I am a feminist. I truly am. It’s just that when it comes to women drivers in Italy, I tend to side with the Saudis. The other day a report came out which proved one of my pet theories: SmartCar drivers were actually pretty stupid when it comes to using their automobiles. Incredibly, they were even more stupid than the SUV owners, who, by all accounts, simply ignore that there are things called lanes, stop signs and other petty inconveniences like other cars along their path, never mind parking spaces and pedestrians.
And, while you will get run down or cut off by both SmartCars and SUVs driven by both sexes fairly equally, I still believe it’s the women that cause more harm. Men, you see, actually take pleasure in using other vehicles in much the same way as little rubber ducks in a shooting gallery. The women don’t even see that there are dozens of ducks paddling along in the first place all desperately trying to avoid the one with the loaded weapon.
There was a time in the 80s and 90s when it was easy to spot these reckless drivers. Back then, husbands let their wives on the road as long as they were inside a FIAT UNO or Panda, basically the equivalent of a Chevy Chevette or Ford Fiesta, without the comforts. And in a sort of unspoken code, these guys collectively set out to mark which wives to watch out for – the women’s cars were always – without exception – white.
And so, when you found yourself anywhere near a white UNO (I might add the same car thought to have set off the crash which killed Princess Di), you knew to let them go ahead, or run the red light before they crashed into you from behind, or how to beat them so they wouldn’t lane drift right through your passenger side window.
But, unfortunately, with the new millennium, came the upgrade. These women insisted on immense SUVs for their one-child brood. Some sporty types opted for the SmartCars. All are now fully armed with cell phones on which they talk incessantly. They went from driving a mass weapon of destruction to actually becoming weapons of mass destruction. One look in your rear view mirror to see a woman on a mission, cellphone in hand, careening into your lane, you know you have no way out.
And after your car has been squashed like an accordion, they are the first to pop out screaming into their cellphones while yelling indirectly at you what a loser you are for having caused such a horrible scene. While you are busy checking your pulse to see that you are still, in fact, alive, they have already hopped back into their unscathed auto and taken off at full speed toward their next target – leaving you to ponder how life might look in Saudi Arabia.