How not to steal a car

I was cleaning out the crawl space in the basement last weekend — the place where we put junk in hopes that some archaeological dig generations from now will figure out why we have so many crutches stashed way back in there; I certainly can’t.

I opened one box and discovered the treasure: A rotary telephone. We no longer have any use for it because we use voIP and, of course, cellphones. But it’s good to know that when our species returns to its most savage, stone-age roots, we’re ready.

Someday, should I ever have grandchildren, I also have something to keep them occupied for hours, until the game is over, anyway. They’d never be able to figure out what it is or how it works.

I recall this only because of my favorite news story of the day, so far. Dateline: Springfield, Mass.

Three thieves held up a delivery driver Tuesday night. They rushed him with a knife and demanded his car keys. They were last seen running down the street with their dinners.

They didn’t know how to drive a manual transmission.

  • Kassie

    My year old car is a manual transmission. It was one of my requirements when searching for a car and I was told only 5% of all new cars are manual. I like driving manual, I think they are fun. I do know a lot of people who know how to drive sticks, but haven’t in so long, that they no longer feel comfortable doing it.

    • boB from WA

      Its hard to even find used autos w/a manual anymore. I spent 5 months looking around for a used auto w/stick before finally finding one in my price range.

    • andy

      When I was searching for a new car (over 6 years ago now) I also required a manual. I would go from dealership to dealership and simply ask the first salesperson I saw if they had cars w/manual transmissions. Of course they all would say they had none on hand, until I made my way to the Mazda store in Burnsville – nearly half of their inventory had manual transmissions. 153,000 miles later, I’m still rowing away….

      • Kassie

        It is so much easier now. Most dealership list all their inventory. I knew which sorts of cars had manual transmissions, so I was able to find the dealerships that had stock, and the listed price.

        One thing I noticed, it was impossible to get a car with all my requirements. I wanted a hatchback/station wagon/small suv with manual transmission and a sunroof. Of the car models in my price, there was not a single one that had a manual and a sunroof. I was so sad, but the transmission was more important to me than the sunroof.

        • John

          I have a 2003 Pontiac Vibe with the sunroof and manual transmission you wanted. (It may well be below your price range though).

          I’m getting an automatic next time. I’m sick of riding the clutch through rush hour every day.

  • boB from WA

    A reason why we taught our kids how to drive a car w/a stick shift (not so they could carjack somebody), so that if they ever got stuck someplace, they would, for the most part, know how to drive a friends car if the need arose.

  • Momkat of Apple Valley

    We have an 11-year old manual transmission car AND a rotary dial phone in the basement that actually works. Kind of a pain to dial numbers with zeroes but….

  • Chuck

    I love driving a stick, but there was a period when I injured a leg, and it was impossible to do so.

  • Matt

    I used to drive a stick, and it was a hell of a lot of fun to drive once you get past the initial steep learning curve. But living in the metro and driving in traffic and into/out of parking ramps scared me to no end, and the car sadly died before I got good enough to be comfortable with difficult driving situations like that. Will I get one again? Maybe, but its incredibly unlikely.

    • Kassie

      Part of why I like having one is because I don’t drive to work. I bike/walk/bus. If I had to drive in rush hour traffic every day, I wouldn’t do it.

      As for parking ramps and steep hills, my car has a bit of a brake built it. It doesn’t roll backwards right away when you are on a hill. It is almost a “smart” clutch. It gives you a second or so, but will let you roll backwards, which is nice too. Sometimes you want to roll back a bit.

  • joetron2030

    I miss having a car with an MT. My last car had it but I wasn’t able to get a replacement with an MT because my wife occasionally has to drive my car and she doesn’t know how to drive an MT.

    Teaching her is an option, but considering how rarely she needs to drive my car, she would probably forget between those occasions.

  • echoegami

    Four years ago I purchase a brand new car, my very first car that was under 10 years old, incidentally. When I went searching for my new car I specifically looked for a manual transmission. A. I like being in control, and B. I knew it was less likely to being stolen and C. by my teenage daughter. haha!