Starting with the first car I ever bought, a 1979 Toyota Corolla and on through my two Ford Escorts, I have always had a manual transmission in my cars. I was a terrible shifter the first two months of the experience but in past years I have become quite good (methinks) at using the clutch. My friends and family have always disputed this fact and long held the belief that I was a terrible shifter. My parents hated when I shifted my car. My female friends have always closed their eyes when I reached for the dreaded gear shift.
Today, partly due to arthritis, I have faced the ravages of time and admitted that I am middle aged. I bought an automatic. I am now like everybody else. Driving is easier, I admit. Still I miss the manual transmission. Shifting is fun, dargon it.
Editor's note: 1999 Ford Escort, manual, in photo.