Chick Wit: Best to be nobody's passenger

Posted: February 19, 2012

I have often said that there are many pleasures to being single, and among them is that you get to be in the driver's seat.

I mean this literally. In other words, I'm not talking about the road of life. I'm talking about I-95.

Not all of these columns are metaphorical. Sometimes a train is just a train.

But a cigar is always a phallic symbol.

I've been single for a long time now, and I'm used to driving myself everywhere. And I love every minute of myself as a driver. I'm a good and careful driver. I go slow and pay attention. I look around all the time. I watch out for the other guy. I scan his hands for a wedding band.

Just kidding. Not my point, herein.

I never got to drive myself when I was married, and I hated that. Why?

Frankly, because I never really liked the way men drive.

Or maybe it was just my men, but it started with my late father.

Let me say for the record that I adored my father. He was a great guy, calm and easygoing, except when he was behind the wheel. Then he didn't become angry, but he liked to go fast. Not crazy fast, but well over the speed limit.

And this in the olden days, when the speed limit was 65.

You may be too young to remember those days. Back then, the retirement age was also 65, but times have changed. Nowadays the speed limit is 55, and the retirement age is 235.

Which means that there are plenty of 85-year-olds driving themselves to the office at 82 m.p.h.

Not a good combo.

Anyway, even when my father drove at the speed limit, he sped to the traffic light and then stopped short, over and over and over, so the ride would be herky-jerky and ultimately nauseating. You could get carsick with my dad, even in the front seat. It drove my mother nuts, and after they divorced, it drove my stepmother nuts.

Divorce doesn't solve everything.

Just in my case.

We all nagged my father about his driving, and he tried to comply, but it didn't last. He wasn't passive-aggressive, but he was forgetful. He'd try to toe the line, but sooner or later, he'd go back to his old habits.

Like me and chocolate cake, when I'm on a diet.

It's only a matter of time before we're reunited.

And it feels so good.

Anyway, I think the way my father drove is the way that all men drive, because every man I've ever driven with drives the same way. Thing One, Thing Two, and all the other things.

Evidently, a car is a phallic symbol, too.

OK, I won't speculate as to whether this habit is genital, or congenital.

And as far as driving goes, it's not that I'm a control freak. I just like to go slow, and enjoy the ride. I sing, I listen to audiobooks, and I think, or talk to myself.

Yes, I'm that crazy lady in the car next to you. I act like I'm talking on a hands-free phone, but I'm talking to myself.

And I don't think I'm alone.

I have figured out this much: Men drive to get somewhere, and women enjoy the process more.

And because men are so concerned with Point A to Point B, they drive too fast. They don't leave enough space between cars. They switch lanes too often. They pass all the time.

And they never, ever use blinkers.

It's not that men expect you to read their mind.

Women expect you to read their mind.

Men expect you to deal.

I was reminded of this again after my bunion surgery, when I had to ask a male friend of mine to drive me to the foot doctor. My friend is a great guy, calm and mellow like my father, but when he drove us, we zoomed and stopped, zoomed and stopped, the whole trip, and I got up close and personal with way too many bumper stickers.

IF YOU CAN READ THIS, YOU'RE TOO CLOSE.

And we were.

Not even a podiatrist can cure a lead foot.

Look, I know that men take more risks in life, and that's a good thing. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and even Christopher Columbus all took great risks and reaped great rewards.

But what about that guy who married and divorced Kim Kardashian in 47 days, whatever his name was?

Shoulda driven slower, if you ask me.

I myself wait until I mail my thank-you notes to file my divorce papers.

If it's the road of love, I want it to last forever.


Lisa Scottoline's new novel, "Come Home," will be published April 10, 2012. The paperback of "Save Me" is in bookstores now. Visit Lisa at scottoline.com.

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