15/03/2010

On not driving

If you can't drive, you're an idiot. If you made the decision not to drive, then you're a double idiot, or you're afraid people will call you an idiot because you failed. Now that I'm a real grown-up with husband and children and cat and goldfish and snails, I can finally say it outloud : I'll be an idiot, then. I am so over people asking me, with wide open eyes as if I'd just said how aliens have just come down to earth « I don't drive ». Then comes the usual « Oh, why's that ? ». Now, the answer I give depends on quite a lot of things, such as do I like this person or not. If not, then I'll just answer « because I'm an idiot » and go talk to someone else. I might add here that I'm a – fake but really well done, thank you hairdresser, Jennifer Anistonly – blonde, with big breasts. So it usually never shocks people to hear I'm an idiot. If I do like the person, then I'll answer the truth « I failed the written test ». Now, here comes the part when parisiens, parisiennes and all French readers will laugh out loud, because, really, only pure idiots fail. However, I like to think of myself as smart. Not kick-arse smart, but smart enough not to fail a written test. Here are a few facts about that test : it's stupid. I hate doing stupid things. You have to punch a whole in a piece of paper when you see the right answer. It's always between a « yes » or a « no », there's never any way you can explain, or, for that matter, think. I have great difficulties not to think. My main objective as a parent is to teach my children to think for themselves. If I manage to do this, then I'll feel I did my job. You're allowed five mistakes, not one more, I made six. I paused during the test, looked at all the 18 year-olds punching and punching, and asked myself why I was doing this. When I was 18, all I wanted was to get out of the suburbs to become a real parisienne. In Paris, you don't need to drive, there's the métro, the bus, and you walk. Cars are everywhere, they're noisy, they smell and they're ugly, except for the pink ones and the cabs. If I drove, I would never get lost in tiny streets, I'd never stop randomly at some café to draw something that caught my eye, I wouldn't be smiled at, I wouldn't have bought those amazing shoes in that marvellous shop today. So, really, I'd rather stay an idiot.

1 comment:

Philippe said...

Fair enough. As it turns out, I have my driver's license - both in France and the US - and don't want to turn this post into a pissing contest. But I can relate in different areas: for instance, I subconsciously refuse to learn directions to places that I don't like. This is an emotional rebuttal, an obscure reflex of self-preservation, the animal in me that kicks back at the notion of the cage. No matter how easier it would make my life to learn and memorize how to get to the dreaded address, I have to Google it every time and still obstinately try to get lost. On the other hand, I tend to learn fast my way around exciting places, even where I've never been before. Emotional compass, selective memory, survival instinct. Not a question of smarts, or memory. We are capricious beings.

And I probably piss a little farther too.

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