- Kristan Higgins
I'm driving in my car…
Recently, my not-so-sainted husband implied that I was not the best driver.
Readers, how dare he? So what if I missed that tiny little divider and ran over it, totalling my car? All the other accidents I’ve had were not my fault. Did I ask the deer to ram itself into my door? I did not. Did I subliminally wish for that woman to change lanes without looking? No! How about the other deer that leaped over my hood, causing me to swerve into a tree? The time I was rear-ended on an icy highway in a huge pile-up? Not! My! Fault!
Since he hurt his ankle last week, I’ve been driving him around. “I am the captain now,” I like to say, whether I’m pushing him in a wheelchair or cruising to see our daughter. He is not amused. When I pointed out some incredibly beautiful lilacs, he yelped, “Watch out!” because, several hundred feet in front of us, a car was turning.
“I saw him!" I said. "Stop yelling! You’re making me anxious!”
Readers, I am already an anxious driver. Well, not anxious. Supremely careful. My hands are always at ten and two. I look for other cars intent on blowing through intersections. I follow five cars behind on the highway. I never look at my phone unless the vehicle is at a full stop. If I have to adjust the heat or steering wheel or what have you, I pull off the road. I almost never exceed the speed limit by more than 5 miles an hour. I always use my turn signal (unlike a certain husband of mine from New Jersey, where turn signals are considered a quaint skill from long-ago).
Not a good driver. Hmmph.
“You and your mother—” he began.
“Don’t you dare!” I said. Sainted Mother is many things, and one of them is a menace on the roads.
McIrish immediately recognized his error and shifted gears, so to speak. “It’s your reaction time,” he said. “You didn’t brake early enough here,” (the lilac excitement), and you braked too hard there.” (when I successfully did NOT ram a kid who pulled out in front of me on prom night). “I think it’s because you’re scared.”
“Of course I’m scared!” said I. “My father died in a car accident! People are idiots! I have to overcompensate!”
He suggested a defensive driving course, the kind he’s required to take as a firefighter. “It’s all about distraction,” he said. “You have to pay attention.”
“I do pay attention,” I hissed. Then I thought about it. “You know what I really need? A stunt driving course. So I can swerve around the idiots and not crash. I need to find a race course and a professional driver, and he can teach me.” I liked that idea very much, being able to drive like James Bond, rather than, well, a grandmother. “Now that would give me confidence,” I said, picturing Daniel Craig and myself in close quarters for a day or so.
My husband is right (don’t tell him I said so). It would be great to feel more confident and less like a victim-waiting-to-happen. If you know any retired race car drivers with time on their hands, let me know.