Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Driving Ms Difficult

There are only two places in the world that I can be totally with myself, almost meditative —without having to make small talk, answer phones or doorbells, smile, and stay as long as I want— my bathroom and my car.

To allow a stranger to inhabit one of these for an extended period of time is a big decision. The first, thankfully is out of question, the second becomes inevitable sometimes. Even so, in eight years of owning a car, I have never felt the need to have a driver.

First of all, I love to drive. Now don’t give me that “you can’t be kidding, this is Bombay” look. I love the sense of isolation and purpose it gives me, I love how I can be anything I want to be when I am behind the wheel, and I love the fact that it is the only real alone time one can have these days, considering that I am a quick bath person.

More importantly, I haven’t met a driver who knows Bombay roads better than me, which actually makes me eminently hirable (if you are willing to pay a bomb).

But more than that—having a driver defies my concept of space, and besides, I have various issues with the aforementioned person, some of which are aesthetic.

First of all, I like my men bathed and scrubbed every day, smelling clean, wearing clean clothes and socks. I don’t care about facial hair or their sense of style or ability to speak, read or write English. But I definitely do not want someone who is a mobile junkie or who chews strange substances and spits every five minutes.

Second, I like them quiet, which is harder to find.

Third, they shouldn’t be overly smiley. The thing is, when someone smiles at you, one feels obliged to smile back and fake smiles always hurt my jaw, and I have been doing enough of that lately, so I fear one day it might get dislocated.

So even though the parking outside my office involves a bit of circling, and the potholes are still potholes and the traffic is still traffic, and the car does get towed away occasionally, and strange dents do appear from nowhere, I am still not willing to surrender my wheel to a stranger.

I think if I ever get around to hiring a driver, I’d only ask him two questions (since he purports to be a driver, driving should be a given I guess)

1. How often does he bathe?

2. Would he describe himself as a talkative person?

The husband on the other hand thinks we should self-drive to work, and then engage a driver for after-hours recreation.

“Huh? Where will you find such a person?”

“I am sure there are many young men out there who would want to work from 8 pm to 1 am. How do you think call centers find people?”

I offered myself for the aforementioned job, but he said he couldn’t afford me.

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