Stubborn Drivers

Stubborn Drivers is a story contributed by Linda Jenkins, Freelance Writer, from Snohomish County. This article is published in the Fall/Winter 2023 Edition of Vibrant Senior Options Resource Guide Magazine

Now that my husband, Ron, and I are in our 70s, we know each other so well that we can finish each other’s thoughts and sentences. It can be downright amusing. But when it comes to driving, for some reason, we can each transform from Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde. (Remember that classic book by Robert Louis Stevenson?)

Directionally Challenged

I am the first to admit I am directionally challenged, but it’s aggravating when Ron points it out.

Some years ago, I drove out of Redmond and got lost. Due to lots of traffic, I shot off in the wrong lane on 405 and ended up in nowhere. (I had resisted smart phones with GPS up to that time.) I found myself in a rural area and drove for miles.

Finally, discouraged, I called Ron.

He said, “Well, where are you?” 

“I have no idea. That’s why I called you.”

“Well, what do you see? Any signs?”

“No, no signs out here. Barns. Cows.”

“Cows? Well, which direction are you going?”

“I have no idea.”

He said, “Well, where is the sun? Are you heading east, west, north, or south?”

“I don’t see the sun. There are clouds here.”

Sounding exasperated, he said, “This is what happens when you don’t have GPS!”

“Well, I don’t have one, so now what?”

“Keep going, and you will eventually run into something—either the mountains or Puget Sound!” He hung up. He was no help at all. I finally got home.

What's the Rush?

On the other hand, Ron can be very annoying when he is driving. He leaves large gaps between our car and the car ahead. That drives me insane. “Pull up, Ron! Pull up! Get closer. We have a long line of people behind us!”

“I’m going the speed limit! It says 40 here.”

“I can see that! But you are letting all these other drivers in ahead of us. It will take forever to get there.”
He says, “So what’s the rush?”

Stubborn Drivers and a Scenic Tour

Another point of contention is that I like routine. Ron, however, is more spontaneous. We might head home, but end up out in the woods somewhere. I get annoyed and say, “This isn’t the route home. Where are we going?”

“I’m taking a scenic tour. Look at all the beautiful trees out here.”

“We have looked at trees out here for years, Ron. When you’ve seen one evergreen, you’ve seen them all. Let’s just head home, OK? I’m starved!” It will still take a long time to get home. I fume.

Driving a Stick Shift

Another conversation that we repeat a lot is about driving a stick shift.

Ron keeps telling me I need to learn to drive a stick, but I resist big time. We have old cars. One has a stick shift. “What’s going to happen if I’m driving and have a heart attack, and you need to drive?” he asks.

“I will use my phone to call for help.”

He will snort. “I will be deader than dead by the time someone gets there. I need to teach you to drive a stick.”

“No way Jose. I am just not interested.”

“Why are you so stubborn?” he barks.

“Look,” I reply reasonably, “when your car wears out, we can buy an automatic. Problem solved.”
He shakes his head. End of conversation.

Stubborn Driver - Just as Me

Ron can be stubborn as me. He hates to ask for directions. Back when we were in the pre-smart phone era, we were supposed to meet friends at a new restaurant. We drove and drove.

Finally, I said, “Ron, I think we’re lost.”

“We are not lost! I know where I am going!”

More time went by. He kept looking out the windows.

I said again, “I think we’re lost. How about stopping and asking someone for directions?”

He turned beet red. “No! I know where I’m going!” We kept driving. Now we were late for our get-together.

“See,” I said. “We’re lost! There’s a man over there. Ask him.”

Ron reluctantly pulled over. He talked to the man, who said we were close. Ron screeched out of the lot, upset. We found the restaurant. As we entered, he turned to me and said, “I was not lost!”

“Right,” I said. “We were just taking a scenic tour.”

Linda Jinkens, Writer/Author
Snohomish County

Linda Jinkens is a freelance writer who enjoys bicycling, baking, and her five grandchildren. She has been freelancing for the last four years and has been published in many publications. She is also a former high school teacher. 

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