Drive a stick

"But we nerds like lost causes. We learn Elvish, write FORTRAN on an iPhone, roast our own coffee, and shave with a straight razor not because those tasks are easy or make us fit in with the crowd. Nor, in many cases, do we even do such things because they’re empirically better.

We’re driven—if you’ll permit the expression—by a fundamental curiosity, and a basic need to challenge ourselves. To master what is hard."

So reminisces Dan Moren in a wonderful post about learning to drive, and sticking with a manual transmission rather than upgrading to an automatic. I recognize the impulse, though I'm perfectly happy to let my car shift gears. 

My husband, on the other hand, drives an old, clunky, gorgeous heap with 38 inches of stick shift connecting him to God knows what under a rusting floor plate. For him, the full body workout that is shifting is part of the experience. "Drivers drive stick shifts. Automatics are for commuters," he says.

Anyway, this got me wondering about what's going on with Symple. Who are we and what are we doing? What compels us to observe and record? Are we curious or skeptical or seekers of challenge? Why do we tinker and journal when we could ignore or take a pill? 

I wonder if the impulse isn't the same as choosing a stick shift over an automatic. It's not easier to feel the pain than to dull it. It's never easier to overcome than it is to submit. But what are the shared characteristics that push us to be drivers not commuters? I wonder.

natasha gajewski