The Passenger

It’s a lovely day the sun shining, the valley recently scoured of smog and the temperature is spring like. Sweetie says we’re a month ahead of schedule maybe two, here in the middle of February it feels like the middle of March or maybe  even April.

She’s agreed to follow me to the car dealership. There’s a recall, and there’s that screeching sound the belts make when we start the Elantra, and it’s time for a lube and an oil change. We don’t drive it too often it’s the backup, the second string behind our Subaru Forester, but you never know when it will be called up to transport us here or there.
She follows me; she sees me talking to the service representative she sees that it’s taking some time. She’s right when she figures they found a way to turn some adjustments some new belts into a major repair or perhaps it’s a minor repair with a major repair price. She’s right; they want an arm and a leg. Good thing the car has an automatic transmission and I’m adept at driving with one hand. But it’s not necessary.

She hasn’t moved from the driver’s seat to the passenger seat. I drive most of the time when we go somewhere together. She looks at me. She knows what I’m thinking. She reminds me she knows how to drive. She is a good driver. Why is it that I feel more comfortable driving myself. It’s more than that bit of ego we have that we’re always better than the other person when it comes to driving. It’s more than the if we get into a tight spot we want to be in control, though sometimes when you’re in a tight spot no one is in control.

And then it occurs to me. I remember my grandmother driving my grandfather for years when he was no longer a safe driver. A reminder that even though they both died years ago is repeated often. When I drive invariably, I’ll see an old women and what looks like an older man though they are probably the same age in the car next to me. She’s driving; he’s the passenger. Proof that he no longer is capable, and somewhere in the back of my mind I think that could be me. I could be feeble and unable to drive, and my wife will have to take over the driving duties.
But not yet. I’m not there yet.

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2 Responses to The Passenger

  1. Betty Jo says:

    A timely post.
    I’ve been doing the driving since the husband’s stroke some weeks back.

    Can’t say I like it much. I mean, I don’t mind driving, but I think there oughta be a Passenger Education class for old guys.

    I see him pressing his foot to an invisible accelerator pedal as I warily (and slowly) maneuver in unaccustomed big city traffic. Even while making clear his impatience with what I choose to consider ‘stately’ progress, he still feels some irresistible imperative to yell and cringe at every light, car, curb or sign he imagines I must not have noted. It’s all so alarming. Was driving around the block looking for parking. Stopped at a red light. He yells “NO! DON’T STOP! The curb is RED!”, then opens the door to show me. I say, “well yes, of course the curb is red, see the bus stop sign, the bench and the no parking signs? I’m stopped because of this RED LIGHT right here in front of us.”

    Heavy sigh. Trying to be patient…..

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