Got my car's starter replaced at Sears yesterday. They took care of it faster than I expected and didn't get as much shopping done as I expected at the nearby mall. (I wasn't going to try parking there.) I immediately realized how much of a difference it was starting it now as opposed to before. The starting delay must have so gradually grown that I thought it was normal. The only trouble I had was with the first mechanic dismissing the symptoms (battery good, having to knock on the existing starter) and trying to convince me to get the entire electrical system checked somewhere. I think he was mainly a battery tester and didn't have any starter experience.
I guess I can put my lightsaber away now.
So now the car has had a tune-up, an oil change, new brakes, and a new starter. I don't want any more complaints from it.