Posted on April 22, 2007


After babbling about it for years and years, I think I am actually getting close to driving. I started taking Cairene driving lessons last week. This was in part brought about by my father, who I cornered into promising to buy me a car the minute I get a license. I employed, probably for the last time, the skills gleaned from my trial practice class to cross-examine him on how he said the same thing to the Tweet and yet purchased said car THREE MONTHS after she got her license, and how that wasn’t going to happen in my case – I’m spoiled, yes. The Tweet rarely drives me anywhere, and shit, she’s three years younger than me and has been driving for ages; and also, the pseudo-boyfriend’s departure from the picture/ankle breaking/car crash exposed me to a wee bit more taxi riding than I like. I like living in Heliopolis, but I spend most of my time on the other side of the Nile.

The first driving instructor I retained was desperately late: “I’m nearly there!” produced no discernible there-ness. So much so that my dad sent him off, a really surprising move from him as, usually, the more irate I get, the more tolerant he is inclined to be. Besides, I am thoroughly unconvinced that I should have to learn how to drive a manual car (stick shift). Whenever I express this everyone parrots at me immediately, “But you HAVE to learn manual.”

“Why? I’m not going to buy a manual car.”

“But…manual is the only real driving.”

“Automatic cars get you from place to place right? That’s real enough for me.” Mephistopheles once said when I asked how he felt about fake boobs, “If I can touch them, that’s real enough for me!” and made squishing motions with both hands in the air. This was inspiring.

In the alternative, people have presented me with the following arguments for why I should learn to drive a manual car:

The Source (with an air of making a great admission): “To be honest….I admire girls who can drive manual well.” Oh, damn. All my hopes have been blighted fo evah! Of course I must make choices that in no way concern my friends in order to appeal to them as a woman.

Officemate: “What if something happened and you had to drive someone’s manual car?”

“We’d take a cab. The same for drunk friends – as if I’d be the sober one.”

It seems frankly repugnant, not to mention inhumane, that people should be expected to utilize ALL FOUR LIMBS to guide a vehicle, particularly in Cairo traffic. I have the greatest admiration for people who have what I think of as being simian abilities, but I am desperately uncoordinated (and have no tail) and so I am taking the easy – and sensible – way out: I have located what may be the only driving school in Cairo that will teach you on a automatic car. In your face bitches!

The owner of this driving school came round to pick me up, regaling me as I plunged hood first into crowded throughfares with his life story, which was unusual and involved mad rags-to-riches angles (although I did have to spend some time persuading him that Canada was not in Europe). He also directly contradicted every instruction given to me by that long-suffering instructor in Canada. Essentially, I was told to look nowhere but up ahead, not to bother much with mirrors, and I didn’t have to stop once. Nobody seems to have heard of a blind spot. It’s a lot easier than I thought it would be, but I don’t think I can be brought to beep – I hate loud noises. There is also a standard sum for obtaining licenses through bribery without taking the test – which I declined to pay on the grounds that I could possibly do so for much less.

Car recommendation anyone? The plan is to buy a new car for my sister, while I will get her tin can. Oh wait…she can ask around herself then.