VROOOM! The engine roars with that symphonic sound that only a V8 can orchestrate. With dual motion I ease off the clutch and press my foot onto the accelerator. With a roar I race from 0-60 at a blazing speed. The world beyond the windshield becomes a giant blur of colors. The tachometer rises, and I shift from first, to second, to third, to fourth, to fifth, to sixth. I breathe deeply, now I am in control.
I believe in the manual transmission. When one drives a vehicle with an automatic transmission the experience is quite different from that of driving a stick. The automatic transmission is a detached, emotionless transmission, which does not allow the driver to fully experience the drive. The manual transmission, however, takes me away from things out of my control, and if you will pardon the pun, puts me in the driver’s seat of my life.
I remember my first time driving a vehicle with a manual transmission. It was in my aunts Volkswagon Passat. It was during the summer, and we practiced in an abandoned parking lot on the east side of Ann Arbor. I had driven an automatic before, and it gave me no trouble at all. The manual, however, was a challenge for me, and I remember my frustration at my repeated stalling of the engine. But I kept trying until finally I could repeatedly start and stop without stalling the car. That day in the abandoned parking lot, I learned about how perseverance can lead to success. I wanted to give up many times, but the easy way out is not always the most rewarding. The clutch on my Aunt’s car may never be the same again, but through my repeated stalling and efforts, I came to realize something about myself. It came to me that this was how I wanted to continue living my life; not giving up on myself as I had done in the past, but instead allowing myself to reach my full potential and accomplish my goals.
Since that day it has always been a manual transmission for me. Besides the sheer joy of driving one, it reminds me of the value of perseverance, and it allows me control. There are many things in my life that are beyond my control, but when I get behind the wheel of my black ’99 Volkswagon Passatt, the road of life opens up, and I can shift it however I want.