Confessions of a Front Seat Rider (Gasp!)

Posted by on Jun 3, 2009 in Blog Posts | 0 comments

“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.”
– Psalm 141:3 (NASB)

(Disclaimer: Rob is a good driver. I am a fearful passenger.)

Today’s post is a bit of a challenge to write because it reveals something of my character as a wife. It’s not good.

Hi, my name is Amy. I gasp with fear when I ride with my husband…I gasp far too often.

I get on his nerves when I do this. Fortunately, I do not think I am alone and that if I were to start a support group, many other women would participate. That is still no excuse, however, for justifying what I am about to tell you…

Rob and I had much time together in the car last week. My skill for “helping” him drive has been honed for almost 23 years of marriage and six years of dating prior to marriage. My wifely critique of his driving first began as attempting to put on the brakes that do not exist on the floorboard of the passenger side of the car. It was invisible, silent, and developed my calf muscles. He did not know. The longer we dated, the more comfortable I became with being obvious and not secretive about being a fearful passenger in his car.

From that the dashboard tap, pat, and bang developed. Surely you are familiar with these. The passenger (me) sees a car pull out in front of the car in which she is riding. Fearful that the driver (husband, Rob) of her car does not see this potential wreck about to happen, she proceeds to tap, with a couple of fingers, the dashboard in hopes that the driver will gently tap his brakes and thus, prevent an accident from happening. If the tap is not helpful, then the next time a similar situation occurs, the passenger resorts to patting the dash with all the fingers of one hand. Finally, if that does not help or she has lost trust in the driver she will resort to banging both hands on the dashboard and making an audible sound. Eventually, the passenger bypasses the tap and pat and just goes all out with the bang every time.

These maneuvers can also be done on the armrests situated on either side of the passenger.

Once these have been tested and found to be helpful or not and as the relationship has developed, more audibles are thrown into the mix. I have been known to utter the following things:

  • “Do they see us?” – which really means, “Do you see that car that is about to pull over in our lane and kill me?” At this point I will remind Rob that one of my spiritual gifts is prophecy and that I could tell that was going to happen. Of course, that is not the correct interpretation and/or use of that particular gift in that situation. Shame on me.
  • “Which way are you going?” – which really means, “Why are you going this way? I know a faster/better/safer way to get there and I can’t believe you have chosen this route.” It can also mean, “I think you missed the turn and now we will have to backtrack.”
  • “Oh look, nobody’s in the HOV lane.” – which means, “There is more than one person in this car. Why aren’t we in the HOV lane zooming along rather than sitting in this congestion in Atlanta?”
  • I have been known to also take a hymn and sing it with its original words or new words that express my fear of being in an accident in the car. “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” is an excellent choice when confronted by a situation that lends itself to fear of being in an accident.

The general gist of all those comments when they occur is that in those moments, I think I am a better driver than he is and that I should be driving us to our destination. Instead, I am driving him CRAZY!

That’s how today’s Scripture fits in to this. When I get in the car as the passenger I need to start uttering that Scripture in my head and living it out by keeping my critical mouth shut. Sometimes, I will let one of the boys sit up front and position myself in the back seat with a good book. My visibility is restricted and thus, my mouth.

The latest episode occurred last week as we drove to pick up his car. He proceeded to stop at a “dangerous” intersection. The sign a few feet before the stop sign warned that this was a dangerous intersection. I wish I had not seen the sign because it might as well have said, “Amy, this is where you are going to die.” My heart began racing. A few feet later, he stopped. It was not a complete stop and he coasted. Cars were coming. They were yards away, but I interpreted their distance as closer than they actually were…you know, kind of like looking into the side-view mirrors; but this was the front windshield. They were the actual size they were and the actual safe distance from our car. But, I did not set a guard over my mouth in that moment.

I inhaled.

I gasped! I gasped loudly!

It got all over my man when I did that. “Why did you do that? You scare me so bad the way you react to my driving sometimes!”

My response?

I said, “Well, when you think you’re about to die, you take your last breath! I was determined to make my last breath a good one.”

We drove in silence for a few yards before he responded with laughter and said, “Now that was a good one. You’re so cute. You ought to put that in the blog.”

And I did.

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