One of the most important skills every car enthusiast must posses is the ability to drive a car equipped with a manual transmission. Otherwise, you're just pointing the car. How'd you learn to drive a stick?

I actually learned twice. The first time was with my grandfather in a black 1994 Ford Escort hatchback (I learned to drive on a silver Escort Wagon) that I was going to take to college. Zooming around completely flat suburban Houston, grinding through the five gears, I took to it quickly. Sure, there was no tach, but a tach is cheating. I learned by sound and feel, not sight. Growing up in a household where most of the cars were stick (and Escorts, actually) it was second nature.

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This was the first time I learned. The second time was when I arrived in Austin, Texas for college. It was rainy, there was actual topography, and it was full of awful drivers and one-way streets. What I knew of driving a stick was rapidly amended the first time my car started to fall backwards or I had to downshift to 1st to drag the wimpy Escort up a hill.

When, where, how and in what did you learn to row your own gears?

(QOTD is your chance to answer the day's most pressing automotive questions and experience the opinions of the insightful insiders, practicing pundits and gleeful gearheads that make up the Jalopnik commentariat. If you've got a suggestion for a good "Question Of the Day" send an email to tips at jalopnik dot com.)

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