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Take Me Home, Country Road

You know you’ve turned into a grandmother (or, more specifically, my grandmother) when suddenly the act of driving becomes a ‘thing’. Not regular city driving – puh-lease, road rage aside, that’s a piece of cake… Unless a very good or very bad tune comes on the radio and you need to fiddle around with controls and lose your concentration and…wait, where was I. See? Here and on the road.

No, city driving it is not. The ‘thing’ is the not-that-new and not-that-irrational fear: highways at night. Or in the rain. Lord help us all if it’s the 1-2 punch of a rainy night. God forbid poo poo poo. See? My grandmother.

I was recently invited to a friend’s cottage. For the day (I hate going to other peoples’ cottages for any longer than a few hours. More on that another time). We organized everything – when I’d come, what I’d bring blah de blah blah. Except on the morning of, I woke up to news… Weather news. Rainy weather news. I called my friend who totally understood if I wanted to cancel – turns out she, too, has these rainy road issues. But no, I decided to be a grown-up and hit the road – rain or shine. Besides, while it was torrential up by the lake, it was just a little misty here at home.

So off we went, me and my baby boys. On the road again. Singing along to the always cheesy, yet somehow entertaining songs of my sons’ Music Together class disc. After we’d heard “We’re on the way to grandpa’s farm” in Spanish for the fourth time I noticed the rain coming down. Hard. No, make that really hard. I took a deep breath and soldiered on. I was a grown-up woman. A mother for Chrissakes. What if there was an emergency and it was raining? I wouldn’t drive? COME ON.

Well of course it was soon pouring. Cats ‘n dogs and every other animal from Abuelo’s bloody farm. And I was terrified. White-knuckled, jaw-clenched, might-just-lose-it terrified. I could barely see in front of me. Slowing to a crawl, I slid over to the right lane (my grandmother). I leaned forward, trying to peer over the steering wheel (my grandmother). And when cars whizzed past me leaving me, quite literally, in their wake, I cursed them. But not my usual potty mouthed swear words. Tame ones. Y’know, bastard. Idiot. Those kinds. The kind of words – you guessed it – my grandmother would use.

Of course when I looked in my rear view and could only see massive trucker headlight I truly lost my shit. Then the worst-case-scenarios began. And I’m pretty sure mine were far more brutal than anything my grandmother could dream up. Beyond the “what if I crash” and into “what if I crash and I can’t speak and someone abducts my kids” kind of nightmares.

God forbid poo poo poo.

Needless to say I made it there. And back. And, determined to be really brave I even drove home. In the dark. No way was I becoming some old lady about it. OK, and no way was I missing dinner. But I made it. And I’d do it all over again. Bring on the rain. Hard as you can. Moonless, foggy night? No problemo. Like my grandmother, I think I’ll be able to see more clearly… navigating from the passenger seat.
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July 18, 2006   No Comments

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Rage Against the Machine

Friday, May 12, 2006

RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE

The sun is shining. The flowers are in bloom. Yes, spring has sprung and summer is on its way. In other words: it’s construction season. And in my neighbourhood, it’s everywhere. New homes, new decks, new gardens. Old houses, old sidewalks, old potholes. It’s not pretty. And the ugliest of all? The traffic that accompanies it. Yep, I’m talkin’ Road Rage.

I’m no commuter, so I’m not as afflicted as I probably would be – if I strayed from my ever-shrinking quadrant. Sure, I’ve been known to let the odd expletive slip out. But only sometimes. And I’ve found myself getting hot under the collar if someone stops at a yellow light (c’mon, you had time!) or slows for no reason (get a map!). And of course I can’t ignore the bizarre correlation between drivers of a certain height and bad drivers. It’s true! No offense to those who are shorter in stature, but next time you’re behind a particularly annoying car, note where the top of the driver’s head hits. Maybe they’re slouching. Or, not. Anyway…lately I’ve tried a new tack – ignoring. As my grandmother used to say, “it’s faster than walking”. So I’ve tried taking deep breaths and letting any potential road rage situations roll gently off my shoulders.

But it ain’t working. Au contraire. It’s backfiring.

So far, I’ve been called a c**t (sorry, this is a family-friendly blog) because I failed to signal. A bitch (I can say that) for going through an intersection – when it was my turn. And today I pulled up a stop sign around the corner from my house and was practically accosted. Honestly!

Some guy signaled for me to roll down my window. Like a fool, I did. He proceeded to berate me for going 60 in a 40 zone. What the hell? Who was this guy? Was he an X Men mutant with a penchant for radar? I don’t think so. Instead of zooming away, I engaged him: How do you know how fast I was going? Yeah? But how do you know? The block is so minute, my non-performance car wouldn’t even make it to 60 klicks. Raising his voice, he told me there were 30 kids living on the block and I was a danger on the road. It was all I could do to not let my potty mouth get the better of me. Instead, I figured, I’d show him! And took off as fast as my little car could carry me. Bite my dust, scumbag!

I didn’t get too far. As I said, they’re short blocks. And then I panicked. What if he took my license plate? Tracked me down to make a citizen’s arrest? What if I am a dangerous driver? I know I can be a little flighty sometimes, especially if it’s pissing down with rain or a good tune comes on the radio. But can’t everybody?

Next weekend is a long one. Then first of the summer. And when summer comes to Canada, Canada hits the streets. In their cars. So buckle up people, it’s gonna be a hot one. It’s gonna f**king rage….

May 12, 2006   No Comments

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