August 03, 2009

The Mister's Driving Ambition

I've written about The Mister before. He is kind. He is patient (he better be, look who he lives with!). He is friendly and considerate of others.

Until he gets behind the wheel and is driving on the highway - then all bets are off.

He is not a reckless driver, per se (he frequently reminds me that he's never caused an accident), but he is impatient. He wants to get to his destination without delay. He considers all vehicles in front of him to be obstacles to achiev
ing this goal. He mutters. He curses (not often, but with real gusto).

He comes to a complete stop for stop signs and traffic lights, but he isn't happy about the delay, nosiree.

He switches lanes without signaling if someone slides into his lane ahead of him and promptly slows down (nobody is behind him so no signal is necessary).


His youngest daughter told me that she and her two sisters would clap and shout "Yay" every time he used his turn signal, and "Boo" every time he forgot. I didn't ask for the final stats on that one.

But worst of all, he tailgates. I have been able to discern individual freckles on the necks of drivers in the car in front of us. Have I mentioned that I am prone to hyperbole?

My fragile mental state is further eroded every time he breaks one of my traffic commandments.

My biggest driving pet peeve? Tailgaters. I hate them. I have already exited the road at the nearest intersection to get away from a tailgater. I think part of my hatred/fear is due to an accident I was inv
olved in many years ago.

Picture an ice storm. The roads were treacherous. I was being cautious. I was sitting at a red light, minding my own business, when I glanced into my rearview mirror and saw an out of control Monte Carlo bearing down on my car. Smash! Even with my foot on the brake, the impact (and the ice) pushed my car through the intersection; I did a 360. The jerk that hit me crossed into opposing traffic and came to rest against a chain link fence. Amazingly, nobo
dy was hurt; no other cars were damaged (though my car was totaled).

But since that day, I have had this fear of tailgaters. This fear causes me to act irrationally very cautiously. Once, just to act as a second set of eyes, I screamed "STOP!" suggested he slow down because a car directly in front of him a block ahead was turning. It was comforting to know that his brakes performed exceptionally well, and the van came to a stop just inches a full five hundred feet behind the turning vehicle.

I want to alert the drivers in front of him - "Just get out of his way, ok? Please?"

But I don't. I sit in the passenger seat, grasping the 'oh shit' bar (see my arm in the picture?). If he is approaching the rear of any car at light speed quickly, I start stomping the imaginary brake pedal on my side of the floorboard. This
is ineffective, yet I persist.

And the floor mat on my side is all bunched up because of it.

If the GPS is in the car, I plug it in and constantly nag cheerfully report how fast he is going...every five seconds.

I gasp. I sigh.
He gives me "the dad look". Deep within my heart, I know he is just gazing at my lovely countenance, and ever so grateful that I am his co-pilot on this journey (as well as our journey in life).

I don't scream anymore. The Mister growled viciously didn't care for my vocalizing at all, so I am now limited to emitting only breathy sounds.

When I can't take it anymore, I squeeze my eyes shut tight and go to my 'happy place'. Sunglasses come in handy for this - The Mist
er can't see that I am not paying attention to how the driver in front of us parts his hair (we're that close - at least, that's what I tell myself). Have I ever mentioned that I have a rich fantasy life?

Driving habits must be genetic - his oldest daughter behaves the same way behind the wheel. I'm sure she wondered why I put on my shades that last cloudy day I rode with her.

Here's what I imagine the driver in front of either one of them looks like:

Right back at ya, baby. I just may start calling the van Christine.


  1. I can't tell you how many times I have slammed on the brake on my side of the car. "Stomp" "Stomp" "Stomp" - it never seems to work.

    My hubby obviously went to the same driving school as yours. My son starts drivers ed tonight. YEE GADS!

  2. You could have written this post about my husband. Except he often doesn't stop for red lights. He has issues for sure.

  3. Wow this all sounds familiar.... except my husband owns a racer car that he himself built and so at least people on the road have a feeling when they see his car that he'll drive that way. Still scares me, he often tells me to just close my eyes and trust that he knows how to handle a car.

  4. That is hilarious!! I actually stomped on my break when a lady was tailgating me and she ended up hitting me. She was totally in the wrong because she ran a stop sign, and I was still just getting up my speed from rightfully stopping at that same stop sign! Oh, was I ticked!! But it scared the heck out of her and hopefully taught her a lesson!

    And my husband? If he gets to a red light, he just turns right and finds a new way to get to our destination. He's a little impatient too! lol

  5. Sounds familiar...maybe your husband and mine were seperated at birth... :)

  6. I think I quit letting the hubs drive after a while....but not because he's that bad....he's quite the opposite! It drives me NUTS!!!


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