Shut up and drive!



I rarely drive. But I am awesome at giving advice to Paul while he drives.

Unencumbered by all of those driving gadgets like gas pedals, steering wheels and odometer thingies I can really concentrate on the important aspects that make car travel pleasant such as the selection of music and temperature control. I find that being separated from the mechanics of driving makes me a superior and impartial back seat driver.

Paul does not agree.

This morning I offered a bit of obvious advice that I thought he might find helpful. You should not read e-mail while driving on the streets of Boston. Because 1) It is illegal and 2) you will miss your turn. To which Paul countered, 1) did we get the fuck where we were going? Because 2) there is a bus that can take me there.

Paul seems to think that an elephant could fit in the space between our car and the next while I believe only a mouse would fit. Several times I reached for the imaginary brake pedal on the passenger side with both of my feet.

“This brake pedal doesn’t work!” I say with mock alarm.

“Thank God. We’d be stopping every five seconds if it did.” Paul says wearily.

A few months ago, Paul had an asthma attack in the middle of the night. He dressed; tip toed out of the bedroom and checked into the Emergency room. After his treatment, he came back home and slipped back into bed. I was completely oblivious to all of the above, which makes me a rotten husband.

The next morning I woke up, got dressed and went to the gym. I sensed that Paul had a restless night. So I did not wake him, which makes me a loving husband. I returned from the gym and noticed a bracelet on Paul’s arm, which upon closer inspection I identified as a hospital ID bracelet.

Shaking him awake I say “Did you go to the hospital last night?”

“I had a tough time breathing”

“And you didn’t wake me?”

“What could you have done?”

“Well, for starters I could have driven you!”

“Sweetie, your driving would have made it harder for me to breathe.”

Apparently, not only am I a horrid back seat driver, but an equally horrid front seat driver. I’ll admit I suck at parallel parking. Paul constantly says “It’s all about the angles.” Like this should mean something to me. But with ten cars behind me honking their horns the only angle I can think of is how I can slant this to appear as if I really wanted to switch between drive and reverse fifteen times while trying to park.

And OK, I’ll admit that I can be a bit cautious while driving. But driving is a risky business and you can never be too careful when trying to turn at a busy intersection. I check left, then right, then left again and right and then left once more just for good measure.

“Does Polly want a cracker?” Paul says.

“What?”

“You look like a parrot, bobbing your head up and down and back and forth.”

This is the kind of negative feedback that can damage a marriage. But if I’m going to be completely honest, I don’t look that good driving. Not compared to Paul. He has an easy grace sitting in the driver seat with his long legs and sexy confidence. While I look like an eighty year old man hunched over the steering wheel, nervous and fidgety.

So I will be Miss Daisy to his Hoke and let him drive and not say one word. Because those negative comments really serve no good purpose. But, I will still control the selection of music. Oh, the stories I could tell about his taste in music.

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