I haven’t always been terrified of being a passenger in a car. In fact, I used to be able to sleep in a car, feeling no need to provide assistance or advice to the driver. I didn’t clutch the door handle in terror as I do now.
Three things are responsible for my passenger terror: 1)Bill was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease; 2)I had a perforated bowel; and 3)I was in a car accident — not my fault — in which the front end of my yellow bug was destroyed by another car. How did these three things cause me to become the passenger from hell? I learned that stuff happens over which you have no control.
The thing is, for inexplicable reasons, I’m not generally frightened when I am a passenger in a bus, a shuttle car, or a taxi. I’ve tried to think why that is, but I can come up with no viable reason. But I can almost always sit back, relax, and leave the driving to them.
I say “almost” because yesterday’s ride to the airport was an exception to this reality of my life. I wasn’t just nervous; I, in fact, was certain that I was going to die.
Bill and I have taken to using the services of the Super Shuttle to get to and from the airport In Denver. Our primary reason for doing this is because our recent airplane trips have been at unreasonably atrocious hours — either at the crack of dawn or in the dead of night. It seems unfair to ask any of our children (who have their own children) to join us in the wee hours of the morning or late at night when we can shuttle for $60 round trip for both of us. Therefore, Super Shuttle provides our rides.
Yesterday’s ride started out innocently enough, with our driver arriving on time and greeting us cheerfully despite the fact it was 5 o’clock in the morning and the sun was only barely showing its face. After we got settled, he began our drive. Bill, being friendly and having a couple of cups of coffee under his belt, asked him if we were his first passengers. Nope, he assured us. He had been awake since 2:30 am and had already made a trip to the airport.
It didn’t take long before we realized this was going to be a trip like no other. As he roared down Tower Road, it appeared he was not going to be put off by nuisances such as red lights, even if there was a car stopped at the lights. I literally sucked in my breath and grabbed Bill’s leg as it appeared he had no inherent plans to stop as we approached a red light. I believe the noise that came from deep in my throat alerted him that he had a nervous passenger, and he slammed on his brakes just before the intersection. But then it happened again. And then again. I finally realized he wasn’t sleeping; this was simply his driving style. If Super Shuttle has some sort of award for the driver whose brakes last the longest, our driver should begin practicing his acceptance speech.
At one point, Bill (who pretty much lets nothing bother him) leaned over and whispered, “Is your rosary somewhere within your reach?”
For the first time in my life, I realized with utter certainty that it is true what they say about air travel being safer than car travel. I’m happy to say we arrived safely at the airport and I will begin my novena that we get a different driver on our trip home in a little over a week.
Our plane ride, by the way, was flawless.