So the two of us are driving in the car to go out to lunch. It's a rare moment in time that it's just the two of us, so rare in fact, that I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t accompanied by Tall, Short, and The Husband.
Huh, this is kind of weird, I think, back to the old days, when the two of us were first introduced and we were virtually inseparable.
“Where should we go to lunch do you think?” I query.
“Ummm, well, I know that you love Natalia’s, so I guess that’s fine with me, too.”
“Are you sure?” I ask tentatively. The last time I picked the restaurant, he had a negative experience and I got to hear about it the entire drive home.
“Yeah, I like Natalia’s.”
So it’s decided. I’m stopped at the light and my mind is already wandering to my future dessert choice..... …..mmmmm………panne cotta is really good. Or I could get a piece of chocolate cake, how can you go wrong with cake? I do like her chocolate mousse……… maybe a lemon tarte?
“Hey! The light’s green! Wake up!”
“Geesh, okay, you don’t have to yell at me,” I respond.
"And will you change the radio station? I don't really like this song."
"Uh, okay," I relent, fiddling with the dials. Since when is he so particular about the music selection?
I drive forward and start to change lanes.
“What are you doing?!? You didn’t even look to make sure there were no cars in that area,” he admonishes.
“What's your problem? I'm a great driver. You don’t need to tell me how to drive,” I reply tensely.
“Looks like I do,” he says under his breath.
“What was that?”
“I said, ‘Looks like I do,’” he repeats, like a bratty child.
“Sweetheart," I begin sarcastically, "You don’t have to talk to me that way.” What's wrong with him, I wonder. Is he stressed out about something?
“Well, it’s just that you’re not paying attention to the other cars and now you’re deaf too?” he baits.
“That’s it. You know what? I don’t even want to have lunch with you now. Let’s just go home.” Now I’m angry.
“I’m sorry,” he says sheepishly. He knows he's in the wrong.
We drive a few more blocks in silence.
“You just ran that stop sign by the way,” he can’t help himself.
“Do you want to drive?” I sneer.
“Yeah, actually, I DO! I WOULD LOVE TO DRIVE! PULL OVER AND LET ME DRIVE!” he smiles for the first time.
“Are you crazy? I’m not letting you drive, and besides we’re almost there now.” I roll my eyes.
“Why did you say I could drive then? Are you playing a game with me?”
“Honestly, Honey, I've had enough of your non-stop critique of my driving. It’s rude. I’m a grown woman who's been driving for many years before you came into my life. How do you think I passed my driver’s test without you sitting there instructing me anyway? Huh?” I'm ranting, which is definitely ruining the whole “happy vibe” I was going for with this lunch plan in the first place.
“Fine.” He looks out the window.
I pull into the parking lot just as another car is pulling out. It’s a tight space to maneuver. Just when I think I'm done with his soundtrack of back-seat driving, he pipes up again.
He shrieks, “You almost hit that car! You are a bad driver. You know what, Mommy? I’m going to have to tell Pop what a bad driver you really are.”
("Missing Other Vehicles")