I admit to being a nervous driver. It started in high school when my driving instructor used to grab my clenched fist off the steering wheel to get me to relax. It’s a good thing he had a brake on his side too. Lampposts make very odd hood ornaments.
Then there’s the 23 years I spent in New York City. NOT driving. You don’t need a car in the Big Apple. Especially in winter. I still have visions of shoveling my kindly-donated 1960s-something Buick boat out after the avalanche, er, snowstorm of ’85.
As I stood on its snow-covered hood lifting teaspoon after teaspoon of snow off, the guy that drove by, opened his window and shouted “good luck, lady!” was treated to a newly-invented expletive.
After three parking tickets, a bout of shoveling-induced bronchitis and one dead battery, I finally got it out, and I sold that beast.
So here I am, now, in Rochester, where I try to avoid rush hour. People from metropolitan areas like NYC laugh at our idea rush hour. In their minds, Rochester Rush Hour is to NYC Rush Hour as a Venus Flytrap is to Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors.
What they don’t realize is that the very same people who will start up a cordial conversation across the frozen foods aisle in Wegmans will pass you on both sides, doing 80 in a 45 mph zone.
Since sensible truck drivers avoid NYC highways like the plague, I bet most have never had the thrill of playing highway hopscotch with a truck. My personal favorite is the pickup that melts metal as he spreads past on the shoulder.
My husband handles all of this much better than me. I tell him it’s because he missed his calling as a jet fighter pilot.
Every morning that I do have to drive during rush hour, I steel myself as I get in my car. I turn on my classical music, do deep breathing exercises, and back carefully out of the drive, feeling confident, competent and Zenfully-relaxed. That usually lasts past one church, one hospital, one Tim Hortons and two stop signs…until I hit the stop light that boasts its own 911 location code.
That’s when I wonder if there’s any money in publishing a dictionary of invented expletives.
Written and originally published in Beyond the Nest’s 9.6.18 newsletter. Click here to subscribe to the weekly newsletter featuring an editorial and loads of things to do in the Greater Rochester region.