David does a lot of things here at the Autopian that we all know about, but there’s also one thing he does secretly: he watches me. If that sounds creepy, that’s only because it is. No, no, I’m kidding, it’s not creepy, but it is A Thing. Once he pointed out this weird shoulder tic I seem to have when on camera, and I get to feel all self-conscious about that, and now he’s noted a habit of mine I’ve never realized before: when I get in a car, especially one I’ve never been in before, I tend to give the steering wheel a little sawing, left and right… Huh.
[Ed Note: Let me just point out the Jason Shoulder Twitch:
There’s a slight one at about 52 seconds into that video, and then there’s a big one at 1:37. It’s always the left shoulder — it just shoots up! -DT]
I had no idea I even did this steering wheel sawing motion until David pointed out that it shows up in the recent Instagram video of me driving Adrian’s Ferrari Mondial:
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Yep, there I am, cranking that steering wheel for no clear reason, right as I get settled in there. I think maybe I do it to get, like, settled in with the controls? Get a feel for things? Those tugs on the wheel can telegraph an awful lot of physical information about the car, how mechanical or assisted it feels, how much play is in the wheel, how well the seat is adjusted, and all of that is conveyed almost instantaneously! So I’m going to defend my unconscious wheel-cranking, I think.
Also, there’s another unconscious car-gesture you can see in this little video: the waggle of the shifter to confirm the car is in neutral. I think usually I do a wag-wag-wag to confirm, but it’s possible some people may do more or less? Three seems the right number of wags? I think this is worth discussing, too.
Damn, now that I’m thinking about this, I’m realizing I have one more physical car unconscious habit: if there’s a between-seat handbrake, I’ll check that it’s down multiple times, without realizing it, pushing the little button on the lever and making sure it’s all the way down. I know I picked this habit up from my years of Beetle-driving, where it was easy to, say, leave the handbrake on the first pawl notch there.
So what are your habits? What strange things do you do when you get in a car unconsciously, things that, if you worked closely with David, he’d tell you about?