This is me driving around New York: I am vaguely alarmed. Vigilant. Fearful of crushing the pedestrians swerving into traffic. Pedestrians that talk into cell phones / eat peanuts / drag their children down the sidewalk – all at the same time. Bicyclists who seem to think it is totally ok to swerve in and out of Broadway traffic and J-bike – a more dangerous form of the J-walk. I wish I had such freedoms. But behind the wheel, a cat feels great responsibility.
You can read the guilt on my face: guilt for being issued a driver’s license in the first place. I remember the day well. The test took place in Yonkers, NY. My coach was a generously proportioned individual in a Dickies onesy, with short, greasy grey hair. I don’t recall whether the person was male or female, but it was of little consequence at the time. This person was not a person, they were a DRIVING INSTRUCTOR. And a nice one at that – when I did a miserable job trying to parallel park, they taught me how. (Align your passenger-side rearview mirror with the driver’s side rearview mirror of the other vehicle and reverse straight back before hitting a sharp turn, and then straighten out again.) Magic. The whole thing lasted ten minutes, max.
But of course, that had no relation to whether I was a competent driver or not, which I wasn’t. And clearly, the higher license-issuing-powers that be had no idea who I was, because when I got my license in the mail, instead of reading Rose L. duPont Gender: F, it read Rose L. duPont Gender: M. Perhaps the instructor felt it would do me good to go through the world as a male for awhile? Maybe they thought I would have more confidence parallel parking if I identified as a male?Whatever the reason, I accepted it. I didn’t get my license changed for two years. And when I finally sent it in to get corrected, they sent a new one back to me that read:
Rose L. duPont Gender: M.
So I figured, what the hell.
Anyway, for the past eight months or so I’ve been working as a PA on documentary film shoots, and every shoot day, I wake up thinking, “how on earth did I manage to get this job – a job comprised of two of my least favorite things to do in the world:”
1) Driving in New York.
2) Driving in New York.
And yet, and YET, I look so darn cool doing it.
After a few months driving around New York, I’ve learned how to:
1. Flirt parking garage owners into discounts (and yes, even if your license says you’re a male, you can come up with great results.)
2. How to scream nasty insults at unruly pedestrians.
3. How to use the accelerator and the break. And the blinker. And ahhh – the windshield wipers.
Rosie (the Cat)