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I'm not sexist - but watch out for women drivers

There are some ways in which men and women just aren't alike. At the risk of being banned for life from the National Organization of Women (of which I am not a member and probably never will be), I am forced to acknowledge what I have found to be the major differences between the sexes.

Women drive differently from men. Women are warmer than men. Women's memories work better than men's - especially when it comes to unpleasant past experiences and past offenses.Everybody has a story to tell about driving the highways of Utah in these days of I-15 reconstruction. It's frustrating to find nearly every familiar route from Point A to Point B blocked and markers directing you to take a detour that sometimes means going to Wendover and back to get from one side of the valley to the other.

But I began to notice one sexist driving habit long before the pre-2002 traffic nightmare got started. Every day I cross 100 South to get from my downtown office to the ZCMI Center for lunch. The crosswalk is marked; in fact you'd have to be napping in your car to avoid seeing it.

But hardly a week goes by without somebody being hit or nearly hit making the dash across the street. Thank goodness there's a big median in the middle where you can take a breath and assess your chances of making it the rest of the way in relative safety. Otherwise, the casualty rate would undoubtedly be higher.

And what I've found in nearly nine years of dodging vehicles is that about 80 percent of the drivers who are guilty of failing to stop for defenseless pedestrians are women.

For years I refused to believe it. Women as a group are at least as intelligent as men; they are responsible, alert, law-abiding drivers, right? I still think so, despite the mounting evidence right in front of my nose (and nearly right over the top of me) that's spinning me in the other direction.

Maybe it's something about this particular block between Main and State that makes a woman lose her concentration and zip around that pesky truck stopped at the crosswalk, putting pedestrians' lives and limbs in danger. Something in the atmosphere that causes them to gaze at the trees, the buildings, other cars - anywhere except at the people whose knees they've nearly bruised with their front fenders.

No matter how much I've wanted the oblivious person behind the wheel of that car that's just whizzed over my toes to be a man, it's almost always a woman. What's worse, she usually has no clue that she's nearly sent someone to the hospital by bouncing them off the hood of her car.

I hate to add credence to any stereotype, and I'm hoping my experience is exceptional, but, guys, I have to hand it to you - you deserve the 100 South Pedestrian Safety Award. You women deserve to have me pound on your hood and scream profanities.

Then there are all those male joggers I see wearing sweatshirts and pants when the temperature is a balmy 40 degrees outside.

There's probably some medical reason for this difference in body temperature, but the proof of it is most pronounced among runners. I finally put away my shorts and tank tops in late November or early December and get them out again in March. And I always pass men in all kinds of heavy clothes at 5:30 a.m., even in the summer when it never gets colder than about 55 degrees.

Of course, this is strictly a physical coolness - emotionally men are every bit as warm as women, and aren't we all glad for it?

My non-scientific evidence of gender memory differences was gathered at my last high school class reunion. It seemed the men I talked to only remembered the good times, while my female former classmates reminded me of things I'd rather forget.

Or maybe the guys really did have a better time than we did, and if that's true, I don't really want to know.