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(Ladies and) gentlemen, start your engines

I have a sad story to tell. It’s of an Integra lost – obliterated on 56th Street at the hands of an uninsured female motorist. My tale begins on a beautiful summer afternoon in June 2005. A friend and I were on our way to a party at Clearwater Beach. I had just pulled out of my apartment complex en-route to Fowler Avenue when, out of nowhere, came a white ball of speed and aggression. The little bubble-shaped vehicle hit my beloved car in the front, spun it around and hit it again, knocking it into a ditch. Luckily, all individuals involved were fine, but sadly, my silver bullet was laid to rest.

Those who know me best know of the love I had for my car. That’s why within two weeks of the accident, I scoured the state in search of another just like it, and eventually found one at a dealership in Jacksonville. Maybe this seems excessive, but in my head it made sense.

With gender roles changing every day, I find it funny to hear guys tell me how impressed they are that I drive a five-speed. I suppose I don’t fit into the stereotypical “car-dumb” woman role most men think of when they associate cars and women, but as far as I’m concerned, I’m not out of the norm.

In the same respect, most men I know don’t fit into the stereotypical “blood, sweat and oil” role that seemed more prevalent in the 1950s.

I know how to change my own oil and tires. I also know the difference between a short ram and a cold air intake. And although I don’t choose to do these tasks on my own every time, it’s an assurance just knowing that I have the ability to do them.

In this day and age, it seems absurd to think that a woman has “no business being on the road,” but unfortunately I hear that all the time.

I love seeing women driving big trucks, fast cars and anything else that shows they have pride in their vehicles, and the same goes for men. If a guy wants to drive a Volkswagen Beetle, a Mazda Miata or any other stereotypical “chick car” why should he be the subject of ridicule? My point simply is this: Stereotypes cannot be applied to cars and their respective drivers – people are as different as the vehicles they drive.