Thursday, September 9, 2010

Female Road Warrior

The best part of my day happened like this:

It's 1:45 pm and I'm pulling my well-loved (read, beat-up) minivan over on Third Avenue near 62nd Street to snag a parking spot that just opened up. My mother(professional back-seat driver) and I had been frantically looking for a spot because we were late for an appointment. As I quickly park in the spot, a middle-aged, heavy set white man who had been leaning on the meter exclaims:

"Whoa! You drive that van like a man!"

Me: "Why, thank you!"

Him: "Girl. I was standing here thinking that has got to be a man driving that van and then I see you!"

Me: *girly giggles and blushing*

That means a lot coming from a man. I take special pride in my ability to drive like a man. I can handle myself on the road. I'm a feminist and all, but when it comes to driving, it's an insult to call me a woman driver. Women drivers are hesitant, doubtful, passive and unfocused. When I'm driving, it is the main event. I'm not going to wait and see if the cab in front of me is going to pick up that group of drunk girls 50 feet ahead. I'm gonna overtake his ass so that I don't get caught behind him when he does. You feel me? You know what pisses me the hell off? I'm minding my business, speeding down the West Side Highway after another day of work and some blonde bitch in a black navigator nearly runs me into the damn Hudson river because she's yapping away on her cellphone. My thing is that if you don't weigh more than 150 pounds, you shouldn't be driving an SUV. I can't tell you how many times some little white girl has almost killed me because she can't drive a damn SUV. The worst part is that they're always alone in the car. Why are you driving an SUV alone?

One of my pet peeves is when random men on the street try to tell me how to operate my vehicle because I'm a woman. I can parallel park without keenly watching the vigorous hand motions you're making. I can do a broken u-turn without your guidance. I can merge into traffic and change lanes without your OK. I know I have breasts and I can look really cute and sweet to the untrained eye but I'm actually a crazy bitch behind the wheel. When you get in my car just put on your seat belt and prepare yourself for a thrilling (yet completely safe!) journey. I'm actually thinking of turning my minivan into a theme park ride. I'm just saying. Ask any of my friends how far-fetched that is.

But for real though, behind the wheel, I'm racist, sexist, classist (firefox says this isn't a word), ageist, homophobic, Islamophobic (I just wanted to say that)...you name it. Basically I hate everybody on the road that isn't me. I have a very specific and strongly held stereotype for every single type of driver and they're all negative! There are some neighborhoods I won't even drive through cause demographics have consistently proven them unnavigable! Yeah, this may sound horrible but I have tried and tested these theories. They are not coincidental!

One of my craziest moments in the car was one morning when I had to jump out of bed to move the car (street cleaning shit) and I hadn't combed my hair. This was when I was unemployed and lived on Second Avenue where they're building a subway! It was not a good combination. There were so few parking spaces that I would often park in a spot where I'd have to move my car early the next morning because, after driving around my neighborhood for hours falling asleep at the wheel, it was clear I wouldn't be getting the parking I needed that night. It also means that many a morning I overslept and ended up jumping out of my sleep and running out of the house wearing my baggy thermal underwear (which my boyfriend titled "the no-sex leggings") tucked into rain boots and a granny sweater to make sure I didn't get a ticket. Unemployed bitches cannot afford tickets. Anyhoo, I digress. This was a morning like any other but I suppose my hair was looking extra matted. I honestly didn't give a fuck because, if I remember correctly, I was having an emotionally dramatic personal crisis and just hated the world. So this dude believes I cut him off and he comes after me honking and cussing. Naturally, I respond in kind being lewd and lascivious as only I can be and I apparently shocked him because he got this horrified look on his face and said, "Go comb your hair!" He promptly speeds away leaving me, matted afro and all staring, dropped jaw in disbelief on how I just got played by this corny ass white man. I mean, yes, my hair looked a little wild but damn. My hair had nothing to do with it. That was a low blow. I drove home in silence. I guess he shut me the hell up.

Ahhh...driving in this city is a trip. Pun intended.