Changing Gears

When I picked up my first ZipCar, a couple weeks ago, I went out to the parking spot in Newark, and swiped my card over the car’s windshield. The doors unlocked, I got in and pressed the go button (Priuses are too modern for a key ignition), plugged my phone in to listen to Pandora through the car’s speakers, and then I drove off.

I should apologize to the drivers of New Jersey here. If you saw someone shouting “I’m driving in the future!” over and over, that was me.

I picked up another ZipCar car at Alewife to drive out to Eric’s in Boxboro. The non-futuristic part of this is that each time I have to find my way to a new car, and I don’t have the world’s greatest navigational sense.  I had no idea just how many parking decks there are at Montclair State, or how many bike lockups there are at Alewife Station.

So I picked up the car, after a scenic tour of the Alewife parking areas, and started out towards Eric’s. I may have a bit of automobile anxiety, and I was hoping to keep that from Harold for as long as possible, but finally I had to ask if he thought the car was wicked loud too. He did.

It sounded a bit like a standard in the wrong gear, and it was having some trouble accelorating, but my highly scientific tests (translation: noticing that there was no clutch) proved it was an automatic. That was inexplicably in first gear.

I was about to pull over and cry, when I realized that apparently Mazdas have a wacky optional manual thingy sport shift. Just like Eric promised me about ten years ago, someday I’ll be glad I learned to drive stick.

When I put my hand on the console, I could feel when to shift gears. And then I was Kaylee on Serenity, I was Geordi LaForge in engineering, I suddenly got why manual-transmission freaks are so in love with their cars. It’s entirely possibly that I was shrieking delightedly when I got up to speed.

I should apologize to the drivers of Massachusetts here. If you saw someone changing gears and squealing “Upshifting! Downshifting! I’m awesome!” that was me.

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0 Responses to Changing Gears

  1. bethie says:


  2. Darktouch says:

    Perhaps you should just get one of those magnet bumper stickers that just says “I apologize for my driving habits” so you can put it on whatever car you’re using.

  3. Keith says:

    Eric’s in Boxborough?!

    Damn I’m out of touch. 😛

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