Up until I purchased my car just a hair over two years ago I could claim no competency for driving a manual.
(Have I talked about this? If so, too bad.)
My manual experiences, and yes there were plural, prior to that consisted of:
A) Driving a borrowed Subaru with my dad. All I remember is getting stuck at a stop sign on a hill and him yelling. My dad isn't a yeller.
B) Two separate occasions with my best friend, who would probably agree that they weren't the best. On the second, both she and her mom were in the car waiting for the other to tell me what to do.
C) An old farm truck that was more likely to drive of senility than of a mis-use of the clutch.
Fast forward to two years ago. I have been car shopping, somewhat seriously, and focusing mostly on Toyota Tacomas (the car of my heart).
One pick-up I test drove was even a manual (and ridiculously beyond my budget). The salesman put his life in my hands that time. I think I killed it about 7.5 times.
Then my dad spots a Honda Civic Hybrid being sold privately in the paper. A car that is almost the exact opposite of a pickup.
It is a manual.
I drive it once and decide to buy it.
Impulsive me? Actually, almost never. Unless it involves shoes.
Needless to say, I am now quite competent at driving a manual.
Although, Gwenyth (that's what I call my car) is a little high maintenance and prone to occasional pouting (a.k.a. stalling). Luckily, I can pop her in and out of first and she restarts herself.
It's like magic.