by PALOMA UH
“tweaked” by Lexie Walters.
SO WHAT’S DRIVING ME CRAZY?
I’m a 125-pound, 23 year old Spanish girl, I’ve lived in London and Philadelphia as well as Rioja country in Spain. I’ve been driving since I was 15 (on private land), and in the last 8 years I’ve driven everything from a tiny Citroen 2CV in France to an Iveco 20-ton truck in Madrid.
My current licence allows me to drive lorries UP to (approximately) 20 tons, and public service vehicles (without passengers!).
I work in the automobile industry – usually in admin and management, but I can get dirty with the boys and change tyres, spark plugs, and gear boxes.
I’ve come 3rd and 4th (out of over 20 people) in cross-country driving contests.
Sorry if it sounds as if I’m offering you a resume of how wonderful I am behind the wheel – but it makes me mad when men criticise my driving!
I am NOT the world’s greatest driver of anything (only the 2nd best – NO I’m joking), but when men either turn their nose up at a female driver or make specific criticisms I get MAD! And I need to defend my record.
Men react differently in different countries.
Let me break this down:
In Spain I’ve driven mainly a 2005 Fiat Panda, a 1990 VW Polo and some minibuses, as well as the lorry I mentioned.
The Panda developed a loose radiator which I mended (after being blamed for it by an ex-boyfriend) and the Polo had a dodgy gearbox which needed brute force (not my strong point!) to move from 3rd to 2nd and into reverse, while sometimes making a noise like a cat being strangled! I corrected this as best as humanly possible, but even angels can’t work miracles every second!
So – guess what – I’ve been blamed for it by not only a different ex but by the men I work with!
The generalisation: Spanish men are bone idle. They’ll happily let me do all the work while they sit on their a – er backsides and tell me it’s not up to “their” standard.
And the very thought of me being able to drive a lorry made them laugh.
Englishmen I discovered are more concerned with small things (no jokes please!) or about the possibility of things going wrong. I mean they didn’t seem to “mind” that I was driving a van in London, but when it came to parking (which, admittedly, was difficult for someone used to a left hand drive!) or stopping on a hill, they looked worried. Fortunately I was usually alone, so I was able to take time reversing to park (never hitting anything!). Once, when the van’s stick shift grinded more heavily than usual, an elderly man sitting on a bench looked daggers at me as if I could stop it doing so, and on another occasion a boy shouted at me in a sexist way when I dared to stop to check where I was going!
But on the whole they seemed to be pleased that a “Barcelona Babe”, as I was called, was driving something bigger than most of them!
Now Philadelphia – lovely city, lovely bridges, lovely architecture, lovely food, lovely women – awful men.
But that can wait – what I’m talking about here is my driving.
I drove both auto and “stick shift” vehicles there, and SEEMED to have no problem. Indeed, a cop actually praised me when I parked a 2000 Ford Focus Sedan without difficulty.
But driving to Lebanon, Pa., I encountered hostile teens who called me a “dumb broad” (hardly a good description of me) when the Focus stalled, and a “useless lady” when my female friend was guiding me into a tight spot and I revved up a little more than they wanted me to!
So what have we learned?
That men throughout the world are jealous of my excellent driving!
(Well that’s what every woman should tell herself anyway.)