I vowed never to get into the car with my husband after the last incident but like Britney Spears, I did it again.
After the last ‘incident’ I’d had enough stress to last me for at least 12 months, so when the big day arrived to drive across town to my husband’s aunt’s place I dug my heels in and told him that I would be driving. I saw him cringe but I ignored it. Let him have a taste of his own medicine.
I packed my trusty Navman into my bag to set up in the car. I trusted this little device more than I trusted my gynaecologist. Nothing could go wrong with this gadget showing the way, could it?
Everything was going fine for the first half hour. I was zig-zagging in and out of the traffic like a pro, enjoying the look of discomfort on my husband’s face as he white-knuckled the door handle every time I braked. I was confident that the key to my salvation rested on the proper-English voice leading the way from the dashboard.
‘Why did you pick a woman’s voice?’ My husband ground out through a hair-pin curve.
‘Because a woman telling me what to do is not stressful.’ I smiled sweetly at him and continued on my way.
We hit the freeway and I relaxed a little more. It was only a matter of finding the right exit point now. My ‘Navwoman’ could do that standing on her head.
We had passed about 6 exit points when Navwoman started waffling about going straight ahead and veering to the left at the same time. I wasn’t sure what that meant so I queried it with my husband.
‘It means go straight ahead but stay in the left lane.’ He barked at me and pointed to the Navman screen. ‘See?’ All I could see was a bunch of arrows, 3 pointing straight and 1 veering to the left but I didn’t argue.
I continued straight ahead in the left lane. Sailing past yet another exit point.
‘Now recalibrating. Recalibrating now.’ Navwoman squeaked. I looked at my husband and back at ‘Navman’.
‘You’re going the wrong way!’ he snapped.
‘YOU told me to go straight ahead and NOT veer off!’ I snapped back.
Navman was silent as we continued on down the freeway. I prayed for instruction. ‘Continue straight ahead, continue straight ahead.’
My husband was tapping the dashboard and going red in the face. ‘Pull into the next exit regardless of what that thing says and pull over. I’m driving!’
‘Over my dead body!’
‘That can be arranged today!’
I gnashed my teeth, pulled into the next exit and found a place to stop. My husband bolted out of the passenger seat around to my side. ‘Get out! Before I get run over!’
I looked at my husband. The veins on the sides of his neck were popping out. I scrambled over the drivers side seat to the passenger side. There was no way I was getting out. Getting left behind and/or getting run over by a truck were distinct possibilities.
‘Recalibrating, recalibrating.. ‘ My husband went to grab the Navman. I wasn’t sure if he was disconnecting it or attempting to heave it out the window, so I grabbed it first.
Stop it! Just leave it on in case you need it.’
‘I will find my own way there like I was going to do in the first place.’
‘Oh yeh, that’s right, like the drive to the funeral the other day.’ I glared at him. He insisted on leaving the Navman at home because he knew the way and yelled at me when he got lost.
‘Be quiet and let me concentrate, will you?’
‘Fine,’ I snorted, ‘you do it your way.’
So I was quiet and turned my attention to other drivers on the road for the next half hour. Maybe there was somebody else being yelled at who I could sympathise with.
He eventually found an entry on the other side of the freeway and made his way back to our missed exit point. I gripped the handle and closed my eyes as he exited the freeway at breakneck speed and swore. He drove like a madman for another 10 minutes, swore again and pulled over. I opened my eyes and saw the same street I had seen 10 minutes ago.
He turned on the Navman again. I continued to ignore his rants.
We arrived at our destination a mere 15 minutes later than expected, as we had left early.
He looked at me. ‘For God’s sake woman, why are you not speaking to me?’
‘Because you told me to be quiet.’ I smiled sweetly again.
‘That’s never stopped you before.’
We also arrived before my husband’s brother, who came in ranting about ‘the blasted Navman’ that got him lost on the freeway. I looked at my husband, raised my eyebrows and shook my head. ‘There you go, I’m not the only dimwit here today.’
My brother-in-law looked from me to my husband. I told him what had happened. ‘Oh… that’s nothing,’ he sighed. ‘we went up the same street 3 times and MY wife sat in the back to get away from me.’
My sister-in-law and I exchanged knowing nods and smiles and left them to it.
He insisted on driving home and I let him. He got lost again and we ended up in the city, then he got booked for speeding 20 minutes away from home after I suggested that he slow down.
Next time we travel he can take any car he wants. Just as long as I’m not in it.