Hubby and I don’t fight like some couples do. We’re just too tired to argue about the small stuff, so usually we agree to disagree and move on. It’s a good thing because the gap between our political opinions is as wide as the Mississippi River. The one thing that still starts us bickering after nineteen years together is driving….specifically, HIS driving and my inability to keep my mouth shut about it. I try. Really, I do, but sometimes it just wells up until I can’t stand it anymore and spills out of my mouth in profane ways. It did yesterday, on the way back from St. Louis.
We have a system when we travel. Hubby drives and I navigate. If we’re ever on “The Amazing Race”, I will be the chick in the backseat with the map. I usually do very well at navigating, so I get really frustrated when he refuses to listen to my directions. “I’m the one holding the map, fool,” is the response I gave early in our relationship when he questioned my directions. I decided to try a different approach after I came close to being dropped at the nearest exit ramp a couple of times. Now I bite my tongue, say “yes” and focus on a Cracker Barrel billboard while counting to three. Do you know how many Cracker Barrel billboards there are between the Butler Hill Road exit and the Peveley, Missouri exit on I-55? Five. That’s how many times I had to count yesterday when we headed in the wrong direction as we started home. I knew immediately we had made a mistake. It felt wrong. It looked wrong. It just wasn’t right, and I knew it. I said so…three times. Hubby insisted that he remembered the area and kept driving. He would not turn around, even when he began to suspect he was wrong. He finally pulled off at a Shell Mart and told me to ask for directions. I think the party at fault should be the one to ask for directions, but I bit my tongue and trudged into the store only to find out what I already knew. We were headed in the wrong direction and simply needed to TURN AROUND. Sixteen miles later we were back where we started. Oh, look! There was the interchange we needed, one half mile from our hotel. I pointed that out….loudly.
I got even louder when we nearly drove through a red light. “What the h@&^l are you doing”, was out of my mouth before I could stop it. I got some story about the dust prevention gizmo on the brakes causing them not to work right when you have to slam on the brakes. I refrained from pointing out that slamming on the brakes isn’t necessary if you don’t approach stoplights at an excessive rate of speed.
I was starting to get grumpy, especially since I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet, and it was around 9:45am. Hubby had promised to stop pretty quickly so we could eat before we got too far down the road. Thirty minutes into our drive we had passed two Denny’s, one Bob Evan’s, three Cracker Barrel’s and several fast food options. Every time we pointed to a sign, Hubby would say, “Okay, but I’m sure we’ll find something you guys will like somewhere down the road.” What’s not to like about any of those? They all have biscuits, and as my daddy says, “That’ll do.” Still, we drove. In fact, we didn’t stop until the last exit before a long stretch of rolling Illinois farmland. Where did we stop? Bob Evan’s. Arrrrgh!
I guess the other Sunday travelers weren’t in as big of a hurry to get home as we were because we kept running up on the back end of their cars. I thought perhaps reading a book the rest of the way home would be a good way to take my mind off of Hubby’s tailgating AND stop my left eye from twitching. I didn’t, so I opted for my passive aggressive way of drawing attention to the issue. It’s a tactic I use close to home, too. I simply grab the dash or the overhead handrail when we get too close to someone. I also like to mash my foot into the floorboard as if I’m pressing a big, fat imaginary brake pedal on the passenger side. This method allows me to truthfully say I didn’t SAY anything about his driving. It gives me some semblance of trying to keep my mouth shut. He passively aggressively ignored my passive aggression but did finally slow down a little when the state troopers got a little thick.
This whole driving thing worries me because I see us turning into Mama J. and Papa T. in a few years. They’ve been fighting over Papa T.’s driving for years. He hasn’t driven in months, but he’s been known to make a few butts pucker on past road trips. I’ve seen Mama J. demand to be let out of the car while riding down the highway. Her more polite way of handling it has been to smile and thank Papa T. for the airplane ride as she got out of the car upon their arrival home. I thought about thanking Hubby for the plane ride yesterday but managed to bite my tongue. I really was trying hard not to be ugly. Besides, there is a slight chance that the wrong turn onto I-55 could have been my fault.
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