Monday, May 07, 2007

Chicks Who Drive Sticks

by Brenda Roger

Hypothesis: women who can drive standard transmissions are superwomen.

I arrived at this hypothesis recently when I hopped into my boss's Saab wagon with her. I noticed that the car had a standard transmission. This is a woman managing staff, projects, family, household and husband. She is extremely smart. So much so that some men are actually terrified by her because they can't cope with the brain in the pretty package. When something needs doing --she does it. She steers and shifts all at the same time.

Another quailty of chicks who drive sticks is the power and willingness to reinvent themselves. My mother, for example, went back to school in her late forties, found a new career, and then morphed that career into another. There was no lamenting about being stuck in life. There was only the sound of shifting gears and squeal of tires as she headed toward new things. This is a woman who once won trophies for drag racing and who can drive a stick in platform wedgie sandals.

One of my colleagues is perhaps the best example of a superwoman. She recently began a conversation by saying that she had a visitor from India staying with her for two weeks. Coming from someone else this would be remarkable, but it is something I've come to expect from her. Rather than yammering about how the world could be better, she is doing things to make it better. The remarkable thing is she is doing multiple good deeds at once. This is a woman committed to community programming at the museum while tutoring Somali refugees, teaching piano lessons, providing moral support to her adult children, babysitting a grand-niece and grand-nephew and about one hundred other things I don't know about or can't remember.

Physically steering and shifting gears everyday is a metaphor for life. I need to learn to drive a stick, so I can start a campaign to teach young women how to drive a stick in the hope that they will absorb all of the qualities that seem to go with it.

What do you think about chicks who drive sticks?


Annette said...

Hey, Brenda, that would be me! But I never thought of myself as a superwoman. More like a dinosaur. I just LIKE a manual transmission. I'm surprised that multi-tasking businesswomen would drive them, though. It's hard, near impossible, to drive stick and use a cell phone, especially in city traffic. Of course, my cell phone is a dinosaur, too. Your boss probably uses one of those hands-free gizmos.

Oh, you must learn to drive stick, Brenda. It's so much FUN!

Anonymous said...

Annette, My boss doesn't talk on the phone and drive at the same time. She listens to NPR. Love it!
Maybe you could teach me. It looks like fun!

Anonymous said...

Okay, I grew up on tractors, so a car transmission is a cinch. And there's no better way to drive in the snow. Plus the only cars you can rent in some countries are stick shift! C'mon, ladies, this is an important life skill.

Although now that we live in the city, I will say that a stick shift would drive me crazy. Too many stop signs and pot holes. Sometimes an automatic transmission is the way to go.

Great blog, Brenda!

Anonymous said...

I tried! Twice I got people to teach me how to drive stick shifts. Then, I never had a car to practice on and so I forgot how to do it. I even told my boyfriend I'd teach him to Hambo (a difficult couple's turning dance) if he would teach me to drive a stick. He got taught the dance moves, but never taught me the car moves. Then he gave up folk dancing and I was without a dance partner again. :-(

I tell you, though, if I ever get selected for "The Great Race," that's the first thing I'm going to learn!

Anonymous said...

My mom taught me how to drive stick, but I didn't really hone the skill until I was in the army. I drove a deuce and a half - twelve gears, ten forward, two reverse. I used to get a kick out of people's reactions when they saw a "chick" driving that behemoth through small towns in Germany.