Saturday, 21 April 2012

The Woman in the Passenger Seat

Sometimes when I'm driving along and enjoying myself (it's the only time I really feel relaxed anymore) and blasting a song I love on repeat through my speakers at the top volume, the inevitable happens.

I have to stop for a red light. 
I sigh, and press my red high-heel down on the brake pedal reluctantly. I look around me with dramatic boredom and impatience in my expression, because apathy just wouldn't be fashionable.

Then I see her: sitting in the car beside me. She's silent, because that's the safest way to be. You see, she's in the passenger seat, and her boyfriend or husband is driving her where she needs to go. She's dependent on him. There is a forlorn look in her eyes as she stares out the window. Maybe they've been fighting. She looks like a helpless animal, trapped in a cage with a circus performer who has been whipping her so that she'll dance when the music plays and jump through fiery hoops when he commands it.

Okay, I admit-- I'm exaggerating. A teensy bit. Like for example, the hoops might not necessarily be fiery. They might be crackling with high voltage electricity, or perhaps just soaked in poison. You know, surely something which causes irreparable physical and psychological damage.

I can see it at a glance because I used to be there; I used to be the woman in the passenger seat. I used to have that same expression on my face, and feel the same obligation and misery. Take whatever he throws at you, take whatever he says; he's the boss, while your insides are exploding. Then finally, all you can do is remain silent. Until you realize that the effort of remaining silent is destroying you-- it's so difficult that you've actually begun censoring your thoughts. You've begun censoring yourself to mold yourself into a less confrontational shape. Because just being yourself was confrontational.


Why when you could be over here driving wherever the hell you want, at whatever speed you want, taking whatever route you want? Why when you can choose exactly what song you want to listen to, and choose to play it fifty times on repeat if you want? At top volume? While singing along at the top of your lungs? And switch it the moment you get tired of it? Yes, it's possible to be so attuned to your own feelings that you know whether or not you like a song on the radio. Not whether you should or should not like it in order to please someone else.

Is it comforting to have him there behind the wheel? Is it acceptable to be constantly belittled and insulted? Are the benefits worth the cost, or is it just fear? Because I'll tell you this now; the only benefits are being able to do your makeup while moving because you don't have to concentrate on the road. The rest of the benefits are all fairy-tales and hearsay. Seriously.

Why would you choose to be the woman in the passenger seat when you could be free?

1 comment:

  1. Yep, that was my situation from about February to April. The only difference was I felt freer when he and I were together than when we were apart. Probably because when we were apart was when we would fight. :/ I don't think anything about my situation is typical though.