stephbg: I made this! (Default)
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There is a strange car in our driveway. That would be the new Yaris! It looks impossibly small for Husband's gear, but it tested positive so here it is. First time the household has ever had a New new car.

The plan is for me to learn how to drive it (an automatic) after 26 years of gloriously in-tune manual driving. i.e. I have to unlearn a bunch of very well-established reflexes. "But it's so much easier!" people say. The cognitive psychologist in me who did actual research on the topic and got as far as a Masters thesis proposal on the related risks of such changes and negative transfer of training hates that phrase with a passion. Training and re-training are not the same thing, especially in emergency situations. Ever heard of a little nuclear accident at a place called Three Mile Island? That's what caused it.

I'm also horribly aware that tailbacks and back-enders are far more likely in automatics. Maybe not in nice new ones, but in the sort thing I'm destined for, it's a whole new ball game. I have truly inconvenient amounts of knowledge on the subject :-(

Once I get over that hurdle and get a bit more comfortable with the idea of an automatic, I'll have to make the decision whether it will be easier on my body after all. ("Of course it will! people say. Not without any evidence I say.) Because then I have to seriously look at saying farewell to the beautiful sculptural object and glorious driving experience that is The Catmobile, and replacing her with something 10 years old (half the age but twice the odometer reading), a fraction of the engine capacity, unresponsive, and ugly. That's what the budget is telling me.

I'll grant that my driving requirements are significantly different these days - when I bought her I used to do a lot of Roe/Tonkin/Leach highway truck tango through peak hour in Welshpool, where the ability to brake, accelerate and change direction at short notice was the only thing that kept you alive day to day. It's still kept me out of multiple accidents since, but the frequency for emergency action is much reduced around here. That said, the aim of switching is to allow me to drive further afield and potentially get right back into that kind of trouble. But the sheer joy of synergy with the machine is something that will be hard to give up. Driving became an act of powerful puppetry - I thought, and the car did, even though in my current state I can only manage it for a few minutes at a time before pain intervenes. "But it's just a car!" people say, "You're being overly sentimental about a thing!" Maybe I am. I look at this thing and it brings me joy, and yet soon I must treat her as clutter.

Plus oh my lord the spoons involved in shopping around--reluctantly at that--for a second-hand car. *shudder*.

Near instant update - I took the car and Husband to the two local shops without doing anything particularly exotic (i.e. parked well clear of anyone else). Husband's not a teacher by instinct, but I found an educational website that gave me the basic facts. Started to get a feel for the automatic transmission (and the weirdly fast reverse without any accelerator involvement at all). That will certainly take some getting used to, but I'm in the habit of listening to my engine to make gear choices - now I will listen to my engine make gear choices without me and adjust acceleration to suit. Certainly had to peer closely at the not-gear stick to find D, P, and R, but since you're never in motion when that happens it's not a danger. However, this was me driving on calm but high alert. The danger, such as it is, comes when I get comfortable and then forget I'm supposed to be doing something different. So I missed the power, but it was a not-unpleasant experience.
 

 
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