date night

Entrance of the James Bond exhibition, Science...

Image by Craig Grobler via Flickr

… but I got a better invite as the husband lured me with snuggling and a movie. That it happens to be a movie we tried to watch once upon a time and he pulled the veto plug on it thirty minutes in doesn’t matter.


Well, he insists that didn’t happen and I will snuggle through the worst movie – almost.

So it’s Bond – one of the newer James Bonds – and quality time goodness.

I’ll blog in the morning. Really. Promise. I am so behind on my education pieces at Care2 that I am literally chaining myself to the keyboard until I write. And I have yoga writing and a guru wanna-be to tweak a bit.

‘Til morning then?

We went into Edmonton Thursday night to see Doug Stanhope at New City.

Due to the continuing medical restrictions on Rob’s activities, I drove, which makes for tense travel under optimal conditions, but as I was driving his vehicle instead of my Avalanche and negotiating an area of the city I’ve never driven, it was particular fun.

And by “fun”, I mean not in the least bit.

Earlier in the day I caught the tail end of a conversation between two of the NOW radio deejays about a recent survey on men’s perceptions of female driving. The female they live with specifically. The results revealed that one in three actually feared for their safety, if not lives, when their women were behind the wheel.

The survey included 3,000 men and in addition to their uncontrollable fright, they shared the following hard to completely believe tidbits:

  • 1 in 10 has grabbed the wheel to prevent an accident
  • 1 in 5 find it impossible to fully relax
  • nearly all considered their driving abilities superior
  • 1 in 5 couples have argued over her driving skills
  • 1 in 10 men have asked their wives to pull over so they can drive

What specifically do men object to or feel may contribute to their premature death and/or dismemberment?

They believe that women don’t concentrate and are easily distracted from the task of driving by … everything. They also are sure that they possess a superior ability to assess conditions and react in a more timely manner.

And what are women drivers’ chief offenses?


1. Lack of concentration

2. Braking too late

3. Flicking the accelerator

4. Not avoiding rumble strips

5. Getting too close to other cars

6. Braking too hard

7. Fiddling with the stereo

8. Failure to indicate

9. Going too fast

10. Sticking in the middle lane

Four and ten I found particularly ridiculous.

I have never encountered a rumble strip that it was possible to avoid without driving on the shoulder, which in Alberta – don’t exist generally – and back in Iowa were gravel.

And the middle lane? That I don’t get. On the interstate I drove regularly back in the commuter days, the far right lane was for exiting and entrancing. People who rode that lane basically gummed up the works, making it harder to get on and impossible to exit during rush hour because no one will let you in as they inch towards work or home.

The far left was considered the “fast lane” though how there can be such a thing when the maximum speed limit is the same regardless of lane, I never understood.

What I discovered is that no matter what lane you are in, somebody – usually a guy – will get cheesed off because … he has entitlement issues and/or disillusions of superior driving skills.

I’ve had two husbands now (and a father), who have all held my driving skills in low esteem, and I’ll admit that I don’t/didn’t drive well with any one of them riding shotgun – mostly because I know I am being evaluated and found wanting, which unsurprisingly makes the whole driving process even more joyless.

In the Jalopnik article referring to the poll, one of the commenters made an excellent point. Driving skill is often related to the level of love the driver holds for driving.

Certainly I have rarely loved driving.

Rob regards it as a game and began driving at age eleven. At one point he drove semi when he was working the oil fields and driving was part of his job later on as a field operator.

My late husband took great pride in his ability to drive and his vehicles and was devastated when his illness effectively grounded him. Before he lost his sight however, he drove a cube van on a delivery route.

My father (and my mother too) grew up on a farm. He mastered all modes of transport at a young age and during his years after being discharged from the Navy in the late forties, road-tripped with his brother all over the west.

Since first getting my license, an arduous process that involved put myself under the microscope of my father to a point where I would actively avoid opportunities to practice driving, I was a chauffeur.

First among my friends with a license and liberal access to wheels, I ferried us about on weekends and over the summer. My new skill freed my parents to dump as many of their transportation duties on me as they could get away with as I became a taxi service for my siblings.

In university though I lived a blissful three years without driving, bumming rides if I needed them but mainly walking. I avoided even the college transit system for the most part. But student teaching and living off campus eventually put an end to my carefree days and when I moved away for my first teaching job to a city where cars were a necessary evil, I spent the next decade or so commuting with the masses.

Driving has always been a task. No different from recycling and or mowing the lawn. I happily abandon the driver’s seat to anyone who wants it more, so I think the “love of driving” comment makes a lot of sense.

Rob isn’t allowed to drive for another three weeks. Precaution and also provincial regulation. Not any different in the states really. Will’s best friend’s wife is an epileptic and she was forever being put on driving restrictions after seizures though she seldom abided by them for long.

The ride home after Doug Stanhope (which was an experience) was a bit harrowing. I am very light-sensitive. Headlights dang near blind me – more now than when I was younger though. So between the glare, the rain and the unfamiliar dash, I white-knuckled to the point where Rob suggested that I pull over and let him drive.

When we got home, I switched back to my truck to drive the babysitter home and all was well again, and a lesson was learned by all.

Well, I learned a lesson at any rate – and I made an appointment with the eye doctor. According to Rob you can get tinted glasses to deal with glare for night driving, who knew? I’ve been complaining to eye docs for years about the glare and halo effect I get at night*.

Heart attacks are growth experiences even when you didn’t have one yourself.

* No, I don’t have glaucoma. My pressure is fine. I have always seen halos and am just incredibly photosensitive. It’s worse at night only because the general darkness means my pupil is open wider and reacts more strongly to the spotlight effect of headlights and sudden changes from very dark to bright lights.

Found this vintage McDonald’s commercial on Jezebel.

One of the commenter’s had this to say,

“Women settling since 1988.”

Rob thinks women have been lowering their expectations for a while longer.

Settling is such an interesting concept because it is based on the premise that having expectations of others is always a good idea and that accepting people for who they are – realizing that no one and nothing can avoid the alterations of time at any rate – is not the best way to go about judging people (I would use the would “assess”, but I don’t think that many of us do that).

I remember the commercial. I was twenty-five and I knew women like the one in the commercial. Shoulders padded and Melanie Griffith business suits that ran the gamut of neutral colors with the occasional sea-foam green thrown in to show “the Man” that they were still women and not going to conform completely. Men hadn’t changed nearly as much as women had in terms of roles yet and the smell of fear was palpable in the dating arena.

Settling. Play this scenario out about ten years and you’d find that he was a store manager and she was just getting back into the workforce because both of their kids were now in school all day, relieving them of the crushing financial burden of childcare. They needed her job to help them pay for the extras necessary to keep up with the neighbors in the new subdivision where they’d built a house. They are happy-ish but probably too tired to notice. Her friends, the ones who never married, think he’s held her back. His think she is a nag who is never satisfied and hasn’t held up well physically. They fight a bit but mostly they work, parent and household before collapsing into their queen sized bed to watch Survivor and falling asleep to the ten o’clock local news. Settling.

Or not. This is the life for many, many people. They think they have it all, even if “all” is a little exhausting to maintain. Their Facebook updates overflow with minutia about kids, television and material acquisition. They might not always be sunny and optimistic, but they are more content than not. They are happier and count themselves more fortunate than their single friends at any rate.

When I was twenty-five, every guy I knew was like Larry. No expectations. That way nothing was lost and failure was impossible. How I avoided marrying a Larry, I will never quite understand.

Last night was date night. I highly recommend dating your husband by the way. There is nothing better than cuddling and engaging in all the sweet things that should never get lost in the day to day of life. We seem to have found a sitter with staying power and we are making the most of it. I have watched more movies in the past couple of months than I have seen in the last five years. Which is sad because I used to love to go to the movies. Off beat and subtitled even. There is an old time theater in Des Moines called The Varsity that shunned Hollywood fare for the most part and offered a steady stream of foreign and independent films. I like these types of movies but I really loved going to that theater. It has one of those big screens that make you feel as though you are truly experiencing something as opposed to watching television in your living room. Newer multiplexes are nice. It is wonderful to have movable armrests, be able to see over people’s heads, and I will never complain about the abundance of cup holders. I miss that feeling of wonder however when the curtain rises and the house lights dim. Sinking back into the upholstered foam of seats that rock a bit too much and are a bit too easy to annoy your neighbor with. I miss staring up at the screen and the feeling that I am entering whatever world is up there as opposed to simply staring across a room at it. The theater last night reminded me of days gone by when the old Orpheum, a converted vaudeville theater back in my hometown, would shoehorn as many kids as possible in for the Saturday matinee of the latest Disney flick. There would be so many of us that sometimes it was necessary to sit on the steps in the box seats off the balcony.

Last night’s film was You Kill Me with Ben Kingsley and Tea Leoni, who Rob says I remind him of though I don’t see it really, and was about a hitman with an alcohol problem and his journey to sobriety. It also featured death. Funny but many of the movies we have seen lately have had their “dead” moments or more. In last night’s film Kingsley’s character works in a funeral home. The Matador, which we saw on video, was about a man whose young son has died and he gets involved with a hitman. The Wedding Crashers (a supremely bad movie that just proves that vulgarity and meanness continue to pass as funny for too many people) had scenes near the end describing how Will Ferrell’s character was crashing funerals to find horny widows. Children of Men is awash in grief images and references. The 300 is a deathfest.  I asked Rob if he thought that the movies had always been like this and we just didn’t notice, and he thought that was the case. I guess he is probably right. Even the kid’s movies we have taken Katy to like Shrek the Third and Ratatouille  managed to slip such images (tasteless ones in the case of Shrek) into the storyline.

Film is no different from any other aspect of life. I cannot read the paper without finding articles about people’s loss. Books and magazines are often the same. Death is the only inevitable in life as one’s birth is not always assured, and it is the one thing we all have in common regardless of circumstances.