Author’s note: Before you call me a sexist, or a misogynist, or whatever-ist, for calling my ex-wife crazy, let me note a few things. First, she would call herself crazy before anyone else had a chance to. Second, if you read my blog, you would know that my ex-wife and I do not have the usual ex-spouse relationship; we get along very well. In fact, at our kids’ sporting events, most people thought we were still married. And third, any blog post that involves her, she reads before it ever goes on any site. So, keep your name calling to yourself, and please continue reading.
I don’t like to drive, my ex-wife, Arlene, loves to drive. Anytime we have to go someplace, where it makes sense for us to carpool, she is the designated driver (even though alcohol is not involved – at least not until I get home).
When my son, Danny, moved to Baltimore with his girlfriend, it was Arlene who drove us to visit. When they moved to Philadelphia, it was Arlene, who drove the rental van packed with so much stuff you could barely see anyone around you. I know this makes me sound like a wimp, but so be it.
What is it like to drive with Arlene? Let me count the ways.
To give you an initial glimpse, I direct you to a “Honeymooner’s” episode. The scene: Ralph Kramden promised his wife he would not talk, for three minutes, when his mother-in-law arrived to prove he was not the one starting their arguments. He set a timer on the table, and let her ramble. When the buzzer sounded, he rose from his chair, and bellowed, “You, are a blabbermouth! A blab-ber-mouth!” Now, this is not to say Arlene is a blabbermouth, but I often wanted to try an experiment, to not talk for however long the car ride was, and see if she’d notice. I don’t think she would.
Although, regarding her being a blabbermouth, when “The Sixth Sense” first came out, and before I had a chance to see the movie, she said to me at our son’s little league game, “I can’t believe Bruce Willis was dead the whole time!”
Routinely, whenever there might be a lull in the (her) conversation, she would read out the highway signs for me.
Not just street signs, though.
It’s like watching a movie with the director’s commentary turned on.
On the aforementioned trip to Baltimore, and in the midst of a stretch of silent highway, Arlene blurted “Just Beat it! Beat it! Beat it! Beat it!”
That song was not playing on the radio and took me totally by surprise. I was less surprised ten seconds later when she repeated the lyric.
Was the song playing in her head the whole time? I was afraid to ask.
Even though Arlene is a good driver, it doesn’t stop me from pointing out potential concerns.
“There’s a guy coming up on the right,” I cautioned.
“I see it,” she responded.
“Watch out for the car on…”
“I see it.”
“Over to the…”
“I see it.”
Me saying nothing.
“I see it.”
I am not an aggressive driver, so I lack appreciation for Arlene’s style of driving. My comfort zone lives in the right lane whereas Arlene’s thrives in the left; even when nearing the exit. She makes that last minute maneuver to the right adventurous. The majority of the trip, my hand is firmly attached to the handle above the passenger door window.
With Arlene’s new car, however, that handled moved down closer to the dashboard. Most of the trip I look like I’m swiping invisible flies away from my face, as I race for a handle that no longer exists.
The bottom line is, we always arrive safely, so I should not complain about how we get there, as long as we do.
One last thing, it should be known that Arlene would willingly give driving advice to anyone who might ask. Although, I don’t think many people would appreciate advice that begins, “Ok, asshole…”
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