While driving from Cleveland to New York City yesterday. Me, my husband and our 13 year old son.
"Um, can I say something? Just one thing and then I won't say anything else?"
My husband replies, "Don't start...."
"Be careful of the trucks on this trip! Like watch that one right there! He's swerving! Ahhhh! God! I hate trucks!"
"Mom! Don't be a backseat driver in the front passenger seat! Leave Dad alone! Why don't you drive!"
"Cuz I don't want to."
I go back to reading my NYTs and try to get my mind off our impending firey deaths. Works well for awhile, then I happen to glance up and notice snow collected off to the side of the road. And at the edges of the snow -- I see -- dare I say -- ice!! Ice on the road!!!"
"Honey? Can I say one more thing? And then I promise I won't say anything else?"
"See that ice? Are the tires on this car in good shape?"
My husband then goes into some long explanation of the difference between performance tires and snow tires and how the width of the base of the car, or something, matters...
As he's explaining all of this I become aware of my posture. I'm sitting exactly the way I sit in a dentist's chair.
"Ok. Whatever. I'm not saying anything else for the rest of the trip. Just be careful!"
I continue to read the NYTs.
"Oh my God. You have to read this column by Tom Friedman. Listen. He quotes David Rothkopf: "If President Bush doesn't rise to this challenge, our children and grandchildren will look at the burden he has placed on their shoulders and see this moment as the hinge between the American Century and the Chinese Century. George W. Bush may well be seen as the president who, by refusing to address these urgent questions when they needed....
....oh my God. Pass this truck...oh my God, that truck is carrying *liquid nitrogen.* What is that? Can it explode? Do drivers who carry that sort of stuff make more than drivers who carry other things?
I ponder the Teamsters Union for a moment and then continue reading:
....anyway, when they needed to be addressed, invited American's decline.' Then Friedman continues: "Truly, I hope Mr. Bush rises to the challenge. We do not have three years to waste. To do that, though, Mr. Bush would need to become a very different third-term president, with a much more centrist agenda and style....
My husband chimes in, "yeah, right -- he doesn't care."
I continue, "If he does, he still has time to be a bridge to the future. If he doesn't, the resources he will have squandered and the size of the problems he will have ignored will put him in the running for one of our worst presidents ever."
I say those last three words like Joanne Worley. In a fake, very vibrato singing style:
Worrrst! Pre-siiii-deeeeeeent!! Eeeeevverrrrrrr!
"God! Didn't people know that before last year's election? Duh!"
"Mom! You are obsessed with politics!"
"It's warping me!"
"Oh stop it. You know more than most kids your age know about the world...stop complaining."
"I don't want to know it!"
"Oh stop it. Look at that car! With that "W 04" sticker on the back! Aren't they embarassed? We should make bumper stickers! Worst. President. Ever.!"
"Mom! You're obsessed!"
"Honey? I'm just going to say one more thing. Ok? See that sign there? 'Slow Down. Save A Life?' Slow down! You're going 80! You don't have to go so fast!"
"But we're making good time, we have to make good time!" he jokes.
"Please slow down."
He does. Which enables me to loosen the death grip I've got on the dashboard.
But then he pipes up...
"Look! Look at that! Two blue hairs just passed me in a Buick with plastic seat covers! Look at that! I've got a car here that can go 150 miles an hour! And I'm in the right lane eating their dust!"
"Those blue hairs don't know what's good for them!! They are being irresponsible!"
"For God's sake! They're driving a Buick!"
"Just be careful..."
"Mom. They've got a Bush bumper sticker on the back of their car."
"Yech. Dumb on top of it all. Watch that truck! Why is he swerving like that?"