Jimbo’s World (Issue #2) You Drive me to drink and I’ll Buy the Gas
Having previously outlined my troubles with the electro-magnetic Buick, I thought I’d stick to this automotive theme a little longer. You see, Jimbo’s World revolves around a whole lot of driving –to be more precise - taxi driving. We are a one car family (retirement does have some disadvantages) which makes yours truly the designated shuttle service for everyone else. After all, as I am so often reminded by family members, I’m the guy who’s retired and therefore has a lot of time on his hands.
But, as I grow older, I also find myself becoming the guy I so often directed my own rage towards. Think of the Senior Citizen driver you drove behind this morning on the way to work.
Now road rage is something I can identify with because I’ve witnessed a lot of it. Good old Uncle Joe is a prime example. Driving along with this 74 year old native of North Carolina is like a joy ride with Don Rickles. The barbs, the put downs and those hand signals demonstrating his angst, all transform into a kind of verbal terrorism. Even the younger folk in my circle can cuss and gesture with the best of them. A case in point is my eldest son’s best friend, Dustin, who is know to chase down the perpetrators of his rage. I remember the tale of the 80 year old gentleman he accosted at the side of the road. Thank God for adult diapers.
Fortunately, the road rage I illicit is at a different and far more serene level. For instance, when I’m driving too slowly, my wife often rocks back and forth in some kind of giddy-up mode. She’s also been known to put her hand on my knee and firmly press the accelerator down. More commonly she’ll say, “What’s the matter? Is there something wrong with the vehicle?”That’s her universal verbal signal for, “GIDDY-UP!”Sometimes I’ll say, “I just hate those tailgaters!”The love of my life will respond, “If you were driving the speed limit there’d be no need for anyone to tailgate!”
I think you get the picture.
My daughter has her own techniques for gently enunciating her displeasure. I refer to it as, “The back seat driver in the passenger seat syndrome”. My cute little girl, who’s been driving for all of three years, becomes a narrator/driving instructor as she critiques my abilities and disabilities in equal measures.
Her most common complaint is revealed in the following dialogue.
“Why did you put your turn signal on, Dad?”
“Well, I want to give the cars behind me (read tailgaters) plenty of warning that I’m about to turn!”
“Dad, there are no cars behind you and you’re going to turn a way up there!” Meghan signals this by jabbing her finger dangerously close to the windshield.
“Well, I’m just being careful, I guess,” I reply.
“Dad, don’t you know people get pissed because they’re not sure if you’re turning into . . . like . . . say that driveway over there.”
“No worries, honey, I don’t even know the person lives there!”
The other day when we were returning home from town she threw out this little gem.
“You know, Dad, you can turn on a red light.”(She’s obviously in a hurry) I guess she wanted to give me a heads up regarding the laws of Ontario, considering we were at least a full block from reaching that light. Plenty of time to “get –er-done”, I’m thinking.
So I say to her, “Sweetie, that’s why I have my turn signal on, duh!”
“Dad, for the hundredth time, you don’t need to signal this friggin’early. . . and why are you driving so slowly! GEEEEEEZ! We’ll never get home!”
Indeed, the daughter whom I taught to drive, is now telling me, the instructor, how to drive. The Lion King (Remember our dog’s name is Pumba) would call this the Circle of Life, I’m thinking.
Usually these driving complaints range from me driving too slowly, not overtaking slow vehicles, leaving my “brights” on at night or not parking the vehicle in a straight nor timely manner between the lines in the mall parking lot.
“Ah, you might want to straighten her out,” my good wife often chides.
The strongest argument in support of my driving habits is, “I was taught to drive defensively!”The trouble, I’ve discovered, is that my defensive driving techniques seem to bring out the “offensive/aggressive” side of those sharing the roadway and/or passenger compartment with me.
The only good thing that’s happened recently is that I got my first speeding ticket in July. But don’t get too excited. I got busted driving 50 mph in a 40 mph zone. That’s not exactly NASCAR worthy. But, this has given me ammunition for the “driving too slowly” complaint.
“Hey!”I’ll smugly suggest. “You don’t want me to get a second ticket and have our insurance rates sky rocket. Do you?”
So, if you find yourself driving in Southern Ontario and you see a short little grey haired gentleman in glasses, driving defensively, with his turn signal flashing, please be kind to him, and most of all, be patient. It could be yours truly, pacing himself accordingly, and enjoying his well deserved retirement. After all, “I worked a very long time and paid the taxes that built these roads, dammit!”