My ex-boyfriend, Larry, always criticized my driving. "You drive too fast," he complained. "Keep both hands on the wheel." "Didn't you see that stop sign?" Blah, blah, blah.
It's not as though his attacks were justified. The last accident I had wasn't even my fault. I'd been drooling over this George Clooney look-alike who was standing at a bus stop when suddenly he vanished, compelling me to avert my eyes from the road for one brief second. It was a quirk of luck that prompted my car to catapult into the bus shelter.
Basically, I'm a cautious driver. But, I do believe some driving rules are absurd, maybe even obsolete. I'm sure they were originally written for good reasons, but they don't make sense today.
For instance, back in the fifties, I was taught to keep both hands on the steering wheel in the ten o'clock - two o'clock position. In discussions with friends, we agree that this position was probably formed before power steering, when two-handed strength was necessary to control the wheel. Today, though, it's both unnecessary and impractical to use two hands. I'd like to see a revised 6:30 position for the left hand and an action-free right hand. It doesn't make sense to confine both hands to the steering wheel when one can do the job, while the other can put ketchup on a hamburger.
Gary Smally, in his seminar series entitled "Hidden Keys to a Loving Relationship," discloses that men are primarily left-brained, logical and virtually incapable of concentrating on more than one thing at a time. Change oil. Hang picture. Drink beer. Attempt talking to a man who is exerting supreme concentration on the complex tasks of watching TV and pushing remote control buttons and he won't hear you.
Women, Smally says, are primarily right-brained, giving them the ability to concentrate on a wide variety of things at once, such as talking on the phone and mopping the floor, or eating lunch, reading a magazine, folding laundry and watching TV. Is it any wonder that men are intimidated when some of this multi-tasking talent carries over to our driving skills?
Show me a man who can put on eye liner and nail polish, write out a supermarket list, fill out a bank deposit slip and tease his hair while traveling 70 miles an hour. I don't think so.
Put a man behind the wheel and all he does is drive. It's not that he wouldn't like to do more. He simply can't. I remember asking Larry to change the radio station while he was driving and he nearly got us both killed when he looked down at the buttons and swerved into the next lane. And when he stopped at a red light, his hands never left the wheel. He was focused on revving up and beating out the guy along side of him. It wasn't his fault; it's a genetic disability.
A huge pet peeve of Larry's was my selective use of stop signs. I'm not stupid. I understand the importance of stop signs -- in most places. But, let's get real, it's simply not necessary to come to a complete stop every time. Stop signs should be optional. Like, if it's late at night and there's very little traffic, or if you're driving through the country and you're pretty sure there are no other cars or cops around, it should be enough to slow down and take a peripheral peek.
Larry always challenged my driving philosophy and my expert driving skills, but he sure was happy whenever I showed up early from work. And, when he asked how I managed to do that, I would lie, because I knew it would only upset him to know I had finished my office work, on my laptop, while driving home.
Damn! A cop. I'll have to convince him that was an optional stop sign.