This is simple. The obvious reason is that you might need to drive a vehicle someday that has manual transmission. If you cannot, you will be helpless when that day comes.
The less obvious reason is that it teaches you how the car works. If you have never driven stick, you really have no idea what’s happening in your trannie. Why does your car go in and out of gear on hills? When are you close to lagging in gear, and when are you revving your RPMs? If you can drive stick, you understand the sounds you’re hearing. You can drive with greater fuel efficiency, and make the vehicle last longer.
The least obvious reason is very subtle, but pervasive. Our society lurches, increasingly, toward not knowing how to do things, letting things be done for us. The complexity of things we use makes it so. No, that cannot be stopped, but that does not mean we should yield tamely to it. There is value in knowing how to do it yourself. The more you cannot do for yourself, the more you must depend upon others’ goodwill, honesty and efficiency. The more you can do for yourself, the freer you are. No, you cannot learn to speak every language while learning to repair every vehicle, grow every crop, diagnose your own computer problems and re-plumb your own house. It’s too much. I get it.
That does not mean you should put up your hands and go calmly into dependency. The sensible way to battle this is to do for yourself, at the very least, that which you can. That which you cannot, you cannot. Everyone sucks at something. We have to accept that, too. It does mean that learning to drive stick has value, because it makes a statement of refusal to ‘just let the machine do it for you.’ The machine may not always work, overall. Your cell phone doesn’t work everywhere. Your Internet doesn’t work all the time.
When a crisis hits a city hard enough to trash its transportation infrastructure, starvation will begin in about 48 hours. At those times, the people who truly believe that food comes from grocery stores are in worse shape. They live in dependency, choosing to imagine that a grocery store is a farm, ranch and factory all in one. Sometimes, that which you depend upon fails you. Ask the people of New Orleans whether or not this is bullshit.
The mentality that insists on knowing how to drive stick is the freer mentality. That which yields tamely to the machine is the less free, the more dependent. It’s not so much about the off chance you might need to drive a vehicle. It’s about your outlook on life, emblemized by the ways you can manipulate the gears of a vehicle.
What’ll it be…dependency or liberty?