....

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