THE LADY OR THE TIE UP
Driving with my wife is not at all like driving by myself. No passive passenger is she. Rather I acquire a dedicated sign and map reader, traffic reporter and early warning system. And while I remain the principle decision maker, I find myself subject to frequent review and persistent second-guessing.
Complicating this situation is the fact that our personalities differ. She’s impatient, excitable, and creative. In contrast I am calmer, more easy-going, and generally less adventurous. Such opposites come into sharp focus when adversity hits. Take a prolonged traffic tie up for instance. My inclination will be to stay the course and ride it out, reasoning that the time consumed in spontaneously navigating an alternative route ordinarily will be longer than the highway delay itself.
She couldn’t disagree more. With the traffic at a standstill and with no sign of any movement up ahead, what’s the point of standing there? Take action, she counsels. Better to get off at the next exit and work your way through local streets to another main road.
I’m not the least bit enthusiastic. It could, I suggest, clear up at any moment. Besides, neither one of us knows any alternate roads. Then, too, lots of other impatient people are exiting, so the local streets will be clogged. Who’s to say another route will prove faster?
But she’s dealing from strength. The traffic is barely moving and up ahead there’s nothing but a sea of brake lights. And why not take the initiative, separate yourself from the pack? But then we’re not in any particular rush, I suggest, and weaving through local streets without a clear sense of direction is not an inviting prospect.
But each passing minute weakens my resolve, especially as her sarcasm surges and her agitation mounts. I’m just at the point of giving in. Look, if she’s right we will escape this mess and save ourselves some time. And if not, would that not strengthen my hand in any such future debate? Why get trapped in an increasingly untenable position: why defend a traffic jam?
But just as I am preparing to exit the highway, the traffic quite unaccountably starts to flow. Sure enough we’re picking up speed and heading down the road again. My patience has been rewarded. However triumphant I feel, I decide it’s best to let the facts speak for themselves and avoid any “I told you so” declarations. She, however, remains unrepentant. No concession speech is forthcoming. She barely acknowledges that we’re cruising again. “We would have been there already.” Her last word on the subject says it all.