To say John drives like a New York Cabbie is, well … generous. Donning a head traction device ought to be mandatory when positioning oneself in the passenger seat. Weaving in and out of traffic is a euphemism for the pinball machine projectile that is my husband’s vehicle. Truly, if lift off were to occur in relationship to the distance from a rear bumper to our front one, we’d be airborne most of the time. On a two-lane road, the centerline merely denotes the middle of the road. Lanes? Shmaynes. Best to straddle said line as it leads unerringly – um – forward. Curvy mountain roads offer his version of the Monte Carlo Grand Prix, hurtling along at Mach 4, hugging the hillside regardless of lane designation or the potential of oncoming traffic.
John’s attention span goes something like this: “God, please help me keep my mind on one … Look! A butterfly!… thing at a time.” So, those strips that whine and thump at you on the shoulder, act as bumpers at the edge of his playground.
Further, his car is his enclosed amphitheater. Acceleration and deceleration occur with perfect synchronicity to the tempo of his choice of music on any given day.
“Hi officer . . . I was? That much over? Sorry, I was listening to Beethoven’s 9th and we were just coming up to Ode to Joy. I may have gotten carried away.” $90.00 later and traffic school in the offing, we carry on.
Conversely, when a musical piece takes us to gentle melancholy, we slow to a geriatric shuffle, and when those around us sound their disgruntlement, he says, “What the hell’s the matter with them?”
Brakes are meant to stop a car without deliberate deceleration, which occurs when one takes one’s foot off the gas. Right foot? Gas pedal. Left foot? Brake. Sometimes you can use both of them at once in a little dance. But back to braking. Drive hard at the next red traffic light, wait for it … wait … wait aaaaaaaaannnnnddd BRAKE. Seatbelts snap to attention.
How is it, I wonder, that this beautiful gifted man, with his huge heart, and fingers that can make you weep with the wonder of his piano playing, morphs into a Kamikaze warrior behind the wheel? If I ever need an adrenalin rush, I just ask him to drive. On a daily basis, when minimizing stress is optimal, I do the driving.
But then, on October 26, 2018 I severely injured my eye. No jiggling, no bumps, no jolts, no sneezing, coughing, crying – the list might be a hundred elements strong. Of necessity, my husband took the wheel. With saving my eye as incentive, this lovely man drives as if he’s pushing a baby carriage intent on maintaining the infant’s sleep. He glides by inches over those dratted speed bumps in parking lots, whispers to a stop, accelerates with gentle precision. I am doing what I’m supposed to, including those first 18 days face down 22 of ever 24 hours. He is too. Between us, we’ll get there.