Driving is not something that women are supposed to be good at.
For me, that statement has always been more of a challenge than a limitation. I won’t say that I’m the world’s best driver, I won’t even go as far as to say that I’m a really very good driver. But I am more observant than many people and I would say that I have fairly good internal mathematics. What are internal mathematics? So glad you didn’t really ask.
Internal mathematics are my term for things like the spatial reasoning, geometry, physics, etc. that your body/brain automatically uses to help you navigate through life. In other words, I made it up. It’s a fairly simple concept, though. Imagine someone has asked you to throw them a set of keys. In the split second it takes for you to toss those keys, your brain is making a series of calculations that you may not even be aware of. You consider the weight of the keys, possible resistance from factors such as wind, as well as the force required for you to throw the keys towards your intended target without hitting this other person in the face (unless that is the desired result).
Internal mathematics are also what help you determine how fast you can take a corner without skidding off the road, or when you should start braking before you hit that ancient reanimated corpse in front of you (otherwise known as an old person). Men are typically better at this type of reasoning than women, which is why we have expressions such as “throwing like a girl” or “driving like a woman”. Granted, there are factors other than internal mathematics that helped to coin these phrases, such as a lack of physical strength or distraction due to makeup application, but my argument stands.
I am a woman. I love driving. In fact, I am occasionally paid to drive professionally. Driving the company truck presents a whole series of challenges that you would not face in your average car, all of which require some semblance of mathematical reasoning and logical problem solving. However, this is not the sort of driving that really gets my adrenaline pumping.
I like to drive fast. I want to push myself and the (contained) explosive device under the hood to the limits. I dream of a high-powered, hard-cornering, road-devouring monster that I can whip ’round corners like I’m going back in time to save the whales.
Perhaps then, I am not a typical woman. This is a line of reasoning that I am generally inclined to agree with. The wallpaper for my iPad is a Lamborghini Murciélago, for crying out loud. I have a dedicated folder for my “car porn”, which includes images of some of what I believe to be the most beautiful cars ever made. But cars are meant to be driven, not just seen, and some cars are just begging to be driven.
Alas, I am just a modest wife and mother. I couldn’t even dream of ever owning such beautifully exquisite triumphs of engineering, let alone driving them. How, then, do I satisfy these urges to drive?
Secretly, safely, though not always quietly. I take enormous pleasure in hitting a corner just right, in backing up perfectly straight, in parking in seemingly impossible spaces. Sometimes I go a little faster than I should, sometimes I rev the engine a little higher than I should, sometimes I brake a little late. And sometimes I get frustrated with the limitations of the machines at my disposal. But I will always, always love driving and challenging the stereotype that women can’t drive well.