Men and women drive differently.  I tend to believe that men drive by looking straight ahead.   If it is not in front of them, it does not exist.  Women use additional perceptions..such as peripheral vision.  This may be tied to our pension for multi-tasking.

This is frequently a topic of disagreement in my marriage.  Eric believes that men are safer drivers.  I, since not only having peripheral vision but tending to use it, believe that women are safer.  This becomes glaringly evident whenever we drive together.  Eric would love for me to take a nap whenever I get in the car.  I tend to indulge him if for no reason than I don’t get out with a leg cramp from hitting the imaginary brake.

Nurses are all about data – and this is where my argument falls apart.  Eric has been in two accidents since we got married – both from other drivers hitting him.  I have been in two accidents with other cars and two accidents..with myself.  Myself being…not another car….but a parking garage in one case, and a large post in another.  My peripheral vision was not working so well either day.

The parking garage incident was truly not my fault but the fault of some, most likely male, architect who designed the parking garage at the hospital.  Somehow, while trying to make a 90 degree turn in a cramped corner, I sideswiped the wall.  I had Chris jump out of survey the damage.  He opened the slider, took a look, and said “it’s not that bad!”  Yeah!  Until we got home…and realized that the bulk of the damage was under the slider.  I still blame the architect.

Not our van but very similar – when the doors were not bent in half!

The other incident was about 12 years ago.  We had a Chevy Astrovan.  What a great family vehicle!  Seats 2 adults, 6 teenagers, three boogie boards…a marching band….  One morning, the boys and I jumped into the van for our daily drive to their school and I distinctly remember hearing three doors close.   I jumped into the drivers side.  Chris jumped into the front seat.  Matt and Tommy following into the slider.  We were running late which explains all the “jumping”.

I did not look to see the doors close but having assumed that everyone knew that the doors must be closed to leave, I started to pull out.  BANG!  Only not really a bang….more like the sound of metal….bending…and shaping itself around a wooden post.  I can’t describe the sound.  It sounds like…money flying out of your wallet.

I looked to the right to see Christopher staring at the open door on his side.  Only the door was not really visible – since it was completely bent in half.   I am not exaggerating.  It was literally – and I mean using the term”literally”..literally – bent in half.  The wood post, however, was completely intact and continued to proudly mark it’s territory.  I imagine it saying…that is your space….this is mine!  I pulled forward to see if this was hopefully some type of illusion.  Nope…still bent..still uncloseable…still proving that car doors are apparently pliable when contacting wood posts.

The boys looked at me and wisely decided that this was a good time to stay silent.  I spoke four words very quietly.  “Get in the truck.”  We had an old Ford F250 at the time.  It got about 5 miles to the gallon.  Fortunately, however, it could fit four in the front seat.  No one spoke a word during the trip to school.  I thank my boys for having the good sense to know when Mom is hanging delicately on the brink of insanity.

After the boys were dropped off, I came back and surveyed the damage.  Maybe I could bend it back.  Yes…I actually thought this.  You are now questioning my intelligence. Realize that in drastic situations, delusional thinking comes to play.  I tried…to no avail.  I called my husband.  He was actually not upset, but seemingly amused…I’m sure because he assumed that we would no longer be arguing about the abilities of female and male drivers.  He informed me of where the bungee cords were kept.  I drove to the body shop with one hand on the a bungee cord that was attached to the bent door.  I’m sure I was a conversation starter for married couples in cars the entire drive.

Was my husband correct?  Did this end our eternal debate regarding gender  driving abilities?  Of course not.  While I commit when I’m going to hit something, my husband tends to have frequent near misses…many of which I save him from…because of my audible intake of air as I hit the imaginary brake.  I still feel that he doesn’t see anything on either side of the car and he still feels that I somehow bend space and time by getting places twice as fast as he does.  In the end, he wins when it comes to actual monetary damage caused.  Or do I win for having twice as much damage as he has?  I guess it’s all a matter of perspective!


Posted by:Sheri Saretsky

I spent ten years as a single parent of three boys. I then married my wonderful husband and he was inducted into the world of boy raising. Now we get to add my peri-menopause to the mix! Its been a crazy I wouldn't change a minute of....

3 replies on “How pliable is your car door?

  1. Women are definitely better drivers, Sheri. Men not only design parking garages but they also design cars and everyone knows they should make them so they won’t bend when hitting immovable objects, right? I loved the lines, “I can’t describe the sound. It was the sound of money flying out of your wallet.” Hahaha!


  2. It’s really okay. I mean that van took the brunt of the learning curve. The boys worked in the dents, blown engines, tickets and the like with the other vehicles — you know, the usual learning curve of teenage boys. I got most of my “tomfoolery” with cars out by the time we were married.


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