Ettie Newlands

My new car is red, a fact my husband doesn’t mention when he talks about it.

I hear “cylinders” and “horsepower” when he talks about it.

He talks about the amount of room it has, the miles per gallon it gets, and the cost of its insurance.

Setting the clock and the date in a new car means – in his world – pushing all the buttons until those things magically fix themselves.

Reading the manual is not an option.

This reminds me of how differently we – and most men and women – give driving directions.

He talks about how many miles away someplace is.

Women don’t do that. Women give directions in terms of how long it takes to get there.

Back in the day, a friend told me, “It’s close enough that you can’t finish a whole cigarette.”

Women tell each other the important stuff when they’re giving directions.

Stuff like, “Get in the left lane when you pass the shoe store.”

My husband uses words like “north” and “west” and all I want is for him to tell me if I should turn left or right.

He recently asked me why I was driving in the left lane, which he calls “the passing lane.”

I told him why – I was going to turn left in three lights. He put the radio on and looked out the window.

Usually he drives, and when he does, he constantly moves and changes things, including the mirror and the seat. That would be fine if he put them back, but need I tell you?

He also uses cruise control which drives me crazy. What is the purpose of that?

He still has to speed up and slow down, so why does everything become a toy?

My husband does not use his blinker if there’s nobody behind him or coming from the other direction. He also does not come to a full stop at a stop sign if there’s nobody coming.

I tell him the rules don’t stipulate “if” or “when.” They’re for all the time. He doesn’t agree. He says it’s about using common sense.

He never said so, but I know he thinks parallel parking is up there with growing a beard and roping wild cattle.

He has no concept of sliding into a space front-first so we don’t have to back out.

My new car is red. End of discussion.

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