Friday, April 07, 2006

Husbands and the Zen Of Mountain Driving

Or, if HE was telling the story:

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 down!!"


"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.

Smart man.

No wonder I love him so much.


Nikki said...

This sounds just like Hubby and I. I try to be good, I try to be nice, whenever he scares the hell out of me I bite my tongue almost in half. Then he fusses at me because he heard me "BREATH IN". I guess my point of wanting to keep "breathing in" would be lost on him.

Nightmare said...

I think I know where your kid goes to college!!! I have been on or near a road that looks a lot like that!

Charlie said...

Since Thing was murdered and hauled away to salvage heaven, I have had to ride with Martha. I have lost 14 pounds in two weeks.

Martha is a sightseer. When she is driving. Whilst grumbling about someone's shit-filled garage, she doesn't notice the SUV in front of us with 47 brake lights flaring.

She tailgates. I push the floor for the brake, but nothing's there. I told her last night I want a brake pedal on my side. She told me to take a walk.

So how would hubby describe YOUR driving, Mom?

Attila The Mom said...

If he knows what's good for him, he'd describe it as perfect! LOL

Rhonda said...

hmm, I don't know what's scarier - being a passenger in your hubby's car or that someone named "Nightmare" has figured out where your son goes to school.

I love your essays. This one particularly cracked me up.

Lady said...

OOOh, I thought my hubby was bad for making us drive for five hours without a rest room stop.

If I was in the car with your hubby and those curves came flying by eyes, I'd be peeing in my pants for sure.

Mia said...

Oh say it isn't so......honorable son #1 isn't goin' to wasted state is he?!?!?!? Do not ask me how I know it's called that because I will not tell. OK, maybe I would tell but only during one of those wild adoptee weekend retreats you spoke of.

Hey, look on the bright side I guess he could have chosen the university of no credit (where my hubby went) or as I believe you referred to it The other armpit.

I feel for you. Freaking passes. Freaking husbands driving on freaking passes.

Phil said...

n't complain about his driving unless you're willing to do it all yourself!

Attila The Mom said...

I'd drive it in a heartbeat, but my car just isn't big enough to haul all of number one kid's crap!

~Tamara Ann~ said...

You handled it much better then I would have. I would have been laying down in the seat. :-) Thanks for visiting!

KB said...

Atilla--That story is hilarious!

Mr. B drives like a maniac sometimes, and I try hard to not say anything because it always makes it worse. IE: He concentrates more on arguing with me than on driving.

I laughed through the entire post!

CoffeeBigPlz said...

I am confused how can we be married to the same guy? I am in Indiana and my dude is here every day and night??? LOL

Kathy said...

To Phil...

While your logic (of lack there of) could be used in some aspects of married life... Should someone wait until they are in the hospital, or 'gasp' dead, and say "you should have slowed down"?

To Mom,

You are a better woman than I. I'd have, and not because I wanted to, thrown up all over the inside of the luxurious windshield of said Rover. I carry motion sickness pills in my wallet, that's how bad I am.

Rockantzy said...

Man oh are hilarious! I would almost say that it is a shame that you aren't going on the second trip back up, but at this point I see it fit not to. Rock on!

Anonymous said...

This reminded me of when I had to drive through WV. I was on a winding mountain road, going downhill, and the speed limit there was 70! I didn't want to go over 50! I still get scared thinking about it, but the fear is more from the people I saw driving past me. :/

OneEar said...

This reminds me of a trip where I was cruising along at about 70, minding my own business (naturally) when I noticed that the speed limit sign said "oh."

"A limit of oh," I thought to myself. "Is this some existential highway?" Funny story, it turns out I was driving upside-down.

Special K said...

I'm not a skittish person while on road trips (though I hate road trips), but I would have lost my effing mind had I been in the Rover with you.

Good God.

Miss Keeks said...

I think it's hard to be the passenger no matter what. After years of taking heat from MY family over criticizing the wife's driving, I finally had some closure. My stepfather was stuck behind our car in the far left lane going 50 (hey--that's how fast the car wants to go, that's how fast he'll drive). He (my step dad) finally got to pass us on the right. As he passed, he stuck out his hand to give us the finger and thought better of it. My family doesn't give me a hard time over it anymore.