Thursday, July 24, 2014

Move it, Ladies!

Listen, I don't want to sound like a traitor to my own gender, but ladies...for the love of God...we have GOT to get it together behind the wheel.

In a very unscientific research project lasting approx 3 weeks, I have been mentally tracking the number of moron drivers who turn out to be female. Results? 99%. Every time I'm behind a driver who slams on the brakes for no discernible reason or fails to Go on Green, it's a woman. Every person who drifts over into my lane on the highway? It's a woman. Every 50-mph driver in the left lane is a woman; and the driver pulling out in front of me nearly clipping 6 or 7 cars in the process? Driver with a vagina.

It's so very depressing. I get this tight knot in my stomach every time I have to slam on my brakes, honk my horn or swerve to avoid crashing into a person who has inexplicably stopped in the middle of the road, and I think - nay, I PRAY - "Don't be a woman, don't be a woman." But it ALWAYS IS.

I've tried to reason my way through this by supporting my sex. I'll think "Clearly, women are bad drivers because we are SO busy defying gender norms, smashing our way through the glass ceiling and maintaining the delicate balance of being a caretaker and go-getter." But that argument simply cannot hold up every single time.

Of the SIX drivers I yelled at and/or made less-than-ladylike-gestures to today, all were women and none of them seemed to be on the brink of excellence. In fact, they seemed to be all but unaware of the fact that they were in control of a massive vehicle.

Now, I'm not perfect. I'm a very aggressive driver. I tailgate, speed and have zero patience for other drivers in general. But I am very conscious of the drivers around me. I know if there's someone in my blind spot; I get out of the way if a driver is coming up behind me in the left lane and I can move over; I give a very adorable shrug/smile and "Sorry!!!" gesture if and when I make a mistake. I command my vehicle, I don't just let it float around doing whatever it wants on the road.

So what gives, ladies? What's the defect here?I know we are equal to or superior to men in a multitude of other environments (classrooms, board rooms, bathrooms, hospital rooms - what with the whole havin' babies thing - and any room in which we are engaged in a battle of passive aggressiveness), so why not on the road? Why can we just seriously not get it together while driving?

I can't be the only person who has noticed this, can I? Am I just hyper-sensitive to the issue or something? Is it possible that I am the problem?

No. No, I'm NOT the problem.

I don't yak on my phone; I set cruise control when appropriate; I don't spend 45 minutes waiting to turn right from the left lane; there is just no way these bad drivers have anything to do with me.

I hate to say it ladies, but it's you; not me.

Listen, if we're ever going to be taken seriously, the first step is to learn how to drive with authority and awareness. If we keep la-di-da'ing our way through the roads, we are going to do nothing but reinforce the stereotypes against us. So, let's put down the phone, pay attention, remind ourselves about spacial awareness, stop yelling at the kids and just really pay attention. If we don't, we are destined to be categorized as "lesser" for forever.

Maybe men are just dumber better at, like, focusing on only one task at a time. Maybe (for sure) they are better at just kind of zoning out and doing things that make them feel powerful. Or, to be honest, maybe they are just better at driving confidently. Whatever it is, men are not inherently bad drivers.

But sadly, I am inclined to keep it real. And there are too many women who are terrible drivers. Are we too powerful and busy to worry about getting from Point A to Point B or something? Well, reality check: We can't change the world if we are too busy pissing everyone off on our ride to revolution. So's not going to do us any good to be super amazing, powerful people if we kill or anger 73 motorists on the way to rule the world. So, let's go ahead and just get it together, shall we?

Monday, July 14, 2014

I got robbed!

To the gentleman or lady who broke into my car this weekend -

I couldn't help but notice that you made a decision to rob me on Friday night. Silly me: I thought that my car was safe in a Sioux Falls, SD driveway for 12 hours while I attended a wedding at which I danced without a care. But you knew better. Did you see the wedding invitation on my front seat? Were you smart enough to read that and SEE that I would be gone for a couple hours? I really doubt it. I doubt it because, based on your efforts, you are an idiot.

A part of me - a big part - is mad at you. How DARE you sneak around Geo's parent's house in the dark, trying to unlock doors to cars that are tucked way back away from the street?! How DARE you dig through MY stuff and pick and choose your way thought my belongings? How DARE you think my Kate Spade travel mug wasn't worth stealing? What kind of monster are you!?

I'll admit it: I may have been so distracted by the wedding and the 7 hours of driving I would do in less than 24 hours. Did I forget to lock my car? I can't say. After a decade of living in Minneapolis and parking on the street, locking my doors is something I do as a habit so it's not really a conscious effort anymore. But lucky you! You found a way in.

I'm sure you are concerned, stranger, about how I reacted upon realizing I had been robbed. You must be worried sick about how my feelings and sense of security has been affected. See, Geo and I were driving back to Rochester on Saturday morning when I asked Geo to get my bluetooth speaker dealy that lets me listen to podcasts through my radio during my long drives. He couldn't find it.

Then I noticed something. An empty Altoids tin was in my cup holder. My Altoids tins - even the empty ones - are usually hoarded in my center console armrest thing, so I wondered how it got into the holder. And then I noticed that a cosmetic bag of change I have, which I use for absolutely nothing because there are no quarters left in it and pretty much no one accepts pennies, pesos, Chuck E Cheese tokens and nickels anymore. I just tossed the bag on the floor under the seat. But that too was gone.

Fun fact, kind robber: That money is disgusting. Before I put it all into a cosmetic bag while wearing a Ziploc baggie on my hand, it once sat in that same cup holder frozen by diet Coke I spilled in it back in October. It was in there for MONTHS, rotting away and probably growing syphilis and tetanus. SCORE, buddy. Enjoy the $8.23 that was probably in there. You should probably save it to take care of the medical bills and testing you now require. And remember: I had already taken all the quarters out for gas station vacuum cleaners.

Once I realized my poisonous change and my ride-saving speaker thing were both gone, I lost it. Someone had definitely robbed me. Someone was in my car without my permission, digging through stuff. I was irate. And then I was laughing hysterically.

How BUMMED were you, robber? My car is a deep, dark trench of useless crap. Old mix CDs melted by the sun; empty Altoids tins (hahaha! I bet you thought I KEPT stuff in there! What, like diamonds and wads of cash?!), a wallet insert with pictures of my nieces and nephews from 8 YEARS AGO; stinky gym shoes; 12 hoodies that I keep in there for mornings when I drive Geo to work and forget to put on a real shirt; six toys from Happy Meals that do random stupid things that I can't bring myself to toss. Hahaha! You idiot! You broke into a hoarder's car! 

Well, to be fair, you did steal my speaker thing, and I really freakin' loved that thing. I used it all the time and will send bad karma your way every time I turn on the pricey replacement I had to get later that day. And I'm really scared about what I CAN'T remember was in my car. I don't know what I kept in that center console. I didn't itemize the belongings I tossed behind me on my way home from work. I can't remember if you stole more than you did, and that is almost as unnerving as realizing that some a$$hole was in my car looking though everything.

So I guess you win. I'll be thinking about you for a long time. Every time I get in my car, I'll know someone was in there, but I won't know who or for how long or what you'll use all MY stuff for. You've probably never given me a second thought: just a chick with a thing for sweatshirts, garbage and apparently sweet taste in technology.

Then again, maybe I did win. You didn't think to pop the trunk where Geo's golf clubs, a cordless drill and some pretty dope rollerblades from 1996 were hiding.

Anyway, I hope it was worth it. I hope you went and bought whatever you couldn't afford with the stuff I had sitting in my car. And I hope that whatever it is breaks, is stolen or laced with something. But, you know, lesson learned. I will now be vigilant about locking my doors and keep all my change in a tube sock in my purse so I can hit you with it if I ever figure out who you are.