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I wanted to post the followup. I drove it for at least 10 days without running into the problem at all, so it seemed to have resolved itself. I brought it in for a timing belt change told the mechanic the clutch situation and asked them to have a look. They didn't think the clutch needed to be replaced.

Her theory was that the throw out bearing could have gotten rusty, causing the clutch to hang up a little sometimes. Apparently the throw out bearing is sort of a rod through the center of the clutch disk which moves in or out. Before demonstrating the action with her hands she warned me that she was going to make an obscene gesture :-)

Sounds like a reasonable theory, and I was happy to not need to replace it.

While they were in there replacing the timing belt they replaced the water pump, which is essentially one of the pulleys for the timing belt. Said there was some minor leakage in the weep hole and at 185k miles it needs replacement anyway. And the front brakes needed replacing; showed me the pads that were literally less than a millimeter away from the metal.

So overall things worked out quite well. Thanks for all the info everyone!
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