Kind, sweet Yasmine sometimes wears this unusual, oversized mood ring. When she is in a good mood it turns blue. And when in a bad mood it leaves a big red welt across my forehead.
Such as when we were driving home from New York City Easter Sunday. I’ve always maintained: You don’t know a woman until you’ve met her in court…OR taken a 100-mile drive with her at the wheel.
For most of my life I let women do the driving and am happy to do so… most of the time. And Yasmine didn’t seem to want impetuous me roaring us down the highway. Not so much because her young kids were in the car, but because she is insightful. She knows the only thing that keeps me from going insane is being crazy.
Okay, I recognize that I am a bad passenger. But there are two things that no man will admit he cannot do well – drive and make love.
Actually, the one thing that unites all people, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status and ethnic background, is that we all think we are good drivers. That is, despite the fact that I once failed my international driver’s exam eons ago. My Algerian examiner heatedly berated me for NOT using the horn FULL TIME. And I’ve been assiduously practicing to correct that timid malady ever since.
Do you see where this is heading?
Yasmine pokes along like she’s driving an ox cart in her reins – in search of a red light. That is except when she hits Brooklyn where my Haitian libation spent a good 20 years. Then if you don’t like the way she’s instinctively racing and cornering curves, whirling like a Gaucho’s bolo… well… stay off the sidewalk!
Otherwise, on the highway, like Interstate 95, she is the reason everybody’s insurance rates, like their blood pressure and middle fingers, go up-up-up! She’s driving in the middle of her three-lane-side of the highway with the hand-brake seemingly cranked to the max.
I know… I know… half the motorists can’t drive fast enough to please their boyfriends, while the other half can’t drive slow enough to please their wives. It’s one of those perversely revoltin’ developments.
And I am squirming in the suicide seat not wanting to be a bigger pain-in-duh-ass than usual. So I am buggering her two kids absorbed in their cell phone apps in the back trying to ignore us two assholes in the front. I am reading every billboard, naming every tree and explaining every nuance — such as why some electrical wires have big red balls attached.
To say the least, this is going over about as well as a fart at a black-tie dinner.
Meanwhile, Yasmine, is totally tuned into her GPS – word by bloody word. And all the female-canine GPS voice keeps warning us is: Car on shoulder ahead…
No shit! But why tell us? Yasmine ain’t no closer to the shoulder than we are to Philadelphia.
Finally, for some unexplained reason the GPS dominatrix suggests we get off the highway at the next exit and weave about for 10-miles until we find our way back to I-95.
And now Yasmine is seeking my advice.
I’ve learned… and learned… and learned… that a woman never wants advice. She wants corroboration. Women would rather be right than reasonable. They just want you to agree with whatever they are thinking. And good luck with that.
In fact the smartest girl I ever met knew how to play tennis, piano and dumb.
Hmm… She obviously was too smart for me.
Anyway, since I detested the female GPS android I ventured to Yasmine that we stick to the highway, which caused her to momentarily veer about in uncertainty – which is caused by insecurity – which is, undoubtedly, the cause of most bad behavior.
Like mine: I have a strange combination of fearlessness and massive insecurity.
And, but of course, once again: I WAS WRONG!
We hit a traffic jam created by some accident with all the yellow flashing lights. In a long, slow, stop-n-go 10 miles we would finally witness it – unlike the oxymoronic ‘Men At Work’ signs we crawled by much earlier.
And this is where my dear-dear Yasmine’s driving finally pushed my exasperated pedal to the metal. She’d stick to her middle lane even though it was the only one not moving. And when I suggested we change to either one of the other two options she would decelerate instead of accelerate, to a cacophony of blasting horns.
And when I – perhaps just a tad acerbically – wondered aloud what the heck she was doing, she pushed hard on the brakes instead of the gas.
“What!!!???” she shrieked.
And this is where her mood ring changed from mellow to ‘hello!’
Needless to say my mouth got far out in front of my dim-witted thinking. And while there I astutely thought it would be damn good of me to review a few finer points of her goddamn driving!
But of course!
How have I ever managed to live this long? I think her kids must have been wondering that also.
Through clenched teeth she demanded: “Don’t yell at me!”
And instead of just shutting-off I just had to get-it-on: “But I thought you liked my ‘commanding’ voice!”
Haven’t I heard this inanity somewhere, with somebody else before? And I think Yasmine was thinking along the same bad memory lane. So we both got intensely quiet. Very quiet. And shortly I tried to slice through the thick fog with something or other, as if nothing had just transpired.
And then I uttered what has taken me a very long time to learn: “I apologize.”
And I truly meant it. Things bounce off me. But women are different. They indeed, have softer skin. Furthermore, stubbornness only leaves you with loneliness. And in your loneliness you discover there really is no right and wrong. There is only sense and nonsense.
We are all wracked with insecurity. And insecurity is like driving through life with your handbrake on. In fact, we live in a culture where we’re bombarded with too much noise and too much insecurity.
But any man can make mistakes. However, only an idiot persists in his error. Yet, at the same time, I am truly sorry for people who never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must live. For, if you’ve never let go, how do you know what you are holding onto?
So we proceeded in the calm of the night with our headlights pointing out the way. And I got to thinking that much of life is like driving a car thru the darkness. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
And dats yDrewIS on dis penal colony…