Driving Mrs. Daisy crazy

Getting anywhere always has seemed like a major piece of excitement.

Women of the world, in their infinite methods of sensibility, always want to plan things well in advance, consult several references, and continuously monitor their progress by stopping to ask directions at frequent intervals.

Men, on the other hand, seem to enjoy the thrill of the hunt.

"No, I didn't Google, MapQuest or anything else; I already kind of know how to get there. Just sit back and relax or knit or something, I've got this under control. Don't I always get us there?"

I love the advertisement showing a couple towing a boat out in the middle of a desert and the male driver is leaning forward peering through the windshield saying, "I know the turn is right ahead, I can just sense it. We'll have the boat in the water in no time."

Why is it that when men drive they get all kinds of advice from the passenger seat wives? And yet when their wives drive, they are full of all kinds of questions?

The navigator should be in charge of plotting out a course to arrive at the destination in a timely and efficient manner. The driver is in charge of guiding the vehicle in a safe and efficient manner. But somehow the lines of responsibility seem to blur and waver during the heat of battle.

There have been numerous occasions when Wife Nancy and I have arrived at our destination totally exhausted from the push-pull of just getting there. Roads weren't where they were supposed to be. Directions over the phone had paragraphs left out. We didn't know that the bridge was washed out, and neither did MapQuest.

A friend has labeled his female spouse as the navigator. He claims that once her behind hits the seat, she becomes the captain of their journey.

When we drive somewhere, I drive like I hike. "If it's over there, I like to drive that way."

No, I don't know the name of the street, but where we are going is over that way. Normally this works pretty well for me but there have been some notable occasions where it has failed, and unfortunately the wifely mind is indelible and unforgiving.

We were on a long walk and Wife Nancy twisted her ankle and we were headed back to our motel. Naturally she wanted to get back as quickly as possible but that was our only point of agreement. I knew where we were headed and she knew how we got there and wanted to retrace that way back.

I valiantly exercised my foolproof sense of direction to convince her that we would be going backward if we followed her directions. For the first time that I can remember, she listened to me and we set off in a direct line for where I knew we should be headed.

Just like our city council, I had such great intentions and even some logical thinking involved.

However, I failed to think about the fact that we were cutting directly across a former military installation. And not unlike most military installations, we were snarled in a tangle of ingress, egress and regress. We were trapped like mice in the corner of the cage. And Wife Nancy was one mad cat.

Now, the parallel between a navigator husband-wife team attempting to get from point A to point B and the city council is a bit tangential at best.

The frustration level, the teeth gnashing, the best intentions, the lack of training, experience and resources are all in common.

I spent many years working for boards of lay people who got elected by the public to accomplish a multitude of different tasks. Part of the public wanted to keep their taxes down, others, to improve the educational system; others, to make certain that the unions could get what they wanted. But what the board had in common is that they really knew nothing about running the school system.

When Wife Nancy and I are both blindly attempting to find our way through a strange city with our limited knowledge, deciphering the GPS information, our own common sense and an occasional street sign - it isn't a smooth journey.

When the city council stubs its toe selecting their professional leader to guide the city in their perceived proper direction, it's certain trouble. We all lose.

Nothing seems to flow smoothly in our fair city, but then why should it? It certainly isn't the end of the world. The council really does have good intentions.

We seem to have come out of our other previous scrapes and bumps with an assortment of other groups much further ahead. Maybe this is just how we in Sequim do business. It makes "getting there" all that much sweeter - right, Wife Nancy?

Jim Follis is a retired school administrator, has published two books and currently writes three newspaper columns. Eating, drinking and making merry are his professed hobbies. Traveling, trekking and observing people follow not far behind.

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