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DRIVING ME CRAZY (or “My Troubles Behind The Steering Wheel”)

by PALOMA UH
“tweaked” by Lexie Walters.
————————————————————-
 
SO WHAT’S DRIVING ME CRAZY?
 
MEN!   
 
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.)
PALOMA UH

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