Like A Bat Out Of Hell
I guess my husband isn’t the worst driver in the world. I mean, he doesn’t have accidents (except for the one where he backed into a pole in a dark grocery store parking lot). He just has a certain personality type, type A with a dollop of OCD, and it all comes to the forefront when he drives.
He is IMPATIENT. If he gets behind someone who is going just a mile or two under the speed limit, or even a mile or two over, he will swoop around them, radiating impatience. He isn’t too cautious about which way those little dotted lines are going on the road either. If the person is going MORE than a few miles under the speed limit, he swoops around them with a derogatory blare of the horn. The horn going off never fails to startle me, and it irritates me to death. Hasn’t he ever heard of people getting shot because of road rage?
When my family comes to visit, he drives us all in the van. I wind up sitting in the very back, because my dad has to sit all the way up front because my husband’s swoopy driving makes him nauseated. It makes him so nauseated that he has to take Benadryl or Antivert to keep from getting sick. If he finds out we’re going out somewhere, my dad will medicate himself about thirty minutes before we leave. Sitting in the back is an experience, because when the husband takes sharp turns up front, you get cracked like a whip in back. I get pretty dizzy back there.
I gave up driving with him in the car a long time ago. He barks orders from the passenger seat, “No, turn there! TURN THERE! Turn there NOW!” or tells me how to navigate traffic, whom to pass, and yes, he reaches over and helps himself to the horn, so I look like I’M the one with road rage. Great. He’ll probably get me shot.
He is so anal retentive, he won’t wait through a red light. When he wants to go straight and is approaching a light that is red, he actually gets in the right turn lane, turns right on red, makes a left into some parking lot, and right back out onto the road he was on. It doesn’t even matter that the light has probably changed in the meantime. He just refuses to stop moving. He doesn’t undestand why I refuse to do this when I am driving. Which is why I let him drive. I just don’t want to hear it.
On long trips, he is always exceeding the speed limit. He complains bitterly about speed traps but blazes right through them. He’s gotten several speeding tickets since we’ve been married, and is always so irked when he gets caught. He actually drove forty-five minutes to court with photographs to try to protest one of the tickets. They didn’t buy it. He got traffic school instead. He has gotten tickets with our daughter in the car with him, and she always gleefully reports the details, what the cop said, what Daddy said, etc.
I have begged and begged him about the horn honking thing, partly because it sets my teeth on edge and partly because now that we have a daughter, I am more worried than ever about road rage and somebody pulling us over and trying to hurt us. He has improved a little bit, but I have to remind him every time he passes, “No horn. No horn.” And woe betide the unfortunate soul who takes a little long getting out of the gate when the light changes. He fumes, blares the horn, and zooms around them if he can.
And his treatment of vehicles is abysmal. It’s not that he doesn’t do oil changes and maintenance stuff, because he does. But he treats any car he is in like a rolling dumpster. Any drink or food wrapper that he is finished with gets tossed right over the back seat. When you open the door of his Explorer, cans come clanking and rolling onto the ground. It is mortifying. And he NEVER washes anything. His white vehicle is dark gray. Back in the days before we had our daughter, I had a Porsche, if he ever drove it (which he hated, because the hard “feel” of the road made his hemorrhoids hurt), he would unhesitatingly hurl coke cans into the back of my Carrera. I wanted to hurt him. Badly. I kept that car IMMACULATE.
His impatience when approaching restaurants is legendary. He doesn’t even want to wait to see if he has to wait. As we approach the front of the restaurant, he slows down just enough for me to leap out and go find out how long the wait is. I have to text him what the wait is and he’ll decide whether to come in or not. I am always hurled out of the car so fast I forget and leave my glasses on, or forget my purse in the car. And Heaven help me if I should try to walk around the FRONT of the car to get into the restaurant. He’ll just about run me over in his impatience to get out and find a parking spot.
I don’t know what else I can do. I just avoid riding with him whenever possible, and try not to think about it the rest of the time. I realize the crazy driving is just an extension of the competitive, controlling, type A personality. But I just worry that one of these days it’ll get us killed.