Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The wife and the Fit

The title of this post sounds like one of Aesop's Fables. ANYWAY, this past weekend my band had a gig at Trophy's (a perfect Austin dive bar), and I decided to rock and roll with the Alfa. My wife decided to stay in for the night and get some chores done around the house. One part of this plan of hers was to buy the week's groceries. Sub-plan A was to take my Fit. It's a manual of course, and as loathe as I am to admit this sad fact, she never learned how to drive stick. We've had some lessons and while she's capable, The Fear tends to set in once another vehicle shows up in the rearview mirror. "I'm going to stall and they'll hate me." Just like with racing, when you visualize hitting an apex, she visualizes herself stalling, freaking and crying.

Here's the moral of the story. She made the trip, and although she did stall a couple of times, once she got home she knew WHY she did. She figured out how to downshift to take a corner and how to almost come to a stop, downshift and keep it rolling. I think she's becoming less intimidated by the car.

We saw the same situation with cooking. Bear with me. My wife and I like to eat out. Austin is cursed with a plethora of good but not so great they're precious restaurants. Cooking... ehhh. Somehow along the way we got hooked on Alton Brown and Anthony Bourdain, and as a natural extension we started cooking. At first tentatively. Fearfully. We got a few good recipes down after some trial and error. We kept it up. We now cook at least five dinners a week at home. Braised short ribs and plum sauce, seared ahi tuna and crab rolls, buffalo burgers, pork loin with white wine and pear sauce, etc. Fancy schmancy. Well, sometimes. Other times I just want a freshly ground medium rare burger with some cheddar. Beside the point. The point is, there's no reason to abolish the stick because people fear it. Once you see the value in the setup - improved fuel economy, better car control, simpler mechanical components, improved safety, enhanced performance, lower MSRP, just to name a few - the pros outweigh the cons. It's not a perfect analogy, because we still enjoy eating out on occasion, whereas I couldn't care less about ever driving an automatic again. You could even argue I just advocated the semi-auto, dual clutch, flappy paddle system, since it allows you to have the best of both worlds. Ehhh. This site is called Save the Third Pedal, not Save the Ability to Self-Select Gears. It's the whole package. So I think a responsive analogy here would be to compare the flappy paddle system to cooking from a box. Which isn't really cooking anyway - just mixing water with pre-prepared, processed "food".

From now on, I'm calling flappy paddle systems Sandra Lee transmissions...

1 comment:

  1. LOL. Sandra Lee transmissions, I love it! Well, you must be at a more enlightened place with your marital relationship, because whenever I bring up teaching my wife how to drive a manual, it inevitably ends up in a big dramatic argument about why I should sell my current car (a manual) and buy an automatic so she can drive it. Then it inevitably spirals downward into some esoteric argument about what would she do if I suddenly had a heart attack while we were out driving. I semi-sarcastically tell her, "Take out your cell phone and dial 911." Obviously, this doesn't win me any brownie points. Any ideas? :-)

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