I do not drive. Not because I can’t – I do have my licence – but because I choose not to. For a few reasons:
1) I have literally no sense of direction and I get lost (followed by panic, then crying) very easily. Even with a GPS.
2) City driving is much harder and much more stressful than driving in the suburbs.
3) I cannot parallel park.
4) I get honked at a lot. A lot.
5) Too many buttons confuse me, and BR’s cars might as well be spaceships.
So when you put all of those things together, even the thought of driving makes me literally sick to my stomach. I’ve also noticed that BR’s cars get a lot of attention on the road. However, I’ve noticed they get significantly more attention when there is a female driving them badly. Which makes me more nervous than usual, which in turn makes my driving worse.
Now, I have to point out that it is extremely nice that BR wants me to drive his cars. Especially when most men (at least in my experience) don’t want women anywhere near their cars. Especially women who drive like I do. Especially when each of his cars cost more than my condo. But he was very encouraging. And by “encouraging” I mean would drag me kicking and screaming into the driver’s seat and make me drive.
Just after we moved in together I began taking conversion classes (I converted to Judaism) every Tuesday night for three hours, across the city. BR was encouraged to come, so we would go together. Except for one week when he was away on business, so I had to go by myself.
Me: Uh-oh. How am I going to get to class tonight?
BR: Easy, you’ll just take the car.
Me: You want me to drive myself? In the city? In the dark? Can I please just take a cab?
BR: Blondie, don’t be ridiculous. YOU ARE A BIG GIRL. You need to get comfortable driving. You’re taking the car.
Me: Ok fine. But if I die in a fiery car crash you’re going to be really sorry because it will be all your fault!
So I took the car. And miraculously I made it to class. I was a little white-nuckled, I hyperventilated the entire way, and it took me almost an hour to get there instead of the usual 25 minutes. But I made it.
Getting home, however, was a different story. I don’t know what made me think I should take a slightly different route home, but I did. When I finally found the street that I was supposed to turn left on, I put my blinker on, and slowly began to turn. But instead of turning onto the street, I suddenly realized I was stuck on the streetcar tracks and was driving into an underground tunnel. There was a big sign above me that said “DANGER! NO CARS” but it was too late because I was already in the tunnel and I had no choice but to keep driving.
When I got to the bottom there was an underground bus station (who knew?) with a number of buses and several people waiting to board them. Let me remind you that I was in a loud, fancy sports car. So I did the “subtlest” thing I could think of which was to pull up beside a bus and ever-so-gently “honk” at the bus driver. The bus driver did not look over, but everyone else did. So I honked again. Still nothing from the bus driver, but a lot more perplexed stares from everyone else.
I could feel the tears coming so I got out of the car and went over to the bus driver.
Me: Um, excuse me, hello…
Bus driver with an attitude: Can I help you?
Me: Um, yeah… I kind of drove the car down here by mistake… not really sure how to get out.
Bus driver with an attitude: The same way you came in.
Me: Oh, you mean through the tunnel? I have to go back through the tunnel? Umm, okay… am I going to get hit by a streetcar?
Bus driver with an attitude: Yah… you might!
So that was awkward. And now everyone on the bus was watching. So I got back into the car and realized that somehow I had to get this thing turned around. Since there was not a lot of room to do this (and the car is kind of big and I don’t have great depth perception), I had to do about a 27-point turn to get the car facing in the opposite direction. And every time I put it in reverse (approximately 27 times) it would beep loudly.
Finally I was able to drive out. I wasn’t sure which tunnel to exit and I really didn’t want to risk a head-on collision with a streetcar. But then a bus started to leave and instinctively I followed it.
Wrong again! That bus somehow lead me back onto the streetcar tracks, only now they were elevated a few feet above traffic. So now I was driving alongside and above all the other cars, in a fancy sports car with smoke billowing out the back, because I hadn’t realized that I had also left the parking break on.
I tried to just look straight ahead and not look down at the other drivers (kind of like when a dog looks away so you can’t “see” it) but eventually someone started honking and pointing and shouting “you’re driving on the streetcar tracks!”, and was like, “I know!” while shrugging my shoulders as if to say how in the world did this happen?
But seriously, how in the world did this happen?
Finally I made it home. Was I upset? Yes. Was I crying? Yes. But mostly I was mad because I knew something like this would happen which is WHY I WANTED TO TAKE A TAXI!
So I got in the door and texted BR some long, ranting, angry text in ALL CAPS even though it takes a very long time to text in ALL CAPS on an i-phone. Unless I’m doing it wrong, which I probably am. But BR wasn’t phased. He thought I was over exaggerating. He didn’t even seem upset that I almost crashed up the car. Until a couple of months later when I actually did crash up the car by backing it into a tree, and causing a few thousand dollars worth of damage.
Now I’m not going to say I did that on purpose, and I’m not going to say that I didn’t. But I am going to say that he’s never again insisted that I keep driving.
Check and mate BR. Check and mate.