Friday, June 17, 2011

Diary: Driving as Freedom

June 17, 2010

Dunster, UK

I had a dream once that my car was destroyed.  I was in my late 20s at the time, and the dream was truly a nightmare.  It felt like I had lost my best friend.

After I studied my dream for a while I realized that the car was much more than a machine.  It was my freedom, it got me places.  It took me away from bad situations, it took me to work, to see my friends, to see my family.

When I was fourteen my mother put me behind the wheel of her big car and told me to drive.  We were on a highway between Houston and Laredo, Texas.  It was terrifying.  When I tell other people that she did this they are aghast.  What was my mother doing!  I remember driving slowly with much concentration.  My mother was in the car with my six year old brother.  She told me that I should learn to drive just in case there was an emergency. 

In the late 1950s she drove herself everyday for six months from a small town into downtown Houston, so that she could take a college course.  It was a 30 mile drive.  It was really something. Other women just didn't do that at the time.  My aunts didn't drive until later.  I had one aunt that never did learn to drive.  And of course my grandmother's didn't drive.

I can thank my Mom for being so gutsy before Feminism came about.  Without her daring I would not have made my scores of trips from Houston to Monterrey Nuevo Leon in the late 1990s.  It was a 10 hour drive and I often made it alone -  I was working on my PhD dissertation research.  Although I do have to admit that she had an anxiety attack if I didn't call her the minute I got to my destination.

The Saudi women that are driving today have my support.  Its time they step out into the world, into freedom...MTHdz


Saudi women encouraged to drive Friday

June 17, 2011 -- Updated 0748 GMT (1548 HKT)

(CNN) -- Saudi women are being encouraged to challenge the status quo and get behind the wheel Friday...
The day is expected to be a test of wills -- and authority -- between police and the campaign, which has been publicized by Facebook, Twitter and other social media. It was not clear late Thursday how many would participate...

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