November 11, 2005

I am actually confessing that I am the stereotypical female driver. This will only happen once, so you'd better read it now.

I am a not good driver. By which I mean, of course, I am extremely bad.

I am so not good that when my most laid-back of friends rides in the car with me, her fingers get all white and claw-like from gripping the "oh, shit!" handle the entire time we're driving.

I am so not good that I have honest-to-God almost killed myself more times than I have fingers doing something stupid like turning out in front of a semi or floundering around for a CD for 3 minutes straight, the whole time forgetting that I have to actually watch the road to know where to point the car.

I am so not good that I have knocked over entire mailbox "ports" -- those huge towers of mailboxes with, like, an entire street's mail in them -- SOBER.

But, you see, in typical me form, I will now demonstrate to you why it is not my fault that I am the stereotypical (OK, worse than stereotypical) bad female driver.

I grew up on a petting zoo. It wasn't a real petting zoo, I just called it that. It was really a house sitting on 3.5 acres in a Seattle suburb. Which meant that we had a lot of space to play with. This meant different things to each member of my family. To my mother, it meant that we could have a small farm's worth of animals: goats, sheep, ducks, chickens, geese, guinea hens (yes, guinea hens), rabbits, dogs, cats, fish, etc. To my brother, it meant he had 3.5 acres and a reasonable amount of yard equipment (hedge clippers, saws, hammers, even a wood-splitter) with which he could accidentally nearly kill or maim himself a number of ways. To my father, it meant that he needed "man-toys" with which to act out a very serious internal make-believe settlers-and-indians game he'd been playing since somewhere between 1949 and 1954. Which meant that, along with a good pipe and regular bonfires, he also needed settler-ish stuff, including a tractor.

Which is why I ended up, one day when i was 7, seated on a tractor going 5 miles per hour towards my garage. I had been told by my father to park said tractor in front of the garage, and initially I was doing great: the vehicle was slowly making its way to the garage thanks to my diligent steering. The problem was that I hadn't been entirely de-briefed by the "chief" on how to park the tractor once I got sufficiently close to the building. So i just kept going, having faith that the Chief would give instructions when it came time to take action. Only he didn't -- well, not until the bucket of the tractor was penetrating the door of the garage. Then he must have heard the ruckus and been stirred from his wigwam work or something, because he came running at me screaming "CLUTCH! CLUUUUTTTTCCHHH!!!!!" as I dutifully steered the tractor straight through the garage door.

I mean, I was SEVEN. Years old. I didn't know what a clutch was. I was busy thinking about what my Barbie was going to wear on her hot date that night, not studying the DMV's illustrated driver's manual.

So anyway, we turned the gaping hole into a very large doggie door, which I crawled through when locked out (or stealing frozen food from the garage freezer) until I grew hips my sophomore year in college.

I think that pretty much set me up to have driving anxiety for the rest of my life. Also, my dad is absolutely worse than me, which is really scary, because while I usually drive badly sober, he usually couples his inability to drive with a few martinis and is really lax on the whole seatbelt thing. Which is not to say he's a drunk, just a... well, nevermind.

There's more on my bad driving, but it will have to wait until next time, as my geekiness may reach dangerous levels if I remain in my office much after 5:10 on a Friday night. So, adieu, my friends. Have a good weekend. And don't worry about me: I now take the bus.


SuperSpyGal said...

Since I live in New York, I find it's necessary to become a good driver or die least you thought of a way to make use of the hole in the garage....every dark cloud has a silver lining !
Great Blog, I enjoyed reading it !

Drew said...

I'm a pretty decent driver, but I'd be lying if I said I haven't had my share of bizarre automotive ordeals. I totally clipped this dude's car this one time on the way back from Dunkin' Donuts after an entire night of staying up playing video games, er, doing work. I knew I should've stopped outright, but my gut instinct was to just keep driving. In summary, the dude chased me down and totally battering-rammed the back of my car to force me to stop. Somehow, I convinced him that there just wasn't enough space to pull over on the side of the road, so I was forced to go to the next intersection (which was like, 6 blocks away). The cop that reported to the scene told me that I needed to learn how to drive like six times. I fought the urge to tell her that I knew how to drive just fine- I just didn't know how to not commit a hit-and-run. Also, don't tell anyone this.

wicwit said...

Well at least you recognize your less than perfect driving abilities and now take a bus, although if the two go together is another story.

Cool Blog.