Driving My Husband

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When my husband came home from work last night, I suggested that we go get sandwiches for dinner at one of the local sports bars. He jumped at the chance since he could watch both baseball and the Masters Golf Tournament at the bar. I even sweetened the pot and offered to drive.

My husband usually does not jump at the chance for me to drive, but if he knows he is going to have a few beers, he will let his guard down and get in my passenger seat—you know the place where even the most devout atheists find God. He exaggerates. It’s not that my husband does not like my driving; he just likes his driving better.  

I want to state for any police officers who may read this, that I am a careful driver. My husband and I just differ on driving strategy. My strategy is simple: I put the key in the ignition, put the car in drive—well, unless I am backing out of my driveway, and I go.  My husband’s strategy or strategies are far more complex. He has a different strategy for the highway, local roads, and country driving. You name the type of thoroughfare, he has a strategy.

I blame this on the fact that he is an engineer, and engineers plan out everything. When my husband is in the passenger seat while I am behind the wheel, he constantly gives me advice.

For instance, if I am on the highway, he tells me to always think two moves ahead. I just nod and pretend to listen.  In reality what I want to say is “What are we playing—freaking chess? I just want to get from point A to point B in the least amount of time. Make one more comment and you walk!” 

Another habit he has is watching my speedometer.  He leans over every few minutes to see how fast I am going. “Okay, you’re over 80, take it down a notch.” This inevitably leads to the cruise control fight. I don’t use cruise control, and he does not understand why when it keeps one’s speed at an even pace and saves gas.

My reason for not liking cruise control is clear to me. I like my feet to have a job when I am driving. That’s why there are pedals, and I feel more in control when my feet are on those pedals.

Anyway, let me just get to last night and our short drive which should have been an uneventful one. The bar is literally a mile-and-a-half from my house. However, I was driving with a temporary disability. I was having a balance and hearing issue. I had gone swimming in the morning and got water in my ear, and I could not get it out for anything. I did the hopping on one foot move, the pulling on my ear lobe, the swimmer’s ear medicine, but nothing worked. So, all day long, I was tipping left.

While I was driving to the bar, I kept jerking my head to see if I could force the water out because it was making me crazy. Anyway, while trying to get the water out of my ear, I missed the entrance for the restaurant, and out of instinct, I slammed on my brakes and made a screeching turn into the exit.

This was not good strategy according to my husband and the guy who happened to be driving out of the exit at the time, and both of them made their feelings quite evident. I do admit that driving in the exit was not the smartest of moves, but there was no accident or confrontation, so I did not see the big deal. The guy gave me a dirty look and pulled around me. I mouthed a sincere “I am sorry” and life pretty much moved on.

We had a nice relaxing dinner, and after two beers my husband had forgotten about the whole drive to the bar. On the way home, I pulled out onto the main road and was minding my own business when the sports car behind me crossed the double yellow line and pulled up in front of me. Apparently, he was in a hurry. His impatience did not pay off, and he got stopped at the next red light with me behind him.

 “What’s your strategy here?” My husband asked.

“Well, I was thinking of waiting for the light to turn green and then maybe – moving?

He had another strategy which involved me cutting around this guy and slowing up to make him late for wherever he was going. It was very complicated and with one ear out of commission, and my balance in question, I didn’t think it was doable, and I told my husband so. I think he was disappointed.

I confess that I am not averse to telling someone off when driving. I will honk my horn and curse at people under my breath all the time. But I do not chase people or try to teach them a lesson. I just think that is asking for trouble. 

I let the offending driver off without any punishment.  And my husband, well, he eventually got over it. But twice last night, he enlightened me on how he would have handled the evil, illegal passer. So, I promised him that if I ever see that arrogant jack ass again, I will pull up alongside and flash him the finger (I won’t because with my luck, he would be a true whack-a-doodle and come after me), but this seemed to put my husband’s mind at rest.  We are now friends again, but next time we go to that bar, he is driving.


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