Today I drove for about half an hour with Rosemarie over in the passenger seat. Now, that may not sound unusual, especially because it was the norm for some 45 years or so…but not no more. The most I drive lately is about a quarter of a mile around the corner to the supermarket. I cannot usually be trusted for much farther than that. My sleep disorder dictates that I sit in the passenger seat and Rosemarie drives. It’s an ever so slight problem: I fall asleep without warning, no advance notice, no prerequisite yawning or rubbing of the eyes. Nope, when my body wants to sleep, even for the slightest of moments, it does it without notice. This, even I admit, is no circumstance to be in while one is behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. So, for your protection and mine, I adhere to that popular warning that says “Don’t Sleep and Drive!”
The reason I drove today instead of riding shotgun, was because we were upstate about a hundred-plus miles and Rosemarie’s eyes were really bothering her, so much so that they had become painful. I assured her that I was wide awake and ready to go. After about my tenth “put me in Coach” she put me through a drill of about 600 questions about my current state of being and made me do twenty minutes of jumping jacks to get the blood flowing and then, reluctantly, she handed me the keys. I felt it was like prom night all over again and Dad was letting me take his new ’62 Impala.
Well, I made it down good old I-95 for about half an hour during which time Rosemarie had a minimum of six heart attacks while barking non-stop commands and bringing new meaning to the the term, front-seat driver. Meanwhile, she kept a close vigil on my eyelids and must have asked me at least seven gazillion times if I was okay. But all she could take was about a half-hour. The stress was too much for her. I, to be perfectly honest, have to admit I was beginning to struggle. That white dashed line on the road was starting to appear twice, one line going along on the road as it should be, but a second image of the same line was slanted off and up to one side reaching out toward the sky. The good news, I knew which line was the real one. I mean, after all, even I couldn’t launch the car skyward unless I ran up and over the trunk of the car in front of me, which in fact…oh, never mind.
So I pulled over and we assumed the now-normal positions of Rosemarie behind the wheel, and me co-piloting. But really, I didn’t do badly. I made no mistakes, kept in my lane, didn’t speed, didn’t hit anything and, most of all, I was awake every minute. Once in the passenger seat I admit I dozed off, but only for about a minute or so—just long enough for Rosemarie to miss the exit where we were supposed to get off.
I figure it won’t be long before you’re driving down the highway and instead of seeing those digital signs with the Amber and Silver Alerts you’ll see some kind of coded message alerting you to the fact that Rosemarie and I are on the road. But not to panic because if we’re ever nearby you’ll be able to hear our telltale singing of that Carrie Underwood song—you know, the one titled, Jesus Take The Wheel!