Sunday, May 26, 2013

Reckless Behavior

"Don't even think about it, jerk!"…"What in the world was that move for?"…"Expletive, Expletive…and big.giant. EXPLETIVE!!!"

Maybe, I'm talking to a telemarketer? Nope. Customer service? Good guess, but no. You'll be relieved to know my daughter is not the target of my venom either.

I'm not talking to anyone, per se. I'm yelling at cars whizzing around me so recklessly that you'd think we were in a race of some sort.

stop_signsThis persona of mine, which resembles an obnoxious loudmouth, rears its ugly head in New York City traffic. I call it my achilles heel on wheels.

If anything could justify my temporary insanity, it would be operating a motor vehicle in this city. It's an unwritten rule that you drive like a maniac, or risk getting run off the road. But the operative word is drive. It doesn't mean I need to act like a maniac also.

In fact, now that I have fragile cargo riding behind me, I should be doing neither.

Sometimes, I need reminding…"Mama was mad," Claire says as I lift her out of her carseat at the end of the trip. She sounds so matter of fact when she says it. She almost sounds like she feels compassion for me. I pick her up and melt. Melt at how sweet she is, and how awful I feel for subjecting her to my craziness. She was so quiet in the back, while I was having my temper tantrum behind the wheel. I wonder if I scared her, or if she's imprinting my antics on her brain as the way to behave while driving (or anywhere else for that matter).

Both are unacceptable to me, and I feel about as tall as she is in this moment.

If there were ever a reason to stop, Claire would be it.

My bad habit will be hard to kick though. I've been driving in NYC for over 20 years now, and, unfortunately, you do need a bit of adrenalin pumping and/or large cojones to match wits with cabbies, delivery trucks, and the many other aces who think they are Mario Andretti.

I can do it though! I might not win the race, but I'll certainly get the prize.

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Photo Source: Cyclops-Unicorn, Deviant Art


  1. I feel that way driving in Vegas when I'm visiting family. The traffic gives me so much anxiety and so do the tourists haha.

  2. You honestly made remember a story I have been told a thousand times about my grandfather, who used to work int he meat packing district as a butcher for many years of his life. He was a great driver, but also was a bit aggressive behind the wheel, because of this. Well, one day, he and my grandmother were driving with me in the back seat somewhere. Someone cut him off and he screamed son of a bitch to this. Well, when we got home, he repeated this line telling my father at the ripe old age of 3 years old, "Poppy said son of a bitch!" I guess the moral of the story is that, they do hear is even at that age. Was I traumatized? Not in the least and still idolized my grandfather even to this day after he has been gone for so many years. But still laugh when I think about this one :)

  3. Oh girl, road rage is one of my downfalls. I don't know why I think I'm such a better driver - since my husband doesn't think I am - but man, people make me crazy. I, too, remind myself that my kids are watching. And listening. Which means I should probably stop talking on the cell phone. sheesh.

  4. I bow down to you just for being able to drive in NYC! I am a pretty ballsy person, but I think that would give me crazy anxiety!

  5. Hi! I'm co-hosting Mom's Monday Mingle. and am your newest follower thru bloglovin and networked blogs! I'm a children's writer and illustrator!


    Happy Memorial Day


  6. Aww, I've had those moments of clarity w/the little ones too.

    My oldest and his wife live in DC and the driving there is crazy too. I've been astounded at how he and his wife drive, but they both tell me what you just said... you have to drive like that so you don't get run off the road. Not sure I could do it calmly or well. ;)

  7. My son served for many years in the military and once, when he was stationed in Bosnia, my Husby and I met him in Rome on his leave. He drove us all over that city. At least I think he did. I had my eyes closed most of the time. And he was calm and collected the whole time, as vehicles whizzed past with millimeters to spare and people dodged and swerved at top speed. I am still in awe of that young man, cooly holding the steering wheel and navigating at high speeds without making a single comment. Some day, I want to be like him...

  8. I think the worst drivers I have ever witness was when we were on our way to a beach in Jamaica. We had a tour guide driving us to our destinaton. Their roads are fairly narrow and there are no stripes. People drove crazy, passed on dangerous cruves, and were fast drivers. I don't remember seeing a speed limit sign. I am thankful I didn't have to drive there.

  9. I know so well what you mean about wondering what our kids are processing during our moments of anger/annoyance/driving in crappy conditions. We're in metro DC and DC can be sucky to drive in as well. I did drive in Manhattan once, and it scared the crap out of me.

  10. Road rage is my issue too. I try to keep it down when the kids are in the car but I was taught to drive by NYC cab drivers! My parents (yup mom too!) was a NYC cab driver when she was taking a break from hairdressing. So I have no time and no patience and I'm always driving like I'm late somewhere. Don't feel bad! We all have our things.

    Jai @ Mami's Time Out

  11. I never used to cuss in front of m kids--ever. Now that they are adults, we even joke about it. The first time I did say a cuss word in front of them, they were shocked and figured I had to be pretty mad to do it (I was). With my youngest, who is now 17, I have grown lax about this rule. He cusses all the time despite the fact that I am constantly correcting him about it. My advice would be to try your best to curb your tongue--if Claire keeps hearing it, she is bound to start cussing, too, when she hits her early teens. I know a lot of parents who use the substitute words such as "Oh fudge!" etc.--but I'll warn ya--it just doesn't have the same punch to it that good ol' fashioned cursing does!

  12. Did you and Mommy For Real plan this? :)

  13. Once again, you and I have interesting timing with your posts today! Expletive... ;)

    I don't think I mentioned that driving in traffic is another activity that brings out my inner sailor. Sigh. Obviously, I struggle with this, too. Where is the balance between shielding our children from our ugliness, and showing them that we are human? If you find out, let me know...

  14. Oh Rachel you are so right! I had my 5yo niece in the back seat yesterday as I was driving. I stopped suddenly and she said to the car in front of me "LADY, what do you think you're doing? Don't you know how to drive!!" They pick every bit of it up, and you never know when it will come back to you!

  15. Funny, I just wrote a piece about cursing in traffic with my three year old -- where *he's* the one cursing at the traffic.

    My strategy: discretion is the best prevention. That kind of talk isn't to be heard by grandma! I figure, he's going to hear it, so let's put it out there in the open and learn restraint while we're at it.

  16. Driving in NYC?
    I can hardly drive in my little town without wanting to stab someone with my gear shift.
    I'm glad though that you're explaining to her that you are mad. I think they make us slow down and realize that we need to calm down :)

  17. I totally hear you, twin. I have the foulest mouth in my car. Now that I'm commuting again, it's reared its ugly head. Luckily H is not in the car to hear me, but wow. Just wow.

  18. OH man, my mouth is terrible in the car. I try to watch it but dammit, other people around here can't drive!

  19. You know what? If that's what it takes to drive in your city, maybe it's not a bad thing that she learns to do that when she's older? I'm guessing you're otherwise a good person, or you wouldn't be writing this, so if she learns to swear in the car and it helps her manage idiots on the road, maybe it's a life skill - as long as she also learns from you not to swear in other situations, which I'm sure she will :)


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