Welcome to the Club

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Welcome to the Club

When I was growing up it was common knowledge that between men and women, women were the safer and more conservative driver. OK, I’m being polite. Often the “fair sex” (er, I’m told that we can’t use that expression anymore. Sorry) was disparaged and mocked. If we were behind a slow and tentative driver it was not uncommon for the frustrated driver to say, once he could confirm it: “Oh, a woman driver. Of course.”

Those days are long over. Nowadays, if I’m being harassed by a frustrated driver, if I’m being swiftly passed by a vehicle whose driver apparently possesses a lead foot, if I’m being rushed by a very impatient motorist, chances are at least 50-50 that there’s a woman behind the wheel.

This observation has led to the admittedly unscientific conclusion that deep down men and women aren’t that different; there isn’t a little angel sitting on the shoulder of madam and a little devil on monsieur’s.

I was pondering this profound insight following this morning’s drive to work where I once again I witnessed some pretty risky driving by a woman; she was obviously in a great rush to get somewhere.

It was still on my mind, too, when I checked into Coco’s Supermarket for my morning paper. Two of the staff were hanging around the cash. When I took the paper one of them spoke up. “How could we avoid this? How did we vote for these guys?”

She was referring to the latest political scandal in Montreal where the interim mayor has just resigned due to another corruption charge; corruption, or charges of it, seems to be sprouting all over the province lately. And this was the person promising to bring a “clean” approach to city governance after our last mayor resigned amid more scandal. Oh well…

Personally, I’m happy about what’s happening in Montreal. Not that there are so many cheats and scoundrels, of course, but that’s it’s all coming to the surface. If this were happening around the world, I believe, there would definitely be less corruption in those countries where it’s epidemic, like Afghanistan, much of Africa, India, Pakistan and China, to name a few. I can only hope that due to what’s happening now in Montreal, like a sick person throwing off a toxic bug, city government will be more unpolluted than it is today and has been for God knows how long.

I said more or less the above to the lady who passed me The Gazette and was bemoaning this difficult and uncomfortable municipal crisis.

“If only women were charge,” she said confidently, “none of this would happen.”

“Oh, I don’t think gender is involved,” I rebutted, still remembering how women’s driving habits have “evolved” over the decades. “There are more men involved in corruption,” I said, “because there are more men than women in politics.”

She didn’t seem convinced. I tried to use the argument that women were once known as slow and careful drivers but that that wasn’t the case anymore.

“How old are these drivers?” she asked.

I was about to answer when she agreed. “It’s the young ones,” she said. “They do drive quite fast.”

In a sense I think that this person is correct, however, that at least at first, a female mayor might be much less tempted to succumb to corruption than a male one but I don’t believe that there is a virtue gene residing in the female and an immoral one in the male. Sooner or later weakness of some kind, some personal, some societal, will worm itself into the fertile ground of the spineless and tempted soul, whether man or woman.

Let us be thankful that our society seems to have discovered those self-healing institutions that can purify these tendencies on a regular basis.

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