Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Highway to Hell

It must have been the scariest ride of Big Dog's life.

A few days ago, we got into a tiff about how he was being so negative about my driving.
"I need positive encouragement! I have no confidence! How am I going to take the stupid test if I don't feel confident about my driving?"

All men (and most women) think they are the World's Best Driver. I don't think I have ever met a man who could say "I'm a pretty crappy driver." Big Dog is no exception. He's constantly criticizing the other drivers on the road, pointing out dumb things they do (the same things he will do!) -- in other words, behaving like a normal driver. It gets amped up when I am behind the wheel of our truck.

No, I am NOT comfortable driving that thing. It feels like I am dragging around a tub. Any vehicle should be like an extension of the body. I know my sleek fast road bike is. But with the truck, I feel like I suddenly grew a giant ass and have to lug it around. It doesn't feel like the truck is taking me somewhere, but that I am taking the truck -- no, dragging the truck -- somewhere. Who's working for who? (whom?) "Once In A Lifetime" by the Talking Heads keeps playing in my head -- "...and you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile..." -- it feels so surreal.

Most drivers are scared of other people's driving, but my discomfort and unfamiliarity with driving really wigs Big Dog out and I can understand why he gets so verbally abusive when I am "practicing." But I have to. And he needs to drop the verbal abuse long enough for me to get comfortable.

Well, yesterday was the long trip back to The Ranch from Arcata and after we filled up in Salinas, I took over.

The back of the truck was loaded with tools, household stuff, plants...and the back seat was piled high with bags and boxes. You couldn't see out the rear view mirror. The passenger side, too, had a planter on the floor holding cuttings of antique roses from our property. It was bad enough that Big Dog had to be scrunched up in that seat, but then to have to ride all the way to Morro Bay with a driving Bad Dog! Hoooooo doggie!

"You're listing to the left! Slow down! Are you going to overtake him or not? Better decide now! Stop futzing with the cruise control! Now you're listing to the right! Why are you slowing down? You're trying to overtake him? What?!"

And then on the rural highway between Atascadero and Morro Bay, I got honked.

"You're going too fast."
"It's the speed limit."
"I don't care. It's too fast."
"There're a pile of cars behind me."
"Who cares. Stop worrying about them."

"Honk!"

"Asshole!" Big Dog yelled at the unknown driver.

Yep, it was Highway to Hell for everyone, but we miraculously managed to get to back to the ranch in one piece.

"Miracle isn't a strong enough word," Big Dog exhaled, finally.

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