Reflections on art, fitness, family, politics and literature that hit me like bricks as I chauffeur my children from place to place...
A pink taxi
November 5, 2010
I spend more time in my car than I do anywhere else. My car has golf clubs, violins, tennis rackets, swim fins, judo kimonos, tons of groceries and books, ballet tutus, riding helmets and gallons of water to drink.
Half the driving experience is parking the car, forgetting where I parked it, backing out, paying parking by sms (I know how to cut and paste the information and receive very high Etisalat bills). In parked cars I read newspapers and novels, make the needed phone calls, correspond on BBM, scribble a blog, take a short nap. At all times, in an ecological gesture, I turn the car off and open the window, heat or shine!
With all the driving I do, I pay attention to limiting tickets. To no surprise I got tickets in three locations only: near the school, near my house and near Club Stretch. The likelihood for all three is very high, since they are my daily destinations, but I have never repeated the same errors, avoiding the no-Uturn near the dry dock, the large white line at the exit to my home and the 80kms speed limit on Oud Metha Road that connects school to home.
When my kids are with me in the car, which is half of the time, I either participate actively or totally ignore them, pretending there is a window between us like in a New York taxi cab.
I sit comfortably, breath and relax. Make sure not to make any sudden gestures to strain, scoop my stomach, insure correct shoulder balance, don't sit unevenly on either hip, turn my arm correctly to the back to hand a bottle of water, twist from the waist when I turn to back up. All the pilates moves are respected.
Dubai's road system is complicated. Sometimes I have to make the least obvious connections: how do I go to City Center Deira from the Aviation club? There is always breath holding while I decide on the itinerary and materialize it. The rotaries are rollarcoasters and the interchanges are sci-fi like the ones in Mickey Mouse cartoons of the 1950s when they were exclusive to Los Angeles, or more like the Jetsons.
When I get lost, I console myself and say that it is part of the learning experience, that it would be the last time I got lost for that destination. My kids have been so traumatized that they will always cry out: "are we going to Sharjah, maman?" So I have done a lot of screaming, laughing, studying, drilling, even crying in the car.
My parents have gifted me with their 15 year old Lexus for my birthday and I thank them from the depths of my heart because I have driven a Touareg with no AC for 6 months and have never recovered.
The advantage of my driving is I catch up with the kids, consider it as quality time, listen to the latest music on the radio....look out the window and grow intimate with my city.
The pink taxi runs from 7 am to 7pm. It picks and drops off my 3 kids at school, ballet,judo, aikido, violin, climbing, riding, squash, basketball, skiing, skating, swim team, friends, grandparents and teachers. The car, not pink, but a black SUV, drives to Carrefour and Coop. To Club stretch for pilates and Aviation club for weekly workouts. It is driven by a woman who navigates on the radio, gets DJed by her 4 year old or sometimes quietly reflects. The thoughts are about politics, family, humor, literature, art or fitness. Sometimes they are excruciatingly longwinded, other times they are gossipy and hot.
I hope you will all enjoy!