Driving While Impaired

According to Mary, the title describes me to a T. What exactly does that mean, ‘describe me to a T’? Why doesn’t it describe me to a J, or an L? I guess I could use the awesome power of the Google to look this up, but I have forsworn using the tremendous supremacy of the Google for mundane tasks, and limit it’s incredibleness to only searching for pictures of bikini clad women. And puppies, but only cute puppies, not like chihuahuas or those runty little dogs with the squashed-in faces. Now I’m going to get a whole bunch of e-mails from people protesting that Chihuahuas are cute, especially when they’re puppies. Though possibly I’m overstating things here, since ‘whole bunch’ in a conventional context means more than the three or four readers I currently have. I guess I could go out and get some more readers, maybe offering them a nice shiny nickel if they’d read my blog, but then I’d start getting a whole bunch of emails asking where their nickels are, and that’s a lot of work to reply to them. Or ignore them.

So, driving with me. Subject, now I need a predicate. Or a doing word. Wait, driving is a doing word. I could actually construct a complete sentence, but that’s a lot of work and it would throw off the whole tenor I’m trying to establish here. So Driving is doing, and I do driving poorly, according to Mary. I am a little impaired. Not in the sense of those people who are, and who also deserve a telethon, because they’re lame or mute, or possessed of poor fashion sense, like most every American male under the age of sixty today. My impairment is a combination of factors, so it might be better to term it an impairment mélange. It kind of works like this:

I have no discernible depth perception. None whatsoever. Apparently I have gone through life roughly approximating the position of every thing on the planet, and usually I’m off, sometimes by a couple of inches, and other times by a hundred feet or so. NASA turned down my astronaut application because of it, so it’s kind of a bummer.

Now combine a lack of depth perception with a poor sense of mortality. A poor sense of mortality means I have an innate belief in my own immortality. Which is completely different than a poor sense of morality, cause then you’d be stealing pennies from blind beggar’s cups and knocking ice cream cones out of kid’s hands and stuff. I only do that because of a lack of depth perception. The ice cream cone thing of course, I’ve never knowingly taken pennies from a blind man. Who gives pennies to a blind man, anyhow? That’s kind of low. One should always give them a nice shiny nickel.

So, I know I can’t accurately estimate the distance of the car in front of me and I don’t think I’ll die because of it. So I tend to either hug their rear bumper so close that I should be publishing an engagement notice in the paper, or I’m so far back that it’s possible that the average person will be unable to tell if that’s an automobile on the road ahead of us or a speck on the windshield.

I am also easily distractible. I mean really easily distractible, like a Senator in a room full of lobbyists. Though in my case it isn’t briefcases full of cash or golf junkets to Barbados (not that I’m adverse to these things, if any lobbyist type people are reading this). The type of things that distract me are billboards announcing a 29 cent breakfast at one of the casinos in our local casino town, or as I like to refer to it, Old Person Pension Fleecing Town. And I’ll start musing about what kind of a breakfast you get for 29 cents, and the next thing you know I’m approaching a Ford pick-up sitting at a stop light, and I’m still doing fifty and I have either twenty feet or a half mile to stop in, depending on which side of the scale my depth perceptive abilities are leaving me sitting high and dry upon.

Finally, while driving I dislike, intensely, people, specifically my wife, Mary giving me instructions or directions. Not directions like turn left at the third light, I’m cool with that. Directions like:

“If you don’t stop right now, we’re going to die in a fiery crash!”

“Look out for that car turning into your lane, right there, at least a thousand yards ahead, we’re all going to die in a fiery crash!”

“Look out, the light is going to change sometime, and we’re all going to die in a fiery crash!”

“Look out, there’s someone walking on the sidewalk who may, or may not, suddenly take it upon themselves to jump into the road right in front of you! We probably won’t die in a fiery crash, but we had a five hundred dollar deductible!”

“Look out, that person has a chain saw! Don’t stop and pick him up!”

When Mary is my passenger, she starts worrying about not just immediate threats, like the tanker truck I didn’t notice when I attempted to change lanes, but also future events. Events that often have an astoundingly low probability. And if I don’t compensate for them, we’re going to die in a fiery crash! I think Mary balances out my own innate sense of immortality with her innate sense of impending doom. It makes for an interesting dynamic whilst motoring about.

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