Driving with my husband can be described in two words: “Absolutely” and “Terrifying.” Or, actually, I should probably clarify that – what I am referring to is riding with my husband while he is driving. Because “driving with my husband” could refer to the times when I am driving and he is in the car. That isn’t terrifying at all. That is nice, since if I am driving, we are most likely on our way to a vacation, since he is completely incapable to staying awake while driving to vacation.
I don’t know why driving to vacation is so exhausting for him, but I suppose it has to do with a few different things: 1) the length of the drive – we generally go somewhere at takes 7-12 hours and his attention span is not that great (as evidenced by my houseful of unfinished projects and his penchant for daily afternoon short power naps, which are neither short or powerful), 2) the fact that we often drive at night, because I am crazy and I want my vacation to start as early as possible, rather than spend half of my first day driving rather than enjoying my vacation (by enjoying my vacation, I mean drinking and pounding advil while my kids loudly harass me to to take them down to the beach/spend $783 to get into an amusement park/go shopping (???)/fight over who gets what room because that bathroom has yellow and yellow is my favorite color and HE ALWAYS GETS WHAT HE WANTS!!!!. (you can see why I’d be anxious to get that started, cant you?), and 3) I have an ego-stroking hypnosis routine I use on him while we pack the car & start the drive with him at the wheel, so I can get him out from behind the wheel as soon as possible, because have I mentioned how terrifying his driving is?
Why is his driving so terrifying, you ask? OK, fine, you didn’t ask, but I’m going to tell you anyway. There are multiple reasons:
1. His goal in life, as far as I can tell, is to get from Point A to Point B without using his brakes. It doesn’t matter if Point A is 10 feet or 10 billion miles from Point B – he wants to get there without braking. This results in him not hitting the brakes until he is 100% certain that the light is not going to change to green and that the giant backup of cars in front of him is not going to miraculously clear out of his way before he closes the 20 feet between us, thus slamming them on at the last minute and scaring the poop out of me. Even an 8 year old knows this is terrifying – Recently, The Girl – after one of the many near-whiplash, gasping in fear moments, piped up from the backseat: “Should we let Mom drive?” Yes, honey, we should.
2. He drives like he is on a tour. When that man gets behind the wheel, suddenly his surroundings are beautiful and he can’t take his eyes off them – houses, cars, businesses, trees, people standing in their front yards, the sky, stray dogs, road kill, rocks, yard flamingos, you name it – he wants to look at it all. What isn’t at all interesting to him and not worth looking at while he is driving? The road.
3. He fancies himself a comedian: He likes to joke and make faces and act goofy and dance around. Unfortunately, as he dances and goofs off, his entire body goes goofy with him. So while he shimmies to the right, so does the car. To the left? Yep – so does the car. I know firsthand that this is not a good idea – I once wrecked a car that way. Also – he’s not particularly funny in the car – though it may be that I can’t appreciate the humor through my terror.
4. Suddenly eye-contact is important to him. The same man who in the house, will barely look up from his phone or computer or hockey game when the kids and I try to get his attention, suddenly becomes Stuart Smiley when he is behind the wheel – turning to talk to me, or turning around to talk to the kids in the back seat.
5. Outside the car I’m lucky if I can get him to do one thing. Inside the car, he’s suddenly the world champion multi-tasker – he’s driving and trying to find a cd somewhere in the car and adjusting things and looking for his phone charger.
6. His shortcuts. If you are ever in the car with my husband and he says the word “shortcut,” be prepared to settle in for the long haul, because his shortcuts are never, ever actually short.
7. He doesn’t use the windshield wipers or high beams when he should. We can be barreling down a curvy, unlit road in the dead of night when there is no moonlight in the pouring rain (all the while trying not to use his brakes), and he won’t turn on the high beams or wipers until I beg him to (because if I can’t see, I know damned well he can’t either).
8. He gets furious when the person behind him is tailgating him (as do I), but he has no problem climbing up the ass of the person in front of him. I suspect this has less to do with his opinion of how fast the person in front is traveling and more to do with the aforementioned refusal to use his brakes.
9. At the risk of sounding like my mother when I was a teen driver (“Both hands on the wheel, Gina!”), the man never has more than one hand on the wheel. I will admit that my hands are not always at 10 and 2, but most of the time, they are both somewhere on the damned thing. Not only are his not both on the wheel, his left hand will be sagging over the top of the wheel, while his right hand is as far from the wheel as it can get – under his leg, in his pocket, searching for a cd between the seats, reaching into the back seat to do something goofy for the kids. It doesn’t matter if the roads are wet or snowy, or if we’re driving a winding, switchback, narrow road through the mountains – ONE HAND ONLY!
And my own personal favorite:
10. He thinks that lane markers are merely suggestions.
So is it any wonder that I would prefer the less terrifying option of being the driver? Notice I didn’t say “less peaceful” option, since when he is riding, he generally falls asleep and starts snoring. And his snoring? EPIC. The only reason he survives these in-car snorestravaganzas is that I wont take my eyes off the road long enough to find a pillow and my hands off the wheel to shove it over his face.
Sadly, on the long drive home from a family visit this weekend, I discovered a new downside to him being the driver: The angle of one’s (fat, middle-aged) reflection in the side view mirror. It prompted me to consider putting and ad in the classifieds (perhaps the trade/swap section):
Wanted: One neck. Willing to trade several chins.
If only his driving would shave off pounds instead of years. I’d let him drive all the time, lane-markers be damned.