Driving Miss Crazy
I worship my husband, who is a man amongst men. The problem is that when he is driving, he seems to be a man amongst men.
When he turned 40, he didn't do the stereotypical "mid-life crisis" maneuver by buying a flashy car. He also had the good sense NOT to buy a Corvette (any year) which automatically sends up secret snickering smoke signals from the womanly population (if you don't know, I'm not going to tell you).
Hubby bought himself a fully-loaded Range Rover. Used, of course, but with low mileage. What a sensible choice. Luxurious SUV with the sooper-dooper kerfluferrampshidt suspension that makes the hulk supposedly perform like a race car around curves.
My Aunt Fanny.
When we take short excursions together as a family, he's a safe, considerate driver.
When we go on long trips, however, he morphs into Speed Racer. Kind of like Dr. Jekyll/Mario Andretti. In an SUV.
This past fall, we drove our oldest to college for the very first time. We could have gone the front way, which would have entailed a 2-hour drive to the interstate, and then an additional 3 hours up into the mountains.
Or we could go the back way through the mountains. Over two mountain passes (one without guard rails) and one long, winding stretch on a steel road suspended over a river in a canyon. Total drive time? 3 1/2 hours.
Hubby opted for the back way.
3 1/2 hours of hell.
Oops. Did I say that out loud?
Have I mentioned that I hate driving through the mountains?
It's kind of stupid, considering that I love living up here. It might be anxiety, but it manifests itself into a very real physical affliction. I don't have a problem on straight roads, and I don't really have much of a problem on roads that are ascending.
It's the curving descending roads that make me feel ill. When we're going fast, I literally feel as if my stomach is crawling up in my chest and will ultimately end up in my lap still attached to my intestines.
Anyway, we loaded up the Rover with every conceivable thing Number One Son would need for his first year of college. Then he added all his cds, his computer, his video game system, his video games, his TV and his stereo with 8 speakers and a woofer.
Woof is right. It's a miracle we could make it up the driveway.
The first part of the trip wasn't too bad. The roads are straight, and there wasn't a lot of traffic two miles ahead to lead foot-it to catch up with (why, why, why?).
Hubby was going a little fast, but I wasn't worried.
Don't do that thing with your hand. It's distracting me.
"What thing with my hand?"
Squeezing the armrest on the door. It's bothering me.
You're looking at my door? My door? Why aren't you watching the freaking road? Now I was starting to worry.
We got over the first pass (the one with the guardrails) without any issues. Going over the second was another story.
The ride up is pretty smooth. The ride down is as hairy as Hagrid.
There are tons of switchbacks. If you don't know what those are, they are curves with their own curves. When I had taken big kid up to the college earlier in the summer for his orientation, somebody who was 3 minutes ahead of me misjudged a curve and went over the side.
Did I forget to say there are no guardrails?
It's not a huge drop-off, but it's still pretty scary.
I guess that's why there's little signs under the curve signs that say "10 mph", or "Slow the bleep down!"
I mention it to my husband as we're barreling head-first down into the switchbacks.
"That's not an official speed-limit", he responds. "It's more like a guideline."
You have GOT to be shitting me!
We made it through the switchbacks and through another hour without incident. Meaning I didn't yark on the fine leather interior of his Rover.
I did, however, entertain a couple of fantasies of ripping his arm off and beating him over the head with it at the next rest stop.
THEN we got to the canyon. A winding highway dug into the rocky side on some parts, dangling above a river in others.
Official posted speed limit: 45 mph.
When we hit 55, I started getting a little uncomfortable.
When we hit 65, I started squeezing the armrest and clearing my throat.
When we hit 75, I couldn't bear it any longer.
"Slow the [expletive] down right this [expletive] instant! 45 miles per [expletive] hour is NOT a guideline!"
There was quite a bit more foul language on my part, but I won't scare you with it.
He slowed down.
Later, when we were out of the car and I had calmed down a bit, he confessed that he really hadn't been aware of how fast we were going.
I don't always look at the speedometer. I just go with how the road feels.
How it "feels"? Like Zen? Are you insane?
Next month school is over, and we have to go back up and haul Number One Son and all his accumulated crap home again.
Hubby has decided to make the trip himself.
No wonder I love him so much.