The truth is that, despite my penis, I don’t like cars and I hate driving. It’s boring, and it’s cramped, and dealing with the idiots on the road is a pain in the ass. Plus, there’s nowhere I want to go. If I don’t want to go anywhere and I don’t like the act of getting there, what’s the point? There isn’t one.
I’ve also never changed a tire or oil, or even opened a glove compartment.
Actually, I have done the last thing once or twice.
There are two reasons I insist on driving when the only other person in the car is my wife. Want me to list them? No? Well, I’m going to do it anyway. If you didn’t want to read my ramblings you probably shouldn’t have bought this book, and you definitely shouldn’t have made it this far into it.
The first is that my wife gets nervous every time a truck passes her on the highway, and every time she gets nervous, she nearly drives us off the road. Seriously, in eleven years of marriage we’re averaging two close call collisions into the midway per season. It’s amazing there aren’t multiple shards of windshield embedded in my brain yet.
The second reason I don’t like to let my wife behind the wheel is because she seems to think she knows exactly where she’s going, when in truth, she knows very little. The problem is that she’s lived in southern California her entire life. She thinks she knows every secret back road, shortcut, and quicker route home that there is to know. She thinks she’s smarter than the GPS and the various satellites feeding the GPS its information. That’s right, she thinks she’s smarter than the billion dollar computers floating in space.
This is a woman who isn’t yet sure how to empty the trash can on her laptop.
On this particular occasion, when my wife opened her hand, motioned for the keys, and said to me, “I know a shortcut. It’ll get us home in half the time,” she seemed oblivious to just how silly she sounded.
I knew she was going to get us lost and she knew that I knew that she was going to get us lost. The car even knew she was going to get us lost and the keys clung to my palm like sticky candy to the grubby-fat palm of a pudgy baby.
Needless to say, I was reluctant. I tried to shoo her away. “No, it’s okay. It’s not like we’re in a hurry or anything. I’ve got it.”
“Stop it, Steven. Come on. Give me the keys.”
I should have shoved her over. That’s exactly what I should have done. I should have walloped her in the chest with both hands and slammed her to the pavement. When her skull hit the cement, it might have knocked her unconscious. Once she’d been neutralized, I could have rolled her into the trunk, drove us home, and saved us both the misery of what was to come.
Unfortunately, I did the exact opposite.
Her eyes narrowed and she motioned for the keys once again. “Come on, Steven. Give me the keys.” She meant business.
With a sigh and a shake of my head, I handed over the keys. I really need to start walloping people more.
We were on the highway for less than five minutes when she pulled off.
“Where are you going, hun?”
“It’s a shortcut. Trust me.”
Before continuing, I should mention that we were only half an hour away from our destination to begin with. We didn’t have a long trip ahead of us. We weren’t traversing the country by covered wagon and stopping at night to cook beans from a can and blast a buffalo in the face for protein. There wasn’t a chance that either of us was going to die of dysentery along the way. The car was air-conditioned. It was comfortable. There was a bag of fun-sized snickers in the back seat.
In a roundabout sort of way, the regular cut was actually a shortcut.
The wife wasn’t hearing it, though. She thought she knew a quicker way home and damn it she was going to take it!
Ten minutes into the journey it was fairly clear to the both of us that we were lost. The direct route the highway provided was a distant memory. Even if we had wanted to turn around and go back the way we came, we wouldn’t have been able too. We’d been wandering for too long and we’d past the point of no return.
I felt like I needed to say something. “We’re lost, aren’t we?”
I wasn’t buying it. A blind man with one deaf ear, the inability to speak, a pack of rodents living in his lower intestine, and wooden pegs where his arms should be wouldn’t have bought it. My wife is a terrible actress.
She was nervous. She wiped a bead of sweat from her face, tried her damndest to erase the look of utter confusion from her face, and turned on the radio. Some terrible 80s song began to play and she threw one hand into the air like she’d just stepped into the hottest club in town and she owned the place. “Alright! I love this song!”
I still wasn’t buying it. It was a distraction. She was trying to throw me off the scent and it wasn’t going to work. No one likes old Bananarama songs that much. Not even Bananarama.
Fifteen minutes later, the sun began to set. The car jumped and the road turned to gravel. Our tires were spitting dirt, and there were rocks banging against all of the car-stuff on the underside.
I think I heard a piston pop. I dunno what it was. Something popped.
Before I could say a word, my wife held up her hand and pointed her palm at my face. “Not a word, Steven! Don’t you dare say a word! The turn is right up here. Three more blocks and we’re there!”
My only problem was that there didn’t seem to be anything even vaguely resembling “blocks” where we were.
We passed by a fence that looked like it had been constructed in the early 20s from the bones of dead cowboys. I swear I saw a femur. There was a dead raccoon twisted in the barbed wire, binding them all together and blowing in the breeze like a pirate flag. It was a warning.
Five minutes later I spotted a rusted Port-A-Potty in the middle of an empty field. Rip Van Winkle himself peeked out from the door and flashed us the finger. I think I might have seen his junk.
When the sun dropped from the sky I began to get worried. We’d been four-wheeling through the backwoods of DeliveranceTown for nearly an hour. Sure, we hadn’t yet been kidnapped and butt raped by the locals, but it was bound to happen sooner or later. I’ve heard that hillbilly butt rape happens most often at night. Trust me on this. I read it in a pamphlet.
From the darkness outside, something howled. I can’t say for certain if it was a wild dog, or a wolf, or some poor, unsuspecting sap bent over the backdoor of a pickup truck getting his fudge packed more awkwardly than Lucy and Ethel at the chocolate factory. It was one of those things, though.
Something smacked against the window and we both jumped, and my wife laid into the gas. Suddenly the car was swerving, careening back and forth and tearing into the uneven ground beneath us. A flash of lightning exploded over the mountains. Something laughed. The radio went dead and something that sounded like a lion roared. I think I even heard a gunshot.
I was seconds from leaning over, walloping my wife in the face, taking the wheel, and getting us the hell out of whatever circle of hell we’d accidently driven into when the gravel road transformed, quite suddenly, again into pavement. A streetlight popped into existence just over the horizon and three more followed soon after. A couple minutes later my wife maneuvered the car back into civilization.
Not only were we on a street I recognized, but we were also ten minutes from home. A trip that should have lasted thirty minutes at the most, had taken us nearly an hour and a half.
My wife turned to me and smiled brightly. “See? Told you I knew where I was going.”
I think she actually expected me to buy it. The woman’s got balls.