Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My Road to Perdition?

Have you ever had a stomach ache and hunger pains at the same time? (Or is it hunger pangs? Tomato, tomaaato.) I can never decide which to take care of first; however, the stomach ache usually wins out. After ingesting a few antacids, then a dozen more, I realize my efforts are futile, so it’s time to satisfy the hunger pains and hopefully the stomach ache will succumb. But here’s the problem that compounds it…almost everything I eat upsets my tummy. So satisfying the hunger only prolongs the pain. See where I’m in conflict?

But that’s not really what this is about. It’s about what I did the other day in an effort to resolve the problem, only to exacerbate it. I decided to let my daughter drive us to the restaurant. And I’m using ‘drive’ in the loosest of terms. ‘Drive’ shouldn’t even be in the same sentence. I decided to let her demolition derby us to our destination. Not only does she drive fast, she maneuvers the car like we’re in a high speed chase with sirens raging behind us, and she’s on the lam. She snakes her way in and out of lanes whether we are on the freeway or side streets, without a care in the world about who’s in her way. I’m not sure what her hurry is, but she always seems to be in one when she’s in the driver’s seat. [Sure wish she'd apply that to all other aspects of her life instead, if you catch my drift.]

I don’t know if you remember teaching your kids how to drive, but to this day, when they drive, I cover my eyes and avoid ever looking straight ahead at the road in front of me. I used to have to let their dad teach them to drive. When I would get in the car with them, I immediately lost patience. I’m not sure why, but we had barely left the driveway and I was already getting pissed off for something they hadn’t even done yet. I think my nerves were getting the better of me before they should’ve gotten the better of me. The anticipation of what they could do with a 3500 pound machine was too much for me to handle. We would be driving maybe 50 feet from home and I was yelling at them to slow down (from the 5 mph they were going) and telling them there was a stop sign ahead. As we approached the stop sign, I was yelling to ease their foot off the accelerator and we were still 25 feet away. I admit…I was the worst teacher ever, but was smart enough to bow out of teaching them. I probably should never be anyone’s passenger, either.

I have yet to mention my state of mind prior to the start of our long journey to hell. Upon approaching the car, I didn't even realize it was hers because the color was unrecognizable with the amount of dirt and dust covering it. It was a sort of grayish brown hue masking the maroon it actually was. The view out of the windshield was...well, there really wasn't a view. It was as if we were looking through glass blocks. You could see shapes, but nothing too clearly. Fortunately, headlights would shine through. At least I think that's what was shining through. Although…maybe it was heaven opening up to guide me through that very difficult time.

The interior? It was in there somewhere. I would get glimpses of it at times....like when she would swerve or make those sharp turns and stuff would fall over or go flying. Then I could kind of see the seat or the floor, but that was really the only way, once I was able to peel away the clothes that flew in my face. I don't believe she has any clothes left in her closet or drawers because the inside of her car looked like she had just had a rummage sale for every article of clothing she owned. She really doesn't need to pay rent at her house since pretty much everything she has is inside her car. Do you think if she went to city hall, they would issue her an address for that thing she refers to as her car? I would say it's more of a hoarder's apartment on wheels.

Surprisingly, it had no odor. With all the shit that she had in there, why it didn't reek was beyond me. It's not like there weren’t hundreds of old In-n-Out Burger wrappers or anything. There were plenty of those and every other fast food chain represented within the confines of her vehicle. Skepticism about entering her car was only a small percentage of the thoughts and feelings permeating through my body. I was hoping she had a hazmat suit buried in there somewhere. 

I will never understand why people tear ass from a stop, speeding up to 60 mph, knowing there is another stop sign coming up in 300 feet, but there she went, flooring it, only to have to brake 5 seconds later. My heart? I believe it still resides in my chest, although it may have relocated to the other side. I had no idea it was able to pump that fast as it pushed its way up into my throat forcing me to spew out more swear words than I even knew I knew.

My knuckles were white holding on for dear life and all I heard going into my left ear was, “Mom, it’s fine. I know what I’m doing.” Yeah…sure you do, Destructo Woman. My right foot was cramping from pressing on the imaginary brake as she sped full force ahead and my hand was in a permanent clutching position, as if rigor mortis set in. I should have invested in a driver’s ed car so I could have master control from the passenger’s seat.

The sign would say:

And this is what she would see:

As we would drive by people she knew, she thought nothing of sticking her head out the window to yell to them, removing her eyeballs from watching the road in front of her. Helllloooooo....whole other world to focus on in the view out your windshield...which is directly at a zero degree angle. Turn your head back. I felt like going on Google maps and clicking the 'show traffic' link to point out just what was ahead of her. That would've given her a better idea than she was getting in person.

Since my eyes were constantly diverted to the right so as not to see what she was almost running into, I hadn't noticed that she was looking down at her iPod to look for another song to play. Can't you just turn on the radio like a normal human being? If I don't have permanent heart damage, I'll be shocked. [Not to mention ruptured eardrums and vocal chord nodules from yelling over the extraordinarily loud music.]

You would never know we were in the car by the way she was window shopping. "Look mom...will you buy me that dress?" Seriously? You're shopping while driving. First of all...how can you even see that far and…WHAT?? You’re SHOPPING WHILE DRIVING?? Who the hell is at the helm then? Apparently, she thought we were in one of those concept cars that drives itself. I certainly would've felt safer. I'll tell you what I WILL buy you...a bus pass.

I’m always happy when there’s traffic while she's at the wheel. That way I know she can’t exceed the speed limit [too much]. However, with traffic comes tailgating, and with tailgating comes heart failure. We should have just had the car in front of us hook us up to the back of their car. We all would have been safer that way. Why she’s never encountered road rage is beyond my understanding.

I was going to refrain from mentioning the 4 tickets she received within 6 weeks of each other but it’s just too unbelievable to omit, along with the fact that every time I see our car insurance bill, I go into cardiac arrest…but here are the facts:

Ticket #1: November 2013 – 56 mph in a 40 zone
Ticket #2: November 2013 [one week later] – 94 mph in a 65 zone…on the freeway to Vegas…what were the odds?
Ticket #3: December 2013 – again…56 mph in a 40 zone
Ticket #4: January 2014 – talking on her cell

There are now signs posted on those streets in her honor:

Well, we did finally arrive at our destination, and as she sped into a parking space, barely missing the cars on either side, the cramping in my stomach, legs, biceps, triceps, quads, and any other body part that stiffened during the ride, finally subsided as she came to an abrupt halt. I arrived in one piece without flat lining. Hallelujah! But I have to say...that was the longest four blocks I've ever experienced.