Old people and teen boys aren’t the worst drivers. These people are
If this column leaves you steaming, don’t call me to complain.
I’m not here. In fact, I’m on vacation. I intentionally waited until I was far, far away before publishing this column, because I am a gutless weenie. You’ll see why.
This week, my complaint is with bad driver. Not just any old bad driver.
I’ve been driving since 1972 (often through hip-deep snow … your parents have told you about it). And I’ve driven everywhere, from the eight-lane shooting galleries of Los Angeles to the perilous, two lane left-side-of-the-road back roads of the Bahamas.
With all this experience, you’d think I’d have a pretty good idea of who can handle a vehicle and who can’t. Actually, I do.
Most people would single out elderly drivers, or teen-age boys, as the most serious road menaces.
It’s true that elderly people sometimes create hazardous driving conditions because they can’t see as well, or react as quickly, as we younger folks.
And yes, teen-age boys with access to a healthy dose of cubic inches under the hood present a serious hazard to other drivers’ existence.
But a far greater threat exists. That threat is:
The single white female, aged 18 to 22.
All my observations tell me that this group of drivers is the most seriously deficient in driving skills and judgment. Come upon an accident and chances are, a single white female, aged 18 to 22, will have been involved.
The single white female usually drives a compact imported car, like a Nissan, a Toyota or a Honda, “drive” being a figurative word – the single white female whips the dickens out of those hapless four-cylinder beasts. What began its mechanical life as a sedate econobox becomes a ragged-out Indy racer under the well-muscled gas-pedal foot of the single white female.
They blast away from stoplights as if the clearance sale at The Gap were in its dying moments, and screech to a stop at the next light as if they’d spotted a pair of Wayfarers lying in the road.
They do this rain or shine, because the single white female has no comprehension of the laws of physics. “Why can’t I tailgate the car ahead of me at 40 mph in a driving rainstorm?” she asks. “Friction? What’s that?”
But of course, they never see any of these things happening, because they are too busy (a) applying makeup as they fly down Eglin Parkway at 58 mph, (b) blabbing on cellular telephones as they apply makeup with the other hand and steer with their elbows, and (c) yanking strands of hair from their cell phones and makeup applicators.
OK, so 90 percent of this is exaggeration, and 8 percent is just me trying to aggravate a heretofore neglected segment of the population. Still, there’s that 2 percent of truth. …
The solution to this problem is simple: Require all girls of this age group to drive Geo Metros, or Ford Aspires. Don’t give them any real horsepower until they’re a cranky old geezer like me.
About the author:
Del Stone Jr. is a professional fiction writer. He is known primarily for his work in the contemporary dark fiction field, but has also published science fiction and contemporary fantasy. Stone’s stories, poetry and scripts have appeared in publications such as Amazing Stories, Eldritch Tales, and Bantam-Spectra’s Full Spectrum. His short fiction has been published in The Year’s Best Horror Stories XXII; Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine; the Pocket Books anthology More Phobias; the Barnes & Noble anthologies 100 Wicked Little Witch Stories, Horrors! 365 Scary Stories, and 100 Astounding Little Alien Stories; the HWA anthology Psychos; and other short fiction venues, like Blood Muse, Live Without a Net, Zombiesque and Sex Macabre. Stone’s comic book debut was in the Clive Barker series of books, Hellraiser, published by Marvel/Epic and reprinted in The Best of Hellraiser anthology. He has also published stories in Penthouse Comix, and worked with artist Dave Dorman on many projects, including the illustrated novella “Roadkill,” a short story for the Andrew Vachss anthology Underground from Dark Horse, an ashcan titled “December” for Hero Illustrated, and several of Dorman’s Wasted Lands novellas and comics, such as Rail from Image and “The Uninvited.” Stone’s novel, Dead Heat, won the 1996 International Horror Guild’s award for best first novel and was a runner-up for the Bram Stoker Award. Stone has also been a finalist for the IHG award for short fiction, the British Fantasy Award for best novella, and a semifinalist for the Nebula and Writers of the Future awards. His stories have appeared in anthologies that have won the Bram Stoker Award and the World Fantasy Award. Two of his works were optioned for film, the novella “Black Tide” and short story “Crisis Line.”
Stone recently retired after a 41-year career in journalism. He won numerous awards for his work, and in 1986 was named Florida’s best columnist in his circulation division by the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors. In 2001 he received an honorable mention from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association for his essay “When Freedom of Speech Ends” and in 2003 he was voted Best of the Best in the category of columnists by Emerald Coast Magazine. He participated in book signings and awareness campaigns, and was a guest on local television and radio programs.
As an addendum, Stone is single, kills tomatoes and morning glories with ruthless efficiency, once tied the stem of a cocktail cherry in a knot with his tongue, and carries a permanent scar on his chest after having been shot with a paintball gun. He’s in his 60s as of this writing but doesn’t look a day over 94.
Contact Del at [email protected]. He is also on Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, tumblr, TikTok, Ello and Instagram. Visit his website at delstonejr.com .