Step on the gas, lady

Born in Philadelphia in 1943, Bibi Wein has spent much of her life putting words onto paper, beginning with the diary she kept as a child and her early years as a literature student, through to the numerous short stories, books and scripts that bear her name. However, none of that writing was as important as the journal she began in 1978, at a time when life felt impossible, when it seemed the words would never flow again. Beginning with this entry on 13th March 1978, Wein forced herself to return to the diary every day “as a way of getting back in touch with reality,” and for over a year she did precisely that. Two hundred pages later, she was back on track.

The Diary Entry

March 13, 1978. Sag Harbor

Scene: A woman is riding on the race-car track at Disney World. Her car is out of control. She can’t steer it. The man behind her keeps shouting, “Step on the gas, lady. Step on the gas.” He is not getting his money’s worth out of this ride because her car is out of control. She is hysterical, screaming, as if she were in real danger, when actually, small children are driving the cars, and there is no way they can go off the track. Her husband, with their daughter in the car in front of hers, turns and smiles and waves, unaware that she is in panic, is gasping for breath.

Further Reading

In 1982, a selection of Bibi’s diary entries were featured in Ariadne’s Thread: A Collection of Contemporary Women’s Journals, edited by Lyn Lifshin. It’s a book I’ve recommended on Diaries of Note before, and a book I’ll no doubt recommend again. 

Diary entry reprinted here by kind permission of Bibi Wein, whose most recent book is the award-winning memoir, The Way Home: A Wilderness Odyssey, published by Tupelo Press.

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