Driving Me Crazy
Here’s where we answer our our readers’ questions. Please don’t blame us if the suggestions don’t work for you. You’re the one taking advice from a donkey.
Dear Donkey and WifeMy husband often asks me to take a turn driving, but then he criticizes the way I drive the whole time. Why does he do this? What can I do?-Stuck at the Wheel
This is one of the few areas where I think the male mind may be as confusing as the female mind. On occasion I also ask my wife to drive, even knowing that I will have to sit frustrated in the passenger seat, unable to control my comments. Perhaps I can explain some of the things guys think about while they drive. I don’t think you should have to alter your style of driving, but this insight might help you see where he is coming from.
When my wife drives, I can’t understand why she’ll stop behind a line of 5 cars at a light instead of pulling up to the front of the open lane next to us. Whenever I spot a wide open lane, I feel like a special invitation from the heavens has been delivered to me, and I humbly accept the privilege to sit at the front of the line. Perhaps you could relate this to a shopping experience. Imagine you have just spent an hour grocery shopping with your kids. You’ve endured whining, begging for candy, and fights over who is sitting where in the cart. You finally make it to the checkout area; exhausted, you can’t wait to get out of there. Of course all of the lanes have long lines, and you shudder at the thought of controlling your children for another hour while the incompetent cashier fumbles to open little plastic bags. Just then, the light at the next checkout lane turns on, and a fresh, bright looking clerk beckons you—of course you rush to be first in line, in front of all the jealous onlookers. Who would not jump at the same chance on the road?
My wife also doesn’t appreciate the fine art of merging into traffic or changing lanes. She gets very flustered and will let anybody who bullies her go first. We have missed innumerable exits because of this timidity. As a guy, I relish in the opportunity to merge into traffic. It’s like a hot knife cutting through a block of butter, and it gets better as the number of lanes I just cut through increases. It reminds me of when I played Frogger, and the logs would line up just right, allowing me to hop across the whole screen. What could be better? Is it difficult for females to relate since they don’t play video games as much as men? Maybe you can relate it to changing a diaper. Picture the wipe going across the baby, slurping up everything in one fell swoop. Wouldn’t you want traffic merging to feel just like that? Anyway, I hope this insight helps you get a glimpse into our minds and why we think the way we do. As for what you can do, I suggest identifying times when having you drive is not optimal. For example, don’t drive when you are on your way to an appointment or to the movies. If you are like us, you will be running late and your husband will be whining all the way.
I feel your pain, dear reader. I have been “stuck at the wheel” on many occasions–stuck hearing about what lane I should have gotten into, how I need to drive faster and stop slower, how I ought to be responding a little less courteously to the driver who just cut me off. I usually just sit, trying to figure out what got me into the driver’s seat in the first place. It typically happens when I pick my husband up from work, and thoughtlessly stay behind the wheel, rather than sliding over to the much more relaxing passenger seat. Sometimes it is because I have been specifically asked to drive, like when he needs to work in the car or is about to fall asleep.
Whatever got me into the driver’s seat, though–the only thing that works for me is to repeat my motto: I would be more than happy to let you drive. I usually communicate this motto verbally, but at times drastic measures have to be taken. Like the night at the Blockbuster parking lot. Apparently I turned into the lot rather sharply, and apparently donkeys don’t like the cars they are riding in to bounce over curbs. After being reprimanded, I slammed on the brakes and exited the vehicle, leaving the car running in the middle of the parking lot with the driver’s door opened. Unfortunately, while I was simply trying to communicate, “I would be more than happy to let you drive,” my husband took my actions to say: “I don’t care if the person behind us runs into us, and I also want you to be forced to get out of the car, walk around to the driver’s seat, get in, and park the car yourself. After that you better come in and apologize. And you can bet that we are going home with a chick flick tonight.” I guess it’s true what they say–marriage is all about communication.