or at the very least, seek treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I suspect that Ben is the kind of guy of who expects his car to last forever because it’s a Toyota and because he listens to this fershlugginer radio show. I’ve been driving for forty years and my last two Corollas each exceeded 200,000 miles by a wide margin and were still going strong when I sold them. I’ve learned a a thing or two over the years about getting a car to last that long. Aside from fastidious maintenance, one of the tricks to this longevity is to avoid unnecessary wear and tear on the moving parts of the car. Over the years, I’ve also had many occasions to jump into a number of different vehicles over the course of a day, some that had manual trannies, and some that didn’t. Other than a few occasional perfunctory stabs at the little clutch pedal that wasn’t there in the automatic equipped vehicles, I quickly adapted to the change during the first mile or two behind the wheel.
By Ben’s constant shifting in and out of gear in NEW YORK CITY TRAFFIC, fer cryin’ out out loud, he MAY not be hurting the transmission, but he IS stressing all the pivots in the brake pedal linkage, the seals in the master and wheel cylinder and front brake calipers, the shifter cables and linkage, the relay in the system that releases the the shifter when he has his foot on the brake and God knows what else FOR NO USEFUL PURPOSE WHATSOEVER!
There’s no good reason under the sun to do this. All he has to do when he comes to a red light or stop sign is hold his foot on the brake pedal. That’s why it called an AUTOMATIC transmission, Ben! The fall back position agreed to by the two Sages of Sychronizers to put it into neutral instead of park is just inviting trouble. All it takes is one lapse in concentration (which I suspect is at the root of the issue here in the first place) to pop it into reverse accidentally when the light turns green and create a situation where Ben has the chance to become intimately acquainted with the half crazed taxi driver whose cab he was just backed into. Leaving it in gear eliminates any possibility of experiencing such a potentially life altering event.
So, Ben, please take my advice in the spirit of friendship in which it’s intended: put down the cell phone, PDA or Double Espresso Brulée Latte and pay just a little more attention to what you’re doing behind the wheel. It shouldn’t take very long to become entirely shiftless.
Failing that, sell the car and invest the money in professional help and carfare. You’re probably WAY too cool to be owning a car in New York City, anyway.