We were sitting at a restaurant – on the deck overlooking a busy road and car park. The location was not wildly exciting. Exhaust fumes and seafood are not meant to be complementary, I know, and the annoying droning of engines, stopping and starting, spoils any attempt at creating a romantic-dining ambiance. Eventually, we were forced to sit back and enjoy the people-watching-entertainment, getting up close to pass comment, sharing a laugh whilst competing against the blaring background music which seemed intent on drowning out any significant conversation. Fortunately, the company was hot, hot, HOT – perfect for a lazy, balmy, Summer’s afternoon.
We watched as a bulky, pot-bellied man attempted to parallel park his rather large van. He was successful, but only the second time round.
Amused, I wondered aloud if I could still do that, not doubting the answer for one second. I reasoned that driving must be much like riding a bicycle – once you’ve learned how to do it – you never forget it. Right?
At that very moment, every fiber of my naturally-competitive-being ached to climb into a car to prove to the world, and my man, that I was still a good driver despite his apparent indifference. Perhaps, it was my own insecurities because women are often knocked, by society, for their driving skills and constantly made to feel incompetent behind the wheel of a car. Or, maybe, it is my primal need to prove my worth to humanity in spite of my disability. I don’t know. But, I’ve never known a man to admit that he was an awful driver – or a clumsy lover for that matter. I think women could learn a thing or two from that arrogance confidence. Don’t-ya-think?
Anyway, just the mere idea of driving a car again got me thinking all melancholically, leaving me feeling like the bug on the windshield. Doesn’t life just suck sometimes?
Everyday my newsfeed on Facebook or Twitter is filled with raging status-updates from frustrated people trapped in so-called rush-hour-traffic, despite nothing moving anywhere for hours on end. In a sense, they feel as stuck and confined as I do. And yet, I would give anything to swap places with them.
To me, a car represents power, freedom, privacy, independence and more – everything I could ever wish for as a quadriplegic strong, liberated woman. A car is sooooo sexy!
I miss being able to pull up to the red-traffic-light, right next to a drop-dead-gorgeous guy in a fancy sports car, look him sassily-dead-in-the-eyes over the top of designer sunglasses, rev the engine, drop a gear-or-three, screeching off at top speed. Yes, I am a flirt! But, only when I can get away – fast!
The competitor in me misses the challenge, accomplishment and satisfaction of reversing, and skillfully maneuvering, out of a difficult, no-freaking-way-out situation or squeezing into a tiny, how-the-hell-did-you-do-it space without so much as a scratch on the paintwork.
The control-freak in me misses that feeling of domination as you change the gears, accelerate shamelessly and explore the power of the engine whilst turning that wheel. Yeah, baby!
The adrenaline-junkie in me misses the flutter in my tummy as you press your foot down on the pedal, a bit harder, to go just a little faster, knowing that you are already over the legal speed limit, hoping you won’t get caught, and if you do, wishing that the traffic officer will succumb to your bashful, flattering excuses. But… but… oh, Officer!
The hopeful, wannabe businesswoman in me misses the smell of the plush-new-leather upholstery, giving you a sense of classy affluence albeit somewhat false, knowing that the bank owns every-shiny-darn-inch-of-it and you’d better work your butt off if you’re gonna keep it.
The next “So You Think You Can Dance” finalist in me misses the opportunity to do the oh-so-sexy-upper-trunk Salsa to the crooning voices on the radio.
The budding pop-star in me misses the chance of turning up the volume louder-than-you-can-sing, on the more-expensive-than-your-car sound system, to drown out your horribly-out-of-tune voice as you belt out your favourite song, so that not even Mr. Simon Cowell will deny that you are America’s next Idol.
The rock-star in me misses the wild, head-banging through an ear-splitting rock song on the stereo as the car pulsates through the traffic and the other drivers shake their heads at you in pity.
The Dr. Phil in me misses counseling all the potential road rage disorders using a sign-language-that-only-I-can-understand involving a very effective middle finger.
The Oprah in me misses listening to live chat shows and having deep, meaningful conversations with a most profoundly-persuasive inner-voice, which only seems to come out in the privacy of a car, and then, in the real world, you are left a bumbling idiot.
The chocolate connoisseur in me misses devouring a slab of smooth, Swiss chocolate, on the quiet, with only your own guilt as witness, that is, until you confess all to your scale in the morning.
The little girl in me misses craning my neck and sneaking a glance in the rearview mirror, in anticipation of hearing the fairy godmother whispering: “You, Snow White, are the fairest of them all”, that is, only after I have dug the boogers out of my nose, despite subconsciously hearing my mother’s voice, nagging me to stop.
The dreamer in me misses the comfort of a temporary escape into my own, fantasy world away from all responsibility and the harsh realities of life.
I miss the privacy of the car as a place to express my deepest emotions – my joys, hurts or anger – and to just be me, without judgment from anybody.
Oh my God, this is driving me crazy. Take away the keys. Quick.
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Tracy – I said to myself that I would read all your blogs in turn starting in January 2010 – but I am not like that in real life – so I followed it for a while and then jumped way ahead. I am glad I did when this one came up. Thank you again.
“The rock star in you misses … ” HA! I know, right! Nothing like looking like a complete fool in the comfort and safety of your own car. our old car didnt even have a radio. My poor husband on long drives, I would just belt out whatever came into my head. Great post!
Tracy, Thank you – you gave me such a chuckle. I’ve done all of those things. As an older woman, I could still do them, but I chose not to. I’ve come to prize dignity and grace. Those one can ‘do’ with or without motor abilities.
Yes, I also try to live out my life with grace and dignity. I was just having some fun and remembering my youth. I definitely miss the recklessness and arrogance of my young days but I treasure the wisdom I get with each passing day.
You ARE aware of Google’s (successful) experiment at creating a driverless car? http://www.ifreshnews.com/google-presents-a-driverless-car/4083
One of these days, probably in less than five years, there’ll be technology getting you out of bed unassisted by human hands, and getting you into your own car.
Don’t wanna sound all hopeful, and then have you disappointed. But the breakthroughs are pounding in.
I know, Roy, technology is amazing and I look forward to each and every breakthrough that can make a difference to my life as it is. 🙂
We are living in fast changing, exciting times!
Tracy darling, you “drove” me on many occassions…..long, long ago – into making cakes, doing your hair, painting your nails, giving your brother a swift swat when he let your budgie go…however, you still do the driving, only in the form of inspiring others to keep positive and focussed. Your “sports” car is your tool in creating much needed inspiration and hope for others – and you have achieved this with only two wheels and a fantastic engine..(your brain !) God Bless, Aunty Dolores
Thank you 🙂
It is all about point of view always.
Your positivity is amazing
Yeah, perspective is always important. Thank you! 🙂
Now that I’m not hunting “wimmens” any more it’s easier to admit that I was once a bad driver AND an uninteresting lover. Years of practice solved both. I learned that as a driver I needed more to do to keep my attention focused on the task. Once I switched from automatic to manual shift I got much better. I also learned that the main sex organ is between the ears. If you can stroke that spot with finesse, you can satisfy any partner. Heart to heart is really just soul to soul. An out-of-body experience not to be missed.
I believe that accepting regret for all our losses in full honesty deepens us. You were deep to begin with, so I guess you will just get deeeeper through this process. Thanks for leaving the blinds up and giving us a show 🙂
Mikey, exactly the point I was trying to make! We all get so goal-orientated that we forget to enjoy the journey. Who was it who said “life is wasted on the young”?
Finally, a man willing to admit his truths. Love you madly, Michael. 🙂
I can’t speak for men, but I know that a woman’s most powerful sexual organ is her mind. 😉
Thank you for your lovely comment.
Hey woman-driver, aren’t you just lucky you’re not living in this town! If you were sitting in a topless, askies, convertible car in this town and nogal revving it at the lights you would have raised some serious eyebrows! Many locals would have thought you were in drag! In this dorp the people who drive sexy convertibles are generally not the type you will go for, neither are they likely to go for you! Ah well, each to his own!
Isn’t it amazing, as time go by (OK, as you get more mature! (OK, OK, as you get older!!)) you are less turned on by the smoking-tyre, turbo-screaming, petrol-spewing blastoff than the (almost-leisurely) drive through Crocodile Gorge or over Abel Erasmus? Maybe that’s when a “clumsy” boy-racer becomes a confident, relaxed “driver”? The sensuality of gently sweeping curves does it for me a hell of a lot more than a drag race down a dead straight piece of tarmac. Hey, life is about the journey, not about arriving there! 😉
You have the “keys” to your own “vehicle”. This is not the place to issue challenges to you – but I am 100%+ sure you are looking at “driving” through rose-tinted glasses. You are not a “racer” any more, you are a cruiser! Taking time to get to your top speed is not wasted, it is making sure you don’t burn a couple of valves!
When you get the opportunity, enjoy those drives – I am sure they mean more than the sprints. I am equally sure you have your own “park-assist” that allows you to park pretty well!
Anton, you make me laugh. Thank you.
And yes, I agree, life is about the journey. Happy driving. 🙂