Passenger Seat Panic

I can’t sleep when my husband drives.

I’m dozing in the car when suddenly I feel a vibration as we hit the rumble strip embedded in the highway shoulder.

“Honey! Is everything okay?!” I scream, sitting bolt-upright and clutching the door handle as Mike, my loving husband, swerves gently back into the correct lane.

I then fall directly back to sleep.

A few minutes later it happens again. Mike is cruising safely down the highway, quietly singing along to The Beatles, and he taps the brakes ever so gently.

I awaken in a disoriented panic, sure that the car is about to smash into the taillights up ahead. We are going to die in a horrible, bloody, fiery crash!

“Mike!” I holler. “Mike! He’s stopping! STOP!”

And … back to sleep.

I am the world’s worst passenger, especially when I’m asleep. I pity Mike, who patiently endure my comments on his driving skills — such as yelling “OH MY GOD!” or “Brake lights! BRAKE LIGHTS!” while stomping madly on my imaginary passenger-side break pedal. We don’t even want to talk about what my poor sons will have to deal with when I teach them to drive.

I have been this way for years, and I really hate it, but Mike seems not to mind. Our compromise is that I always drive except when I am just too tired, but even then my helpful driving habit always keeps me awake just enough that I don’t get good rest, and just enough for poor Mike to wish he’d given me that Valium before we left.

Article © 2007 by Stacey Duck