SAN FRANCISCO IS NO FRIEND OF THE STICK-SHIFT

My wife Meg and I had the opportunity to help our 24 year old daughter Nicole move into her new apartment in down town San Francisco this past week before she starts graduate school at USF; it was wonderful to get away from the valley heat and enjoy the cooler temperatures of the City by the Bay.  There’s so much to enjoy about San Francisco: the diversity, the food, the fact that you can take public transportation almost everywhere…the only real bone I have to pick with that amazing city is the clutch-killing hills, traffic and lack of parking. Now I’m a “manual transmission enthusiast” from way back: my parents wouldn’t let me have an automatic transmission when I was learning to drive because they thought that would make me a lazy driver.  Subsequently I became almost obsessed with stick shift cars and trucks, and forced my own children to learn how to drive them.  And as I practically burned the clutch out of my poor, over-worked Ford Ranger pick-up hauling my daughter’s belongings through the streets of San Francisco, I began to question my manual transmission love.  Maybe an automatic vehicle isn’t such a bad idea…am I really a “lazy driver” if I’m able to keep my car from blowing up and my leg from going numb?

John Young

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