A new study out this week showed that the number of male drivers on the road is declining, both young and old.
The reasons are speculative of course, with statisticians at the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute citing various possibilities for the decline: the Internet is lessening the need for face-to-face communication, and cars are too hard to work on with their computer-driven engines, so the “cool” factor has been drained out of owning a car.
I don't doubt the math geniuses, but they clearly are missing the point. Men are not driving as much because it's just more fun to complain about how your wife won't blow the next car off the road than it is to do it yourself.
Especially while she's driving.
I call it DRR or Displaced Road Rage.
The one reason my honey and I ride together is to save on gas, thus making fewer trips on the weekend. And because my car is handier for large grocery stops, I get to drive.
However, that has put my sweetheart and me into the knee to knee contact of the front seat, where any and all comments are directed at either my ability to put on the brakes — too soon, too late, too far away from the curb — or the route I'm taking.
There is a constant patter of, “Why are you turning there?” “You can go now.” “How long are you going to sit at this light?”
And this summer, he taught our nieces a cute response: “Gun it” when coming to a yellow light about to turn red.
If you can imagine three darling girls between the ages of 10 and 14 all saying “Gun it” and then laughing hysterically, you will know what I'm talking about.
That was cute for about four days, and then they left, but “Gun it” has stayed with us for some reason I can't fathom
I really thought I had my fill of annoyance when my husband tried out a GPS before he bought one. With that, it was another woman's voice trying to tell me what to do while I was driving. I squashed her handily by exiling her forever. No GPS woman will talk to me in the sanctity of my Honda Element.
That quieted down the kvetching from the front seat for awhile. But lately I'm hearing more complaints, so I think the DRR is back. The latest complaint: “No, no, don't turn there” as I'm sliding to a stop to make a left on a busy road.
“What's wrong,” I ask in a moment of brief panic, expecting to see a truck bearing down on us.
“I just don't like that turn,” he says after we have successfully negotiated the new road and my heart has started to return to an even beat.
“There's too much traffic,” he says.
Wait a minute. He doesn't want me turning there because he doesn't like the traffic?
Even though I have the patience of Job (surely there was a woman with patience back then), I got irritated.
“You mean you scared me because you don't like that left turn?”
“Well, yeah,” he says. “People have to slow down to see you turn.”
The originator of “Gun it” was now telling me not to turn when there was a perfectly good stoplight to help.
That's the moment I decided to ignore this irrational being that had replaced my husband. Otherwise, I would have had to smack him for cause.
Do you think DRR is transferable?
Reach Stephanie Harvin at 937-5557