getting behind the wheel (of a real car. But it’s also a little bit of a metaphor)

This post is a part of the Little Victories series. 

I love to drive.

I mean, obviously. I grew up in the suburbs where everything was a half an hour away, and there was no way in the world to get to your boyfriend’s house unless your mom drove you there or you walked all night alongside the road and almost stepped on a lot of bloody possums and risked your life at the hands of the men who your parents were pretty sure drove around late at night in NJ suburbs, waiting to steal a girl.

I got my license on my seventeenth birthday. It was sleeting and I had already aced the written exam. I drove around the course with a very serious gentleman who I hoped desperately to impress with my ability to brake fully at the stop sign.  I passed. The parallel parking gods smiled upon me. Just that once (later that year, in the minivan I borrowed constantly from my mom, they would cruelly punish me again and again).

(this was the car my mom had. A Toyota Previa. Amazingly ugly. Incredibly difficult to parallel park. source)

And then I was free! I was blaring Smashmouth, or whatever I listened to back then, and swinging around breathtaking corners and tearing off into the openness of the world.

 

I still remember that feeling. Before, New Jersey had felt like a yard with a very tall fence around it. Now it was just a little state, connected by roads to other states, which were all connected to each other, making a whole country, which was connected to other countries, which were surrounded by the fantastic expanse of the ocean, which was filled with migrating pods of mysterious whales and other magical things. I could go anywhere. Even if I only chose to drive to the Shop Rite for the sugary cereal my mom wouldn’t ever buy or meet a friend at the coffee shop in town, there was that huge potential.  Maybe I’d just take off. Maybe I’d end up in Montana.

(who knew it was just a couple of exits off the NJ Turnpike! source)

But I didn’t. I ended up in New York City, where it seems a little ridiculous to have a car.

(source)

Suddenly, I had friends who had grown up here, who had never even driven. Who didn’t have a license. Who were pretty sure they’d never even need one.

One of my friends started dating a guy with a car recently, and it’s like this exotic thing. This incredibly powerful thing. A car! He could take you anywhere! How sexy!

I was hanging out with four women friends the other day and one of them was talking about how her boyfriends have always driven her places because she can’t drive. Someone else said, “I got my license but I’m a terrible driver! I’m dangerous behind the wheel. I hope I never have to drive again.” Everyone was agreeing, and I was thinking, “I love to drive!” but the conversation moved on before I could say anything and it would’ve been weird to go back.

I don’t get many chances to drive these days. I haven’t driven regularly since before college, really. That was eight years ago.

(I walk everywhere, which is also great. source)

It’s been even longer for Bear, but something happened when we rented a car on vacation or returned home to one set of parents and borrowed a car to go somewhere. He would automatically get in the driver’s seat. Sometimes he’d say, “You want to drive?” and I’d say no. Automatically.

I guess my dad always drove when my parents were in a car together. I guess the man usually drives when there’s a man and a woman. I don’t know. He’s a confident driver, and after all, I hadn’t done it in a long time.

So I never drove.

There is something about Bear. About marriage. About having a competent partner. It makes me feel safe. It makes me thankful, so thankful, when we are in a place where we don’t speak the language and he can still figure out what the signs say enough to get us home. It makes me so relieved when I can’t understand what exactly the terms of this lease are, and have never learned how to calculate all of my finances on a spreadsheet and don’t care about enough details to manage the practical minutia of my own life sometimes and I just don’t have the patience to deal with Time Warner Cable for another hour on the phone and it’s OK, because he’s got it, he’s doing it, he has some secret for making it happen, and then, like magic, it has happened and we’re doing something fun instead.

There is something about being married to a guy who seems to have memorized an endless list of rules that govern the complicated mechanics of the colossal clicking system underneath the world. I relax a little. I am free to occupy myself elsewhere. I am free to think bigger thoughts.

(things sometimes feel unnecessarily complicated. source)

It loosens me.

And I begin to think that maybe it’s not worth trying because I don’t have to be good with the Time Warner Cable rep and I don’t have to learn all of the intricacies of the lease. I would slow things down if I were the one to calculate the numbers on the spreadsheet or book the flight (he is so good at booking the cheapest flight! I am clumsier).

I am not stupid—I know I could do all of these things. But I don’t believe that people should do everything themselves just because it’s better or because what if your partner dies or because absolute self-sufficiency is the most important thing ever. I don’t think it is. I think it’s smart to do things that you’re good at and ask for help when you need it and as long as you can take care of basics, you can figure out the rest when you need to. And if Bear wants to book the flight I’m happy to let him, and to save some money that way.

But at the same time, I miss driving.

On our belated honeymoon, we took Highway 1 to Big Sur, and I was popping Bonine because Dramamine makes me fall instantly asleep and otherwise I will barf. Actually, I got sick even on the way to the bank or the ice cream parlor. I got sick between his dad and his mom’s houses, which are only twenty minutes apart. I was embarrassingly sick on the way back from the airport, with his stepdad driving and his mom asking us cheerful questions about life in New York. On a day trip to the coast they had to stop the car so that I could get out and sit miserably on the side of the road for a while, counting to one hundred over and over again and wondering if his family was wondering what kind of weak genes I might pass on to the offspring.

And I am a bad navigator. My mom used to yell at me on the way to the museum because I could never read the map and we were usually lost. Even my phone, with its clever aps, is always tricking me. So I yell at it.

I am a bad passenger. But for years, I didn’t even think to drive.

And then recently we were doing this two hour trip pretty frequently. On the highway in a rented car, Bear crammed into the driver’s seat which wouldn’t adjust enough to accommodate his frame, leaning forward, annoyed. He was miserable. Two hours of miserable Bear on the highway. Stuck in traffic, then suddenly flying by trucks, me trying to navigate, yelling at my phone. “What the hell is it trying to tell me? It’s lying to me. Seriously, this thing is making shit up right now. That is NOT WHERE I SAID TO TAKE US!”

Bear about to lose his mind. “I hate driving,” he said.

“Wait,” I said, finally. “Pull over.”

So he did. And I got behind the wheel. I drove for hours, tense with happiness.

(i’d be willing to give one of these a shot too, if someone would let me. source)

“You’re going too fast!” he said a couple times, grabbing onto something the way my mom used to do when I drove and she was in a perpetual state of almost having a heart attack from it.

That was maybe six months ago, and now, every time we’ve had to drive, it’s been me. Four hours—I’ve got it. Highways, I love them—I feel like I’m getting somewhere I want to be faster. Winding roads—whee! I’m not sick! I can’t get sick when I drive! I’m on the edge of the world! Even traffic doesn’t really upset me. Being behind the wheel is nothing like being in the passenger seat. The passenger seat is boring. There’s nothing to do with your feet. You notice how slowly time is moving on long trips.

Driving is being in control.

And after living in the city for four years, I am acutely aware of how delicate the car is, how fragile we are inside it, how brave and reckless and absurd it is to hurtle over the pavement like this, always a few blurred feet away  from chaos and death, always just a little closer to where we need to go.

I think I always let Bear drive because I was afraid. I had forgotten how much I loved to drive. How good I am at it. How capable my hands are on the wheel. How quick my reflexes have always been. I thought that he should be the one entrusted with our safekeeping. He is so competent. I thought it was more sensible to let him be responsible. We were more likely to arrive unscathed.

Bear is happy in the passenger seat. He reads aloud to me from a historical biography that I never would’ve picked up on my own, then from my mystery novel. He flips through the radio, and we always agree on what constitutes good music (we both have relatively unrefined taste). He is a flawless navigator, so we are never lost. He is happy and relaxed.

And I—I love to drive.

(hell yeah! source)

*  *  *

Did everyone else’s dad always drive when your parents were in a car together? I’m curious.

Unroast: Today I love the way I feel when I turn on 30 Rock after a long day. My brother Gabe, Bear, and I line up on the couch and watch it together, laughing hysterically. How is it that funny?!

A reader cake pic!! Send in yours soon!

she says: “Haha, i love how i look kind of surprised about my cake.  That was really good cake!  Chocolate, gooey.  Yum!”

51 Responses to “getting behind the wheel (of a real car. But it’s also a little bit of a metaphor)”

  1. Shannon R. responded on 16 Jul 2012 at 1:02 pm #

    My dad and poppop always drove. Now I have a tendancy to hop in the passenger side and let my husband drive. It’s amazing how much happier I feel in the driver’s seat. I didn’t realize it until I got my little, alien green, Fiesta, Consuela. He wasn’t allowed to touch it for the first four months (once the new car smell wore off). :)

  2. Stacey responded on 16 Jul 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    Now that I think about it, my dad did always drive whenever my family went anywhere. The only time my mom took over was if we were on a road trip and he had been driving for like four hours already. My husband and I split the driving because we both enjoy it, but I don’t think I’d have a problem with him driving all the time if it was something I started to hate. There’s something to be said for knowing what you’re good at in a relationship – my husband is always going to be the one to talk to people at the car repair shop because he understands those things and I get overwhelmed by them, and I’m always going to be the one who deals with our finances because I love numbers and learning about investment opportunities.

  3. Mara responded on 16 Jul 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    I actually really love being in the passenger seat. Whenever I’m being driven somewhere, that’s my zen time. I plug in my earphones and ignore everyone, and just daydream or think or watch the world go by. And I can go for hours like that. My butt gets sore from sitting, but I’m never tired of being driven around.
    That being said, I don’t hate driving. Other drivers freak me out, but the driving itself is alright. I won’t miss it though, if I end up with a partner who prefers to drive or live in the city where a car isn’t needed.

  4. lik_11 responded on 16 Jul 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    My Dad always drove- and now, my husband usually drives on long trips.

    More than that- I love your description of feeling safe with Bear, because he can take care of the things you don’t want to. (Even though you’re perfectly capable)

    This weekend, my husband made a comment about he was “the rock” in our marriage. As I don’t consider myself a “flighty” person, I’m still wondering- what does he think I am in our relationship???

  5. Kristina responded on 16 Jul 2012 at 1:42 pm #

    My husband always drives. Mostly because he has this issue where he needs to be in control all the time. If I drive and he is the passenger, he is critical and edgy and tells me I drive too slow. I tell him he drives too fast. I secretly love that he does most of the driving because it gives me a better chance at keeping my driving record sparkly clean. Is that weird to admit?

  6. Kate responded on 16 Jul 2012 at 1:42 pm #

    @lik_11
    Ask him! I’m curious too!

  7. Kate responded on 16 Jul 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    @Kristina
    It’s not weird to admit. It’s just life :-)
    I like how people are talking here about how they like being in the passenger seat. It’s interesting to read why.

  8. Michele responded on 16 Jul 2012 at 1:50 pm #

    This post has made me think. Yes, my Dad always drove and I was surprised years ago when I met my husband that he really prefers me to drive, I think. At first we would correct me and make me nervous (or wear his sunglasses) but now he is fine with me. He drives for a living so that is why I think he is happy to have me do the driving.

    Love your post, Kate

  9. Kristina responded on 16 Jul 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    @lik_11, your husband may refer to himself as the “rock” maybe because he wants to feel like the protector. I don’t think it was slight on your role in the marriage. atleast I hope not.

  10. Kate responded on 16 Jul 2012 at 1:53 pm #

    @Michele
    I think I’d feel differently if I drove for a living! For me, driving is fun and recreational.

    And thank you!

  11. D responded on 16 Jul 2012 at 2:11 pm #

    My dad always drives, but that is mostly because my mom doesn’t have a license. Husby usually drives us around now, but I do take the wheel occasionally. I don’t really enjoy driving- I take the bus if I have the chance.

  12. melissa responded on 16 Jul 2012 at 2:18 pm #

    I don’t know, my parents had seperate cars. I think if we were all taking one vehicle, my stepdad would be driving. But he’s the macho type to a serious degree. Once, my mom drove the truck (with the camper attached) because we were on a long trip and my stepdad needed a rest. I remember being genuinely terrified because I’d never seen my mom drive such a precariously set-up vehicle and never considered her to have the ability.

    Me, I just got my license and car this year and I love it! LOVE IT. It’s such a taste of freedom. The first time I hit three different spots and got to fill the trunk with goods was amazing. Couldn’t easily do that on a bus.

    My partner had a learner’s license once but never got behind the wheel a single time. So I took it upon myself to bear the driving responsibility because I wanted it more. He is happy to bus and bike everywhere. And now I get to feel kind of like a “hero”, actually. I get to take him anywhere he might want to go and it’s kind of awesome.

  13. San D responded on 16 Jul 2012 at 2:26 pm #

    @lik_11 Maybe you are paper. Doesn’t paper “cover” rock in the rock, scissors, paper game? In my relationship with my husband of 40 years we complement each other. Where one of is stronger in one area, the other one has their back and is stronger in another area. That is just how it worked out for us. I know he considers himself the rock, too, but loves that I am there to “cover” him.

  14. Emmi responded on 16 Jul 2012 at 2:29 pm #

    Love this post!

    I didn’t get my license until I was 22 thanks to a joint conspiracy between my brain and my wallet (I was broke, and terrified of driving). My husband and I met in college, where I lived in the dorm and he lived at home and had a car, so that was awesome – I got to go all over the place with him! After college, the long-distance relationship (80ish miles between us) was extremely annoying. Finally when I was sick of having to depend on the bus for everything, I saved up and took myself to driver’s ed. My father’s health was poor (at the time, he got better!) so he wasn’t able to drive much, and I talked him into giving me his old (crappy) car. And suddenly, I could drive to work! And anyplace else I wanted! Wahoo! I took myself out for Vietnamese food a lot, because it was cheap, on the other side of the city, and I could get avocado shakes. Yum!

    Now I commute to work, 65 miles round trip. In crazy Massachusetts traffic, that means mostly creeping along a densely packed highway for about 3 hours every day. It is not my favorite thing ever. But I am a pretty good driver now, despite the late start. My (newer, shinier) car gets better gas mileage than my husband’s, so I do almost all of the driving when we go out together. I hate it when he moves my mirrors so it’s the best solution. I don’t love driving, but I do love not having to deal with public transport (weather, people, schedules, etc) anymore. And my husband is more than content to nap while I drive.

  15. Blake responded on 16 Jul 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    Wonderful post. I think driving is a powerful metaphor. It’s true that when one person automatically opts to drive, we are comfortable taking the backseat, but driving can be exhilerating, freeing and fun–women need to remember to take the initiative and drive (before they forget how to) :-] Great post!!

  16. caty responded on 16 Jul 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    My dad was always the driver when I was little, I think for similar reasons — it was just assumed that he would drive. When he took a more intense job and was exhausted all the time, my mother started doing the driving (…since my dad would pretty much get in the car and fall asleep…). Turns out that my mother enjoys driving and my father enjoys kicking back and being a passenger. Who knew?

    Me, I am 24, my permit expired last month, and I am willfully ignoring the fact that someday I will actually have to learn to drive.

  17. Kate responded on 16 Jul 2012 at 3:37 pm #

    @Emmi
    I had a bunch of reactions to this. In summary:
    So glad your dad got better!! I want my dad to get better so so badly. I am jealous, but also happy for you.
    I love that you just went out and got your license because enough was enough. I loved driving to get food. That was the best.
    3 hours in traffic? AAAAHHH!!! Sorry.

  18. Jess responded on 16 Jul 2012 at 3:41 pm #

    My dad always drove when I was a kid. I grew up in the Bronx (which IS NYC and is NOT the picture of terrible traffic people have when they picture the city) and both of my parents have licenses, but my mom said my dad always got critical when she drove, so she let him do it when they were together. Neither me nor my brother can drive. I got my permit but never got around to too many driving lessons– you need someone to take the time to go when someone is home to teach you, and there are places I could be going on the subway and… busyness! My brother didn’t even want his permit, though I think my parents made him get it. Oddly enough, he’s the one who thinks it might be cool to move somewhere else for a little while– and he’ll be in for a shock when he gets there and can’t get anywhere. I went to college upstate and think of driving as an incredibly useful skill, especially when carrying lots of stuff, but not as a pleasurable activity. THAT is the difference between growing up in the suburbs and in the city, the emotional relationship.

  19. Lasslisa responded on 16 Jul 2012 at 3:51 pm #

    My parents both drove. In my relationship, I pretty much always am the driver… my boyfriend likes driving but – as Kristina said about her husband – I like to be in control all the time. So he just brings a book and lets me drive.

  20. Alicat responded on 16 Jul 2012 at 4:25 pm #

    I also love to drive. I’m single so I’m used to taking off when I want to and going on my own. The freedom of the road, especially when I have no timeline, no commitment or noone expecting me is …ahhhhh! I’m NOT a good passenger. I wince and draw big gasps of fear when it seems like we are about to hit the car in front of us because I would have started braking much sooner than the person driving – what are they thinking! :)

  21. Aurora responded on 16 Jul 2012 at 4:46 pm #

    I absolutely love driving. It’s relaxing and fun and I have control of the car.

    Also, completely unrelated, I thought of your post about princesses with big noses when I saw a girl on the subway yesterday. I was coming home from the airport and happened to glance at her, then noticed she had a very prominent, arching nose. I thought it was beautiful, accented her features, and made her face look stately and strong. So big noses can be pretty awesome!

  22. Kate responded on 16 Jul 2012 at 4:47 pm #

    @Aurora
    Aww! Thanks for letting me know! I love that.

  23. Kristin responded on 16 Jul 2012 at 4:51 pm #

    My mom ALWAYS drove when we were together. She and my father pretty much never fight, but apparently he can’t drive the car with her in it for more than about 30 seconds before they start fighting (I say apparently because I’ve honestly never seen him drive with her in the car). As a result, I grew up thinking that all women everywhere drove the car.

    I got my license before Roger, and the only car we ever use is technically mine, so I do the majority of the driving, particularly in traffic or cities, when he gets stressed. That said, he usually takes over on long highway drives, when I tend to get bored/exhausted. It’s a pretty good driving partnership, I think!

  24. Maya responded on 16 Jul 2012 at 5:41 pm #

    My Dad does all the long-distance driving. My grandma drives instead of my grandfather- but that’s because he’s blind- when he had enough sight, he drove. My sister drives (her husband is a horrid driver, and she likes it.)

    Me? I don’t like driving, particularly, and parking and highways at night scare me. My husband does such driving as we need.

  25. katilda responded on 16 Jul 2012 at 5:46 pm #

    I think driving is so relaxing! Just me and my tunes and my temperature level. I actually enjoy solo roadtrips quite a bit. I’m a huge sucker for cheesy, mystery-novel audiobooks! Also, I ran over a curb during my license test and they still passed me…probably because my test hadn’t technically started because I ran over the curb on my way into the testing arena. Mortifying, but at least it didn’t stop me!

  26. Kate responded on 16 Jul 2012 at 5:49 pm #

    @katilda
    This is what I really want. To go on a solo road trip one day. Have you done it?

  27. Kae responded on 16 Jul 2012 at 5:56 pm #

    Hmn, I’m one of those people who have always lived in cities and don’t have a driving licence. I can’t afford it, and I don’t like cars in general, not even as a passenger, so I don’t have the interest to learn anytime soon. Since I’ve never had one, I don’t feel the need for it either.
    And when I think of all the money that’d go into it, I can easily think of 10 things that I’d find way more fun.
    I don’t know, maybe one day I’ll join y’all on that highway though!

  28. Kate responded on 16 Jul 2012 at 5:58 pm #

    @Kae
    Yeah, that’s the thing about the city– I actually had a whole paragraph in this post originally about why having a car in the city is not a great idea. I heard it can cost $300 a month to park in a garage. Oy.

  29. Sheryl responded on 16 Jul 2012 at 6:06 pm #

    Growing up, whenever they were in the same car, my dad was ALWAYS, without fail, the driver. (My mom now tells me he was the world’s worst passenger.)

    I’m a little embarrassed to admit that at 27 I still haven’t been bothered to learn how to drive. First because I wouldn’t be allowed to touch my mom’s car. Then, university came with a bus pass, so why bother? After that, well Toronto has great public transit and I lived downtown and didn’t want to be wasting my money away on a car.

    Now? I’m thinking I need to get over my fear and excuses and learn to effing drive.

  30. Soohyun responded on 16 Jul 2012 at 8:12 pm #

    When I was really young, I wanted to drive around 2 or 3 am where there is little cars on the street so I can drive as fast as I can. Now I grew up, learned about “law”, but I still don’t have a license and I’m in suburbs, which is such a shame. I think I always dreamed about living in the city in my whole entire life, so I thought a car is a hassle to have one. Now I realized I need to know how-to because it is a plus when I get a job (sigh). Driving, for me, is kind of scary thing now because of those crazy people on the road, but perhaps, when I get my license, I will travel anywhere I always want to go.

  31. contrary kiwi responded on 16 Jul 2012 at 10:08 pm #

    My dad is always the driver in our family. My mum is a good driver, but she lets Dad drive. And I let other people drive around town. I like being a passenger. I don’t live in a city, so driving is part of my everyday life and I enjoy it when I don’t have to.

    But! Mountain driving? I will fight for the driver’s seat. I want to drive in the mountains. Town driving bores me, and driving on straights bores me. Winding, thin, up and down roads where passing someone is an act of bravery all get me very excited. I’d never let my husband drive those roads, unless he tied me into the passenger seat.

  32. Bridget responded on 16 Jul 2012 at 10:59 pm #

    My dad is definitely in the driver’s seat — literally and figuratively.

    I grew up in the City and didn’t get my license until college. I’m guessing this is why I don’t prefer to drive. My husband loves to drive, so this works out. I have the luxury of reading, crocheting, or taking a nap on a long trip. He would go stir crazy sitting in the passenger seat.

    I can so relate to your Warner cable story. I do our taxes, but for some reason those pricing plans make my head spin. I’m happy my husband doesn’t mind wrangling with all those variables. We have a pretty good system of divided labor going.

    But after seeing some wives become helpless after they lose their husbands, I’ve wondered if I shouldn’t be less reliant. I like your conclusion. I think what differentiates us from earlier generations of wives is the sense of being capable. I don’t have to know everything now because I know I can figure it out later if I need to. Good thoughts!

  33. Laura responded on 16 Jul 2012 at 11:44 pm #

    I love this! I haven’t driven in so long, I’m afraid to. But at the same time, it feels like second nature whenever my mom needs me to drive her somewhere. Now to actually own a car, that would be wonderful. Working on that minor detail…

  34. Claire responded on 17 Jul 2012 at 12:56 am #

    My mom always drove, and I got my licensee before my boyfriend. I never even thought about not driving. I couldn’t wait to get behind a wheel. And even though I get very sleepy after a certain hour of the night, i usually drive. My boyfriend is very capable and will happily drive me when I feel sick, or tired and I always feel safe with him behind the wheel. But I also understand what it means to be in control of something that is moving you away/toward something.

  35. Life [Comma] Etc responded on 17 Jul 2012 at 9:38 am #

    Thank you for this one! I feel like I have a little more insight into how my husband must feel. I’m the cheap flight booker, the sales rep talker, and the budgeter, leaving him to be the more musically gifted one. Very, very interesting. (He drives, though…)

  36. Susan responded on 17 Jul 2012 at 9:57 am #

    My dad taught mom to drive so she wouldn’t be stranded. She loved it. He hated driving in traffice so she did all the in-city (Miamai) driving. Dad only drove when we went on long trips and he could drive the highway. My husband likes to drive and is an uneasy passenger so he does the driving when we’re together in the car. Fine by me; I enjoy the scenery or read.

  37. Catie N responded on 17 Jul 2012 at 10:03 am #

    I used to get a bit car sick too, and my dad was a confident (over-confident?) driver so my mum used to have to drive any long distances.

    I have pretty much this exact experience, except I haven’t done the driving-again thing yet… It makes me nervous now even though I used to drive all the time and was a really good driver!

  38. Janet T responded on 17 Jul 2012 at 11:09 am #

    My mom didn’t know how to drive.. she was beginning to learn when she and Dad married, and he didn’t want her to drive so she stopped- how weird is that? So of course, my Dad always drove. Dad was a truck driver and drove 5 nights a week and then Mom would make him drive the whole family somewhere all day Sunday- he never complained, ever. My husband used to be a sales rep and drove 40,000 miles per year-and still prefers to be the driver, it is a control thing. As long as he doesn’t speed toooo much, I’m cool with it. I am an excellent navigator and have a long term love relationship with maps

  39. Sam responded on 17 Jul 2012 at 1:48 pm #

    I actually really like being in the passenger seat and letting my husband drive. I guess I feel like I have to be in control of so many things during my weeks, that it’s kind of nice to just relax and let my mind wander while he takes over the driving responsibility. The only problem with this scenario is that I am a hopeless navigator. Seriously bad. I think the only real fights we have ever had in our marriage is when my husband has asked me to map out a different route on a long drive because of traffic or something, and I just stare, dumbfounded, at my phone’s navigation until he finally just takes over. All I can say is thank god for our brand new GPS that anticipates traffic and re-routes automatically :)

  40. daphne responded on 17 Jul 2012 at 1:53 pm #

    I like driving, but I love being in the passenger seat because then I can read! That said, I drive myself everywhere, all the time, and enjoy it. My navigation isn’t perfect but I learn as I get myself un-lost, and then I know shortcuts that hilariously baffle my co-pilot when it’s my turn to drive.

    I love “driving” in other ways: I like to know how to do everything, even the things I’m not good at. It makes me feel self-contained, competent, intelligent. Able to follow when someone is talking about something I don’t fully understand — knowing how to do a little of everything is something I learned from my dad, and I’m very proud of my ability to set up a sprinkler system, install kitchen cabinets, caulk the tub, AND cook delicious meals, make art, go to work, etc. My mom let my dad take care of so many things, and then got frustrated when he didn’t take care of them in a timely manner, or as she would have liked. I don’t want to repeat that, so I just figured I’d know how to do most things, myself. Works for me.

  41. Celynne responded on 17 Jul 2012 at 8:54 pm #

    My father was and still is the primary driver between my parents. My mother will sometimes drive when my father’s health flags and he’s in too much pain, but that’s very rare. I myself love driving too though, even alone. There’s nothing like blasting your favourite music while cruising down the highway!

  42. Donnasummersdiscoghost responded on 18 Jul 2012 at 7:27 am #

    How can happiness make you tense?

  43. Donnasummersdiscoghost responded on 18 Jul 2012 at 8:11 am #

    How can you be both tense and happy?

  44. Amy J responded on 18 Jul 2012 at 11:43 am #

    My husband and I got in an argument recently when we were on a trip to Seattle. He was driving from the rental car place to the hotel. At some point in the discussion he said “hey, you’re supposed to drive, and I’m supposed to navigate!” I had forgotten since we hadn’t road tripped in a while, that’s the way we get along best. I’m glad to hear it works that way for other couples too!

  45. Haley responded on 18 Jul 2012 at 1:52 pm #

    My dad drove usually, but if we were taking my mom’s car somewhere, she drove. My grandparents are the same way – except my grandma’s car is a bright red manual transmission sports car! All the guys are jealous of her. ;)

    My husband prefers not to drive and I enjoy it, so I always take the wheel when we’re together. People assume he likes to drive (because he’s a man?) so he often gets stuck driving u-hauls for people, etc. He hates that so much. I don’t mind being a passenger, as long as it’s with a defensive driver. I can’t stand the testosterone-style driving that involves speeding, rapid stops, and road rage. I’d rather just wait my turn in traffic, thankyouverymuch.

  46. Kylie responded on 18 Jul 2012 at 4:12 pm #

    I’m glad you’re writing about this, because I think about this all the time! My mom’s husband pretty much always drives. I sometimes drive when we go back to Seattle (where I’m from), but I don’t like to. I’d much rather be looking around at the scenery. In NY, my wife always drives, because she likes it, but also because I’m petrified of driving on the East Coast. In her family, though, most of the women don’t drive at all, which, since they don’t use public transportation, means they can’t go anywhere unless their husbands take them. It’s so interesting to me what driving says (or doesn’t say) about cultural and gender differences, and maybe even about one’s own abilities.

  47. Meg responded on 20 Jul 2012 at 10:26 am #

    my dad always drove when we were all together when we were growing up (but i think this might have been because my mom was always driving us around during the day and wanted a break). now when bobby and i go somewhere in a car i almost always drive. he got his license late and never really got into driving that much. i don’t mind – i like it most of the time. i do get pissy in traffic though.

  48. Samantha Angela responded on 20 Jul 2012 at 1:38 pm #

    I think I’m actually quite a good driver. And I love driving (unless heavy snowfall is involved). My husband and I drive equally, splitting up who ‘gets to’ or ‘has to’ drive by taking turns. When we drive to a forgein city, I do best behind the wheel and he’s a great navigator for me. It works.

  49. Katherine responded on 22 Jul 2012 at 6:03 pm #

    My father always drove, mum hated driving unless it was on quiet country highways. She never felt she was a good driver and was never any good with directions. Getting the gps was probably the best disicion they ever made for their marriage! I think that one of the great things about marriage is that you can help each other with things. Each of you has different skills and that should be celebrated! When one partners feels they have to do everything in the marriage, I think that is where problems can start.

  50. Karin responded on 29 Jul 2012 at 5:08 pm #

    My dad mostly drives – because he’s the person that gets carsick the easiest (my mother can read in the car, a skill of which I am jealous).

    Also, my boyfriend drives when it’s the two of us, but that is because I am working at getting my lisence. I failed the first time, but I’ve learnt from you that that’s ok.

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