What gear is that? I was sure it'd be very expensive to fix.
But while I was in checking out the ignition switch problem I decided to see what I could do about this shifting problem.
Looking under the dash, here's what I saw:
Not the best picture, but see the brass-colored plate with the pin and two torx screws? Those two screws were horribly loose, by at least 1/2"! I tightened them back up, and the shifting now as tight as it was the day I bought it.
And the gear shift indicator? Check out what else I saw under the dash:
Turning that wheel adjusts the position of the gear shift indicator, left or right. A half-turn later and the indicator is in the perfect spot.
Total cost to me: $0, plus a few minutes finding a torx wrench, and several months of irritation not knowing the fix would be this easy.
Not everything is this easy to fix, but some things certainly are. Hope someone finds this useful someday.