Friday, February 16, 2007

Driver's Ed

I've invented a new game. It's called 'Drunk or Asian' and the rules are simple. You see a driver do something inexplicably stupid and/or dangerous and you have to guess if the driver is drunk or Asian.

Yes, I know how racist this sounds and I'm probably giving drunk drivers a bad rep, but I'm fighting a lifetime of experience. It's like thinking I have a shot with the scorchingly hot office temp. I can fool myself for a few minutes that things might be different this time around, before the reality of my marriage, age, and lack of sex appeal rears up and kicks me in the teeth. Like witnessing a good Asian driver, it just ain't happening.

Let's be clear, I'm not talking about the younger generation that have grown up in the U.S. I'm referring to the older Asian folks who don't seem to speak much English, understand road signs, have any idea which side of the road they should be driving on, or why that funny little blinky light needs to stay on all the time (it doesn't).

Granted, there are more than enough idiotic American drivers to go around, but they know their driving like lunatics. There's a difference between being clueless and being a complete asshole. At least the asshole knows a red light means they need to stop. Or, at the very least, make sure they can beat the oncoming traffic before blowing through it.

It also raises the question of whether something that is true can be classified as racist. Sure, maybe I'm sterotyping elderly Asian drivers, but has anyone seen one that is even decent? I don't want a perfect driver, just someone that doesn't suddenly take a right hand turn from the left lane of a divided highway. Or one that can't decide which fork in the road to take and winds up driving over the curb and hitting a tree. I actually saw this happen! Apparently the cars in Vietnam don't have brakes.

How often do you have to witness certain behavior before it goes from stereotype to fact? Here's one suggestion: when you can predict behavior or actions because of previously witnessed behavior or action from a member of the same race.

Example: I took my 6 year old (he was 5 when this happened) to his friend's birthday party at one of those huge, indoor playground places that I hate (in fact, this deserves it's own post one day). After the party I'm walking him back to our car and I notice an Asian woman get into her car and start it up. Now we're approaching the back of the car and she is going to have to back out of the space. Call me racist, call me insensitive, call me an dickhead (I've been called much much worse) but when I saw the reverse lights on her car light up I told my son to stop and back up. Sure enough, not only did she not look behind her before backing out, she bumped the car we were standing next to and took off without a second thought. That bump could have been us for all she knew.

After she drove off, my son asks 'Why didn't she stop, Dad?' I said, 'Some people just aren't very good drivers' and left it at that. I don't want to do is pass along my prejudices to my impressionable son. He'll learn things his own way. Maybe by the time he learns to drive things will be different. Unless China begins a driver's education program, it's not likely. But hope springs eternal.

Or so I hear. A French person said it to me once and you know those French. Rude, unclean and untrustworthy.

Today's distraction: Find out your 'Car Carma'. It ranks the astrological signs as drivers. I'm one of the worst when it comes to getting tickets and in the top 5 when it comes to overall bad drivers. I rule!

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