The other day we made a trip even more dreaded, than the dreaded trip to town. We did the long haul. A trip to the city!
Now part of my dismay in making long car trips is the discomfort of sitting on the low seats in the car. My knees and legs cramp, my back aches, my hip complains, and then for days thereafter all these body parts sustain sympathy pains that lead to chronic discomfort for a long time.
But that’s not all. When we hit the road for a long haul, Hub drives at a ruthless speed while I grip the arm-rests in the car, and hang on for dear life. Complaining diplomatically or non-diplomatically is of no help. Hub sets in his mind an agenda of arrival and departure that he MUST meet, or beat (which is even so much better).
But I have discovered one thing. The only cure is distraction. If I can manage to distract him with a provocative story that baits his interest, he eases up on the gas feed.
So on the way to the big city, as we blew in and out of the small communities and towns along the way, I could not help but notice the overflow in shop windows of Valentine goods. Chocolates, flowers, lace hearts, bandit bears, satin negligees, etc. And in shop windows, and on sandwich-boards and bill-boards, bold-lettered reminders for Valentine suppers, dances, and suggestions for honoring the day.
Unable to find subject matter for a story that could grip Hub’s attention, I was close to tears with fear at the incredible speed that we were traveling on the open highway. When the car went into a skid on an icy corner, I felt such panic I was now grasping at straws.
At this point I lightly touched Hub’s arm and said, “Listen to me, Hub. I’m going to only say this once, and you best be paying attention.”
So now I’ve got his attention and quick, quick, I must say something that will distract him from the foot-feed. Then with no forethought, out of my mouth came this clumsy verse:
“You can forget my Birthday,
And I won’t give a twit
You can ignore me at Christmas,
I’ll not get in a snit,
Our Anniversaries - forgotten,
I don’t give a rip,
But Valentine’s Day
I NEED to know…
I’m (still) a HIT!”
That wee bit worked like a magic chant. Hub eased up on the gas immediately.
Suddenly we slowed to a reasonable speed and for once in my lifetime I didn’t have to tell a long story of excitement and daring equal to a Clint Eastwood Movie for him to continue down the road at a slower pace.
As for me, my mind went from terror to relieved confidence in his driving as we continued our trip with him driving like a senior should drive – smoothly, cautiously, carefully – contemplating with fascination, no doubt, the provocation of what I had just said. Road noise diminished and all I could hear now was the slow grate of wheels turning in his head.
And what did Hub give his Valentine? A pair of lovely new hiking boots! Guess I’m still a HIT!