We now have the “First Smart Parking Lot” in Addis Ababa, which made me think of a favorite pet peeve of mine,where men tell me how to drive. Ever since I first got my driving license and maybe before that, there has been a man telling me how to drive. I am talking about those men outside of buildings or in parking garages or in the parking lots at the mall or just other drivers and bystanders offering unsolicited advice on how I should operate a moving vehicle. I am of course discounting the profane sexual statements continually hurled at women drivers. That is a conversation for another time.
I am talking about the random parking attendant, security guard or random passerby who tells me to turn my wheel to the left or the right, move the car forward or backward, how to park, where to park, whether I have done a good job or not, whether I should try that parallel parking one more time and my favorite, the occasional ‘ayzosh’ if they perceive I am having a hard time.
I should point out that it is highly improbable these guys have driving licenses.
Does it matter?
I mean, really, I do have a state mandated driver’s license, for which I took training and multiple examinations for, still, it does not matter at all to these guys. I am, after all, just a woman. So they continue to offer unsolicited, condescending and frankly, sometimes very impossible advice and these people are almost always men. I say almost always because sometimes they could be boys.
Consistently and without fail my skills to undertake such a routine daily task are questioned and discussed by strange men and yes, boys. Recently, a friend who continually drives long distances by herself sent me a picture of two boys in the country side. Neither could not believe that there was an actual woman driving an actual car and never having seen a woman drive before, they stood by the road and gawked. Mobility, apparently, is a purely male phenomenon.
Very recently, I found my car blocked in by another with no driver in sight and after trying a few maneuvers to try and squeeze past, I gave in and joined the effort to find the driver. One parking attendant however started to sagely inform me that I was stuck in there because of my bad driving. I asked him, not quite as calmly as I would have liked to be honest, how on earth he would propose I move my car and he in turn informed me he would have flown it over the parked car.
I wonder of the possibilities if we lived in a different world, what would be different about this interaction? Perhaps this guy would actually some kind of qualification that would make his supposition valid. My car of-course would be some kind of hover-craft, making flying over a parked vehicle quite possible. Perhaps he would mind his business and let the competent woman driver do what she has done for a while now, drive. As if I did not have enough #everydaysexisim to deal with, men tell me how to drive. Just let me drive, man!