Driving Ms. Diane

If I were to win the lottery, I would hire myself a driver, because I hate to drive and I am directionally challenged.  How great would it be to have a personal chauffeur to take you wherever you wanted to go?  In this lottery fantasy, my driver would be tall with the chiseled good looks of a male model and have an impeccable fashion sense (no suit or tie, please, but the cap would be nice).  He would greet me by flashing his perfect male model smile saying things like “Good Morning, Ms. Diane, how can I be of service today” and I would say things like “Good morning, driver, please take me to the nail salon.” He would hold the door open like a well-bred southern gentleman, I would thank him for doing so, he would tell me it was his privilege and off we would go.  That would be so perfect.  However, this fantasy is contingent upon my winning the lottery and the odds of that happening are pretty close to nil.  It is probably for the best, because not only do I hate to drive, I am a terrible passenger, which would probably make it difficult to keep male modelesque drivers in my employee for very long as I am certain they would grow weary of my backseat driving. 

I don’t like being a passenger, because when you are a passenger, you have no control over what the driver is doing.  Your life is in their hands!  All you can do is offer your opinion and give a heads-up to potential danger.  For some reason, drivers do not seem to appreciate this type of support.  Take my husband, Mark, and my daughter, Kailey, for example.  They are the most terrifying drivers I have ever had the misfortune to ride with.  Both drive excessively fast and both are easily distracted.  Although, if you were to ask them, they would tell you they are excellent drivers.  When Mark is driving, I have to be hyper vigilant offering him the heads-up when I notice drivers ahead applying brakes, upcoming red lights and vehicles entering our path from side streets.  My desire to assist seems only to annoy Mark for reasons that are unclear to me.  He does not seem to understand that I am looking out for his well-being in addition to mine and the children.  Instead of telling me to “stop it” and “he knows what he’s doing”, he should be saying “thank you, Diane…thank you for caring about my safety”, but does he?  No. Instead, he touts about how he hasn’t had an accident in 20 plus years, like I should be impressed with that fact.  I remind him accidents can happen in a split second and while he may be accident free for 20 years, it could be a matter of moments before we are lying in a ditch unable to free ourselves from a fiery death.

Mark does his worst (although he considers it his best) driving on trips to the mountains close to our home.  You know, those tiny two-lane, winding roads where the higher you climb the farther you fall if you go over the edge?  Mark considers this a stunt course there to highlight his driving prowess and provide amusement to him and him alone.  It is awful.  So awful, in fact, that he has made every one of the kids cry and caused me to threaten him with bodily harm if we somehow manage to survive. This doesn’t stop him.  He seems to enjoy hearing the shrieks of his family.  I should not be surprised by this, because this is the same guy who told me and his then eight year old son that Space Mountain at Disney World was nothing more than a “slow ride where you look at space objects.” He made sure Bryan and I sat together (while he rode alone) knowing full well that both of us were terrified of roller coasters (I still am).  By the time it was over, Bryan and I were crying and Mark…well, Mark was laughing his ass off.  After all these years, he still thinks this was funny and a perfectly acceptable joke to play on a woman and small child!

Then there is Kailey…sweet, sweet, Kailey.  When I ride with Kailey the scenario is always the same; I beg her to slow down while holding tightly onto the hand grip with one hand, the dashboard with the other, and applying my “fake brake.”  Kailey loves to point out that if we are in an accident with the way I am positioned my arms will surely be ripped completely off or at the very least be no longer useful to me.  “Relax”, she says.  Relax.  That is easier said than done, Speed Racer.  Just the other day while riding with her this same scenario was playing out.  Kailey shook her head and sighed, “It must be hard to be you.”  “What does that mean”, I asked?  She said “I just mean, you’re so high-strung, it must be difficult.” I was a little taken aback and happy to tell her so while continuing to apply the “fake brake” and pounding the dashboard.

Kailey is right though, I am high-strung, but I am working on it.  Sometimes, however, it is not me who is too high-strung; it is others who are not high-strung enough, throwing caution and safety to the wind while driving like maniacs singing “Born to be Wild” at the top of their lungs.  All I can say to that is “Come on, Mega Millions, Ms. Diane needs a driver!”

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