“Wow. You get driven around like a princess.” That’s what some say about not driving in Saudi Arabia. Well, that’s fine for my mom who we like to call “Miss Daisy.” She never liked driving and always opts for letting someone else do the driving. For those of us who don’t have that option, we may have to depend on a driver.
I know I touched on this a bit in a post about women driving, but riding in a car with some of these drivers is an experience all in itself. For one, some of them quite simply can’t drive. I may as well be in the car with Toonces the Driving Cat. For those of you unfamiliar with Toonces, here’s a clip.
I find myself praying a lot when I’m in a taxi or with the driver. They literally drive like they’re in a video game, dodging other cars and weaving in and out of traffic. For some of them, okay all of them, they’re probably in a hurry so they can pick up another customer. But why do they risk their lives and ours with their psychotic driving? I guess no one really knows.
As if the driving wasn’t bad enough, then there’s the “communication” issue. Once again, because of the way I’m dressed, they assume that I speak Arabic, which I do. But they don’t know that. The problem is, what they’re speaking can only loosely be called Arabic. It’s some sort of mix of their language with some Arabic. My favorite is when one of them says, “Fayn rooh? Fayn enta?” The driver’s trying to ask where you’re going and where you are right now. Enta, is the masculine form of “you” which all females must endure. We’re all “enta.” Then there are those who I really want to strangle because they don’t understand anything I’m saying. I say go right, he goes left. I say straight, he asks, “Right or left?” It’s exhausting. Since neither Arabic nor English are working for me, I think I need to learn whatever they’re speaking.
For a little more than a month I had an Arab driver. That didn’t work even though we could actually communicate with each other. What was his problem? He was too darn nosy and he proposed to me, or perhaps he was proposing to my passport. Once I guess he was trying to see if I’d be jealous and told me he was getting engaged. I couldn’t have cared less. How many times did I have to ask, “Are you gonna be here at 7 or what?” Then he would say he could take me somewhere and later he couldn’t. Why was I paying extra then? So he could get on my nerves? These nutty drivers can really drive a woman nuts.
There’s one driver who likes to play music from time to time. Sometimes it’s Indian and sometimes it’s Arabic. I don’t want to hear either. I just want to get to my destination safely. If his head’s bobbing to the beats, how can I be sure he’s paying attention? Not only that, his car is a stick shift and sometimes he’s trying to shift while talking on the phone. I love being in a car with a driver who can yell, “Look! No hands.”
God help us!