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.