Driving each other to crazy and back again

Sunday, February 26, 2006

HE SAID: I don't fight it anymore.

As with most disputes with my cute and talented wife, I caved.

And now I drive ALL THE TIME.

Neither of us like driving much. We're both fairly lazy and would rather take naps on long trips, or just take in the scenery on short ones.

I always used to ask Callie if she would drive. And she'd always say no. Then I'd get all huffy. And she'd still say no. And I'd get a little huffier. And she'd stop talking all together. Sometimes she'd rip the keys out of my hand, insult my masculinity and drive in spite, as if I should feel guilty that she had to drive herself to the mall. (I learned all my passive-aggressive tricks from her, you know.)

I gave up all that.

I only ask her to drive on rare occasions. And I never ask her to drive in cities.

The poor girl grew up in a place where an exit lane was a path to the cow pasture. I grew up in small towns where the only traffic we had to endure was driving home from a Friday night football game. Driving in cities isn't something I like, but it's something I can handle. I've gotten lost enough now to know that eventually you can find your way home. But my cute and talented wife acts as if we're passing through the security breached Jurassic Park.

We both went to an editor's conference in Chicago a few weeks ago. I wished our Explorer came equipped with oxygen masks like airplanes.

Breathe, Callie. Breathe.

She wasn't much of a navigator either, but we managed to find our way in (after a phone call to the hotel) and out of the Windy City.

This isn't to say that I'm without my driving flaws.

I almost got hit twice in Chi-town. Once by a renegade cab driver, the other by an SUV that was hidden in my blind spot on the interstate. Callie's also prevented me from running a red light when my mind was apparently stuck in neutral.

I also frequently forget where I'm going. This is a serious problem. I typically go to two places: Drew's school and to work. If I'm headed to one of Callie's shopping destinations on a Saturday, I tend to keep driving the familiar routes. I'm only 29 years old. I should not be showing signs of Alzheimer's this early.

I sometimes drive too aggressively for Callie's taste, whipping the vehicle out when I probably should have waited.

But here's a secret: Sometimes I do it on purpose.

Don't like how I drive, honey?

Would you like to drive?


SHE SAID: It's true. I hate driving.

I've been in car accidents several times. I watched a friend die in a car accident. I have dreams about car accidents (including one this week in which I backed into an older-model red car in a parking lot somewhere. I'm just waiting for that one to come true any day now).

Plus, other motorists tick me off.

You know who you are: those oblivious drivers who poke along in the right hand lane, holding up a line of cars that actually have important places to go and want to get their faster than the speed of cheese molding.

Argh! Why do people do that?

See, I've broken out in a cold sweat just thinking about it. This is why I should not be behind a steering wheel any longer than absolutely necessary.

And forget driving in big cities.

Bob and I recently ventured our Southeast Missouri behinds to Chicago -- where folks apparently take their driving seriously. I didn't see anyone flip us off, and I barely noticed the blaring horns, but that's only because I had my eyes tightly shut and my hands over my ears.

I go into panic mode even as a passenger in that kind of situation, so I definitely should not be in control of a moving vehicle at such times.

As you can tell by now, me not driving is the best thing for me, for Bob, and maybe even for you, especially if you're one of those slow pokes in the right-hand lane.

cmiller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 128

bmiller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 122

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