By Aubrey Mayne
Let me start by informing you that I have never hit a parked car, never drove off with the gas pump attached to my car, and I aced parallel parking on my driver’s exam… in a minivan. It’s not too far a stretch to say that I am an excellent driver: capable, safe, and when the time calls for it, I’ve got some Fast and the Furious moves up my sleeve. My boyfriend, however, disagrees.
Once upon a Tuesday afternoon I set off on some errands around LA with my man, who rode co-pilot. The trip started off mildly enough with a “What freeway are you thinking of taking?” and a “Maybe traffic is bad on the 101; do you want to try Laurel Canyon Drive? It’s pretty…” which I let slide because it seemed harmless enough. What then followed was a barrage of comments on my choice of lane, some ‘Woah, they’re stopping ahead of you’s, and a plethora of colorful/exclamatory language. Then in the parking lot of a Joanne’s Fabric store (yes, I will admit, I dragged him to a fabric store—my bad.), I’m pretty sure I heard the “ding ding” of a boxing match, and we were at it.
Boyfriend: “Why didn’t you make that light!? Why can’t you listen to me when I am trying to help you? It’s like you are just ignoring me and being stubborn on purpose!”
Me: “Why do you feel the need to tell me, a perfectly capable grown woman, how to drive my own freaking car? You’re treating me like a child and stressing me out!”
Stubborn person that I am, I immediately went on the defensive. “How dare he tell me what to do?” I thought, “How long have I been a driver? There is a reason why insurance rates are more expensive for men! What did he just say
about my reaction time being slower!?” etc. He started to give me examples of my stubbornness and how it made him feel until I un-pursed my lips and let what he was saying sink in. He wanted to help and protect me, and I was, in a sense, slapping his hand away. My boyfriend is a big guy who is very passionate, so naturally he feels inclined to protect those around him who he cares about. Sometimes though it can be too much, which I think was the problem we were having. He wanted to give me help, but the manor and frequency with which he was doing it was driving me crazy.
The discussion went on, until we came to the conclusion that we both had some things to work on. He would try and do less driving instructing and be nicer about it when he did need to say something, and I agreed to unclench my fist of pride when listening to others’ advice… and do more head checks before merging. So at the end of the day, we both had a better understanding of each others’ needs, and I had some awesome fabric to reupholster my dining room chairs with. Win and win.