Thursday, June 6, 2013

Driving Men Women

At one time my sister-in-law and I could not get our husbands to put gas in the car before the fuel gauge dropped below one quarter empty. They preferred to drive on empty or leave us the cars on empty since the gas gauges were liars and you can drive for miles with the gauge on empty. It took a few decades before the men could hear what the women were trying to tell them. The world for us women is a lot more dangerous than it is for men. I suppose a healthy, adult male could run out of gas and then some roving predator could rape him, but I'm fairly certain the odds of that are much, much lower than it is for women. It's not so much that the inconvenience in a hurried life of pumping gas trumped my safety, it's more that he simply did not think about what we women have to think about all the time. But he finally did get it, and now I almost never start out a trip with an empty tank. Sometimes I fill it, sometimes he fills.
He fills the car tank at the cheapest gas station that takes cash. I fill at the gas station three blocks from our house. The filling is more expensive because I opt to let the station attendant fill the car. I want that gas station to continue in business. That means that I and a lot more people need to patronize the business. So my supporting a local business trumps my husband's saving a few dollars. For him, frugality trumps patronizing a local business.
My husband will drive miles and miles out of the way to avoid red lights. He seems to find a red light holding him back a grave insult. He wants to choose when to stop and when to go.
I find the looking and calculating Can I go? Can I go? frustrating and tiresome. And I dislike merging; looking over my shoulder and calculating and looking and calculating all the while going forward at 60 miles/hr. I would much rather take a straight route, stop at the red light, go at the green light. Simple. I can think about things other than whether or not today I die in a car accident.
Of course, my husband knows that he will never be in an accident because he is a good driver.
I have no such delusions about myself.
There was the day we were taking all our adult children (except the wookie) to the beach to have a fun day while discussing family matters and I told my husband to not take hwy 26 because there were too many head on collisions from sleepy drivers coming back from the beach. He did not want to take the long way with red lights on it, but he said he would. Except he lied. I was reading the paper and so did not notice when he took 26 anyway, and I never saw the car with the sleepy driver that ran into our car. I just saw the air bag deflating through the tear in my newspaper. Years later, one of the kids still has a hurt spine. One kid had to delay boot camp for a year. All of us were sore for weeks. At the family meeting, he told the boys to listen to their wives. Yeah right. He still drives where and how he wants no matter what I have to say.
I dislike being stuck in stop and go traffic. My husband gets frantic about being trapped. He might characterize his attitude differently, but that's what it looks like on my side of the car. He gets irate at people who "cut him off". What cut? I say. The car got into our lane in front of us. So what? He had to get in front of some car. Why not ours? What difference does it make? Then he gets irate at me.
I'm not being fair here. The biggest factor in his traffic frustration is the pain he is in. He crushed his feet several years ago, and although he can walk (Thank God) simply being awake any period of time makes his feet hurt. He is always in a hurry to get home so he can put his feet up.
And that brings up another difference that I do not know is male vs. female or just him and I. He thinks that if he thinks about being careful, he is being careful. He went on the roof, two days after his mother died, to put on zinc to kill the moss, and he thought about being careful while he was up there. If I had been awake that early morning, I would have insisted that he place a board or ladder near the edge or tied a rope around him and some stay, because unless you put up physical barriers, you are not being careful. So, his mind drifted, and he stepped off the roof and fell 20 feet to the concrete driveway, crushing his feet and lower legs.
Odd thing: for decades before that happened I would often wake up from nightmares about me pleading with him to be careful while he worked on something, sometimes it was a tablesaw. He would ignore me, and then he would accidentally cut off his hands. Control issues much? Um, yeah.  Nightmares about the children involved my trying to call them back to shelter whilst they ran out into the path of tornadoes. Anyway..... after that incident I never had another nightmare like that.
So.... Driving, men have such different attitudes from women.  Or am I the only one who thinks that?

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