Nancy Roman

Driving Me Crazy

I love to go for a drive.

But I don’t love being the driver. I like being the passenger. (In the front seat of course. I’m not that crazy about throwing up.)

I like when my husband drives and I can:

– File my nails
– Check my email
– Write a blog in my head
– Watch myself in the side-view mirror
– Look in the windows of houses (my favorite night-time activity)

I also don’t like to drive because I don’t want the inherent criticism. Not that I am a bad driver. I’m a good driver. (I’m a bad parker, but that’s different.) It’s just that if you sit in the passenger seat, I think you are compelled by God or History to state your opinion of the driver’s skills. And I would rather be the criticizer than the criticizee.

Case in point: One day last year I was driving to my mother’s with Guess Who in the passenger seat. My mother has lived in that house for forty-six years. I’m a little familiar with it. We come to the intersection about three blocks from the house when my husband (oops…the ‘nameless person’ in the passenger seat) says, “Take a right.”

I rest my case.

Anyhow, I love it when my husband drives.

And he’s a good driver AND a good parker.

Except for a few little things.

It takes him five minutes to leave the garage. Everything needs to be adjusted, even if he’s the one who drove last. Then we back out. Then we sit while the garage door comes down. (Because maybe it could go back up by itself. And that DOES happen. Once in every million times.) And although he may be able to multi-task while the door is coming down, it’s not likely that he will. So THEN, he takes off his glasses, and opens his glass case and puts them away, and THEN he takes out his sunglasses case and takes out his sunglasses. THEN he cleans his sunglasses. THEN he puts them on. THEN he puts both cases away. And THEN (practically instantaneously) OFF we go!

Except…the inability to multi-task also makes going somewhere new a little complicated. Because if we have to put an address in the GPS, then that comes next. THEN…yippee…OFF we go! And along the way, if traffic is heavy and we (that’s the “Royal We” here) are not sure of the exit, we have to turn the radio off, because ‘We’ cannot watch for an exit and listen to a tune at the same time.

And speaking of directions, he certainly doesn’t take any from me.

Like the other night. We are coming home from my mother’s, this time with him behind the wheel, and due to an accident, we have to take a detour. So after we take this detour, he pulls over. Because he needs to turn on the GPS so he can find his way. Let me reiterate that we are in my hometown. Where I grew up.

He also likes to drive a bit centered. Centered as in the middle of the road. He tells me (because of course it is my duty to tactfully point this out, by saying something like, “Jesus Christ, you are in the middle of the road!”) that this is just an optical illusion from the passenger side. And yet, yesterday on a nice September drive, we were on a country road that had reflectors in the center line for nighttime driving. And we went thumpety, thumpety, thumpety, as we hit the reflectors. Reflectors that are in the center line. It seemed like a pretty noisy optical illusion.

And we may just slightly disagree on music. We have Sirius, and he likes “The 50’s on 5” and I like “The 60’s on 6”.  (To you younger folks, if you are thinking about marrying someone a bit older than you, you may want to give some consideration to music preferences before you commit. Just saying.) But in our twenty years of marriage, we have worked this out. We take turns. Which is fair. As long as I have more turns than him. (And he was around in the sixties. So he should LIKE it.)

But I have noticed a little something weird about the way he drives when the radio is on. When the music is fast and has a lot of drums… like when “Wipeout” was playing on “The 60’s on 6” (it was my turn), he drove a LOT faster. Doing my duty, I gently pointed this out. He glanced at me like I was crazy. But I saw him grin a few seconds later.

And excuse me, but I need to return to the non-multi-tasking, non-advice taking, GPS-needing traits one more time. Because there is a plus side too. When we took the exit off the highway yesterday to get onto our scenic reflector-imbedded road, the GPS  (on its nice easy-to-read screen that pops out of the dash) shows us this big white arrow pointing to the right. And Guess Who gets into the left-turn lane.

And it felt really good to holler “TAKE A RIGHT!”


  1. maryisidra

    Sounds like The Nameless One is a twin with My Other Half 🙂


  2. pharphelonus

    I never criticize my wife’s driving, but when she is a passenger, she might as well be a behind the wheel instructor with me taking my first spin. LOL


    • Never??? You NEVER criticize your wife’s driving? Are you, like, Gandhi, or something?


      • pharphelonus

        Nope. There’s no point, which is a point completely lost on her. LOL


  3. I have your husband’s affliction. If I need to figure out where I’m going, the radio cannot be on.


  4. This is great! i can identify on many levels, and it gave me a good laugh this morning. Thanks!


  5. I anticipate a ton of responses to this post, most thinking that you were driving with our husbands…:-)


    • Yup, once again, it looks like they are all the same. It must be embedded in the Y chromosome.


  6. Are you sure “The Nameless One” and “He-Who” are not the same person? This is an exact description of how He-Who drives. Well, except for the fact he is under no circumstances a “good driver” and he never parks in the garage.


  7. Hilarious! I am telling you that our husbands are brothers separated at birth!


  8. Oh, I so relate to this hilarious post! My You Know Who is usually lost, so I can’t concentrate on my nails. Ah well. LOL! And your drawings are absolutely perfect!


  9. Your husband and my husband would get along famously! Although mine has finally figured out that I am good with navigation and directions. It only took 11 years of marriage for him to realize it! 😉


  10. Love this! I, too, love to look in the windows of houses at night. Guess we’re closet voyeurs…? And, you may want to suggest cruise control to your hubby during those really fast songs….


    • He has cruise control on… he takes it off so he can speed up for the fast songs.


  11. My great-grandmother tried to teach me to use the middle of the road on purpose. “It’s the best part of the road. No one ever drives there.” She only had one accident that I knew of, but I’m sure her guardian angels were driven to drink. Thanks for the laugh!


    • I love that!


    • There’s a certain twisted logic to that. and your great-grandmother must have been my husband’s driving teacher!


  12. I laughed all the way through this. 🙂 Thanks for the chuckle.


  13. This may be my favorite of all your posts.

    Someone I once knew said “women all marry the same man; they just screw on a different-looking head.” It must be true because “if traffic is heavy and we (that’s the “Royal We” here) are not sure of the exit, we have to turn the radio off, because ‘We’ cannot watch for an exit and listen to a tune at the same time.”

    Actually if we are within 5 miles of our exit, WE must turn off the radio, no matter who is driving … the things WE put up with!


    • And I thought he was the only one!


      • No. And it is always in the middle of a great song. Oy.


  14. I loved this! Before I married my husband would call me when I was driving between my house in Houston and my parents in Burnett. It is very long drive;

    “What are you making?” (Bahamian for how fast are you going)
    “Oh, about 65.” (I lied, but he is from an island where the fastest you can ever ever drive is about 50 and so that seems very fast).

    Then we married.

    We were driving from Houston to my parents house and I was doing my usual 80 or so on the same stretch of road. He peeked over and I thought he was going to turn white, pretty difficult, but close. He pondered this for a bit.

    “Do you always drive that fast?”
    “So you lied?”
    “Blah, Blah, Blah”, he droned on for at least 5 minutes.
    “I have had a drivers license longer than you have been alive, shut up and enjoy the ride. Maybe if you are nice I will let you play with the radio.”

    Snarky, right? But for a very long time he could not drive properly with the aggressive Texas drivers. He made me crazy and I was a terrible passenger. Now, not so much. We are both terrible passengers. I would rather he drive and I will simply either read or sleep. Thankfully, despite our age difference we enjoy mostly the same music with a few differences which we respectfully avoid in the car.


  15. Teresa Cleveland Wendel

    Oh my! I SO loved this! It reminded of me in the passenger seat peeping into windows when we drive at night. H2 is a busdriver, so he’s a good driver too–but oh, the gyrations he must go to before we embark on a journey! Thanks for the smile.


    • And I didn’t even mention how many times he checks all the locks….


  16. I love being the passenger for exactly the same reasons! Very funny – because I can completely relate!


  17. I don’t think the turn the radio off to think is so strange. When I am home I have to turn off the radio if I think I smell something–like smoke or cat poop or something. My nose needs quiet to function at it’s best.


  18. driving me crazy. yes. i can totally relate. i would much rather b*tch at hubby than have him b*tch at me.


  19. Love this! I hate driving with my husband in the car. I can feel his body trying to drive. We had free Sirius for 90 days when I bought my new car and we tried it on our summer trip; I was so bored with it by the end of the trip I didn’t renew it when the free subscription expired. I’d just as soon play CDs on the road and listen to local stations in town.


  20. Talk about hysterical! I understand perfectly. Lucky you for enjoying the passenger side to file your nails and whatnot. I’m always the driver. Once in a blue moon, when I AM the passenger, you have to put a blindfold on me because everything the driver does is too fast or not the way I would do it. I wish this was not so.

    Love the post. Fabulous picture.


  21. That was hilarious! I had a new group of friends I was going on a trip with, to a place I had been HUNDREDS of times, and I said I knew how to get there, but the woman driving had a GPS and wanted to use it. I was irked, but said nothing, being with a new group (they couldn’t know the freak I am too soon…), but I realized what bothered me was that it felt like I was telling her I knew how to get home, and she still insisted on using a GPS. I mused later that many a GPS has given directions into a lake, or gully, etc., while I never have! Thanks for a great post! Jerri


  22. Laurie

    When I lived in E KY I got stopped in Lynch for driving on the lane divider. The officer was very kind, though, and rather cute. I love driving cause I get to listen to CDs but I turn them off if I am hitting heavy traffic, navigating hairpin turns or at a point when I need to start looking at exits and Google printouts. I do not like riding shotgun because then I’m expected to navigate and I am a terrible navigator – I can’t tell someone to turn someplace until I can see the street sign and by the time I can see the sign there is not enough time to get that information out of my mouth and still give the person enough time to act on the information. Much better, I find, to drive by myself, look up the directions myself, memorize them (or write them out concisely, on a smaller piece of paper and tape it to the glove compartment), watch for exit signs and street signs and react to those signs. And if I miss something and have to turn around (as I often do) I won’t get criticized. I know my navigating will get criticized so I don’t.

    I enjoyed this piece immensely. I love your descriptions. I can see your chauffeur going through his motions. Differences in preferred music styles are inevitable in relationships where there is any kind of age difference.


  23. I love Elyse’s comment … “women all marry the same man; they just screw on a different-looking head” – that is SO true (especially when it comes to their ‘driving skills’). My husband only ONCE criticized my driving (although he would, of course, deny it was criticism – he was merely pointing out that I wasn’t doing things the right – i.e., HIS – way). The next time we got in the car with me behind the wheel (a rare occurrence, thankfully), I pulled out my Shania Twain “Up” CD and popped it in (much to his chagrin – he says listening to music while driving is a distraction), then selected a specific track and told pay attention to the lyrics. He did – and he’s never opened his mouth in the car while I’m driving again. The song? “In My Car, I’ll Be The Driver” (if you don’t know it, you definitely need to check it out).


  24. Ruth

    Better late then never on this comment…I was just dying reading this because YES, this sounds exactly like my husband also. Unlike you though, I love to drive so we can actually get where we are going in a reasonable time…thanks for the reminder to laugh instead of scream!


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