Label: Profiles of Driving–Day 16 of Getting Dressed


I’ve never had the privilege.
Something most American adults
Do every day,
Not me.

A key passage into adulthood
Most fully sighted 16 year olds
Take for granted
As their rite, but was
Always a door
With a small anguished window
Through which I saw peers
Passing through
(In style, no less)
But which remained locked
To me due to uncorrectable
Partial vision

Hands tied,
A portion of my adult progression
Remained frozen at 15.
Always a passenger,
I’ve had plenty of time
To glance left
To observe drivers.

First, my Mom.
Tired, herself,
From a long work day
Picking me up from high school.
Resentful, I waited
Hours after school ended,
Long after sunset
Rather than be
A 17 year old Senoir
Riding home on a school bus
Filled with rowdy younger kids
Completely absent
Of a single other person my age.

I was like Sixteen Candles
Sam Baker who said,
“I loathe the bus. . .
There’s got to be a more dignified
Mode of transportation.”

Unlike that character, however,
I didn’t end up netting
The most popular, handsome Senior.
My high school years closed rather

Frustrated and miserable
In my own social status
As as a most unpopular
Invisible square peg,
I watched, annoyed,
As my mom negotiated
Dark highway traffic
Back to our suburban home
A good 40 minutes away.

Why does she utter those
Tiny noises and
Duck her head forward so often?
To see through the side mirrors,
To switch lanes, what?
That seems stupid.
No one else does that!

Of course, it’s those who are
Unhappy inside who are the first
To criticize
And judge other people.

Later, I watched Boyfriend
(Finally, thank goodness)
Tall, aspiring and spectacled
Law student with the world
At his feet,
Graduate to Husband,
Drive hunched forward
Both hands at the top
Of the steering wheel
Taking me to job interviews,
Light hiking trips to rock canyons
And then to hospitals
Where children were born,
Days later, in birthing rooms.

As children grew and
Needed to be driven
To soccer practices, violin lessons,
Nutrition appointments–
The downward spinal curvature
Became more pronounced,
Glasses thicker,
But always still with
Soft arms bent
Resting two hands close together
On top of the wheel

Fleshy profile on my left
Watching the road
Breathing heavily
Never complaining.

Something childlike remained
Within me as he
Was solely responsible for
Doing this major adult task.

A contrast of lifestyles
Grew between us
As his body and soul
Drooped from a demanding profession
He detested and
Wasn’t really cut out to do
While I ran with scissors
And took single bites
Out of chocolates and
Put half-eaten pieces back
Into the box
Trying to uncover my own place.

As things fell apart,
I watched a medium height
Redhead, also bespectacled,
Drive with slender arms bent,
But differently,
As he often gripped
The bottom of the wheel underhanded
And made big arm motions
When turning as though
Driving a rig.

A girlfriend I have
Also grips underhanded.
“More control that way,”
She said
When I asked her why.

In his fire engine red truck,
Sitting on the bench seat
I watched his lean body
Go rigid as he
Labeled drivers “rude fools”
When people cut in front of him
Only to wait, just one car ahead,
At a red light,
Or when he was so often angry
At me and my kids’ deficiencies
Or raging about
The evilness of X.

A sharply outlined jawline
Sloping steeply downward
Into what is referred to
As a “strong” chin
Below a substantial nose
Sized right up against
The brink of “big”.

Still later, I observed another,
Smaller, more compact man
With a totally different
Driving stance.
Sitting up taller in his seat
Hands at two and 11 o’clock
With arms totally straight,
A position I’m unsure
I’ve ever seen before.

“More comfortable and
Better for my posture,” he said
When I asked why.

This one
The most striking profile
More so than the full frontal view
So deeply lined beyond recognition
With intense expression
Has been something
I’ll sneak look at often
Just because I delight
In an inexplicably
Handsome hairline traveling,
With ageless appeal and precision,
Down across the right temple
Only to hill up cleanly
Over a slightly fuzzy ear
Before heading back down
Towards the occipital bone.


I’ll marvel at the
Maturity of jaw
Ending in almost a pointed chin.
If I were penning a
Caricature profile,
The chin would pull upwards
To greet a nose pointing southwards
In a kind of wizened warlock
High five.

First, in a beat up
Matte finish family sedan
And now in what is almost
A Miami pimp car
Gleaming, decked out with
High shiny finish and tinted windows,
All sorts of conversations transpire.
Soft and humorous,
Dicey but measured.

This is about romantic survival.
A non driving woman
Deeply attracted to males
Makes sure to bring one
On board into her life
While memorizing his
“Profile on the pillow.”



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