As a family, we don’t make that many car trips. But the holiday season requires that we make the trek to see both Steve’s family and mine. Both trips this year were uneventful, but I was reminded of all the little things that my husband does that drive me insane. Before I go any further, let me say that I dearly love my husband, our marriage is not in trouble and as of this moment I am no longer fighting the urge to harm him. All of that is a direct result of the fact that I am no longer trapped in a car with him.
First of all, he won’t let me drive. He says it has something to do with being forced to contemplate his mortality for a prolonged period of time, whatever that means. Then, while most people can gently clear their throats to rid themselves of seasonal post nasal drip that skill has eluded my guy. His throat clearing is ear splitting and sounds like Uzi fire when done in the confines of my Volvo. I cringe as if I’ve been shot every time he does it, which is often. I usually walk away from a car trip with a Tourette’s Syndrome style twitch for several hours. In addition, you would think that someone who turns on the radio intends to listen to music, but not my hubby. He turns on the radio so he can start a conversation at an exponentially higher decibel level. These egregious offenses are bad, but I can generally overcome them by deep yoga breathing through my nose and meditating on the phrase, “If you kill him you’ll go to jail and the kids will need tons of therapy.”
But there are two driving behaviors he continues that in my mind are dangerous and have the potential to maim others, most notably me and my children. The first is his method of seat belt buckling. Most normal human beings do this before they put the car in drive or reverse, but he finds it necessary to begin driving and THEN try to put on his seat belt. This is usually done while backing out of a parking space or heading into the flow of traffic. Multi-tasking is great, but let’s face it, anyone who has a husband or a dad knows that guys stink at it. Why can’t he just put on his seat belt before the car is rolling? One of these days, he’s going to hit a small woodland creature, a stray house pet or a burly biker and then he’ll wish he’d listened to me.
The second thing that makes my skin crawl is the cell phone struggle. For a guy who gets upwards of 25 calls a day for business, you might think he’d like to keep his BlackBerry handy, but he finds shoving it as far down into his front pocket as possible then strapping himself into a seat belt over said pocket provides him a much better opportunity for car calisthenics. So, we’re driving down the road and the phone rings. If it were on the console or in a more accessible pocket this would be a non-event, but for us this is where the fun begins. He gets a look of panic on his face. He tries to reach the phone with one finger. No go. I guess God gave us opposable thumbs for a reason, eh? He then tries two fingers. Denied. He then goes in with the whole hand, but the device is wedged between two layers of denim and a seat belt. What to do? Since the car is on cruise control, he plants both feet firmly on the floor board, braces head and neck against the driver’s seat and lifts everything from knee to neck off of the seat. This is a great exercise for toning quads, hamstrings and gluts, but not so good when driving. This generally causes our car to drift into one or more lanes and my life to flash before my eyes. With much moaning and groaning the phone is finally retrieved and we stop weaving drunkenly through traffic. The good news is that he only has to do this highway dance of death once per trip because my eyes and my outside voice both say, “Put that thing back in your pocket and I’ll kill you with my bare hands.”
Again, let me be clear, I do love my husband, but I think today is going to require significant time alone and little or no time in the car.
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