Tam’s wheels (eight of them, anyway) are in the shop, and while she’s tooling around Naptown in a perfectly reasonable, if unexciting, rented econobox, she’s telling this tale:

Last oil change rolled around and I pulled up to the Jiffy Lube (yes, I know how to change it myself, but it’s worth it to me to not have to lie down on gravel) and the whole staff of strapping young men had to stand around while they went to find the only person in the store who could operate a manual transmission, a leathery middle-aged country gal. You would be drummed out of the Subtle Fiction Writer’s Guild for including that scene in a book.

Now I’m wondering. Infiniti has had, since 2003 anyway, exactly one model with a stick shift; I’d be surprised if the local dealership sold more than a single truckload in any given year. What are the chances that any of their service personnel can drive a manual? (I’m betting that the one female on staff can, and probably none of the others.)


  1. Jeffro »

    24 April 2014 · 10:04 pm

    I’m probably in a pretty unique demographic here – not only would there be several women who could easily drive a stick, there would be a plethora of mechanics and sales types who would feel at home stirring their own.

  2. Francis W. Porretto »

    25 April 2014 · 6:18 am

    Once you’ve absorbed the fact that the typical grocery-store clerk can’t make change without the assistance of his cash register’s built-in calculator, nothing of this sort seems all that surprising.

  3. McGehee »

    25 April 2014 · 9:15 am

    I’m amazed checkout clerks can still figure out which bills and coins to give back without a computer-generated checklist.

  4. CGHill »

    25 April 2014 · 10:09 am

    I will dine on mine own words; first service guy I saw today at the dealership can indeed drive a stick, and he considers it a badge of honor.

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