There is this thing called ‘Playing Chicken‘ that crazy, thrill-seeking adrenaline junkie drivers do, where they drive directly toward each other at top speed and see who can swerve the latest (or not at all) and win over the Chicken that swerves first. To me, the only logical form of this would occur in the middle of a vast desert; everyone in and cheering on the race would crash into instant atomic smithereens and then be roasted to a nice medium-rare by the resultant fire, feeding any passing buzzards and desert rats before the remaining debris became a handy rusted shelter for them from the noonday sun. My personal version of Playing Chicken is simply the act of getting behind the wheel for any driving at all.When my anxiety was untreated and had free rein in my limbic system, this was effectively an internal game exclusively, but it convinced me that everything visible to me from my perch in the driver’s seat was aiming directly for me and moving at the speed of light. After some useful therapy and medication, I learned that my life as a free-range chicken didn’t have to be quite so dramatic, as my perception of danger changed to what I’m told is more Normal or at least more realistic.Being healthier did not, however, make me give up every semblance of being Chicken Little. Recognizing that the sky was not falling helped me to focus more clearly on real dangers. There are still genuine potholes for me to avoid exploring too deeply, signs and speed limits to obey, idiot lights on the dash warning me of troubles inherent in the auto itself. And there are those cocky driving fools out there who don’t have any limbic inhibition or a concept of any limits on them or their privileged status as rulers of the road.All of this in mind, you know just how meaningful it is to me that my spouse likes, is good at, and is willing to do almost all of our driving. He’s perfectly willing to be Driving Miss Lazy [or Crazy] 99% of the time. On our summer road trip, this meant that day and night, rain or shine, on the flats and through the mountains, my favorite chauffeur was at the wheel. Not only did this free me up to be the [so-so] navigator, the [marginally better] comic relief with my goofy car songs and pseudo-conversation, and the camera-in-hand travel documentarian, it made me able to stay closer to calm sanity whether we were on the beautiful Pacific Coast meanderings of old 101 or crossing the hypnotically still stretches of rural West Texas.That makes me one happy traveling chick. With all of that safe and comfortable road behind me it did mean that on the last couple of lengthy days heading ‘back to the barn’ I could reasonably put in a few hours as driver myself, even during blinding thunderstorms, and not fall apart at all. And now, back home, I’m free to look back on the whole cross-country venture as great fun rather than fearful, a golden egg in my memory’s treasury. Maybe I’m not such a dumb cluck.
I’m the world’s worst passenger, so I do most of the driving. It keeps everybody happy. Retaining cControl is obviously my issue, so bravo to you for being a willing and good passenger!
Well, I do know how we’ll divvy up the duties if you and I ever hit the road together! 😀
Concerning the very first part about playing chicken in a desert – I think you were too easy on the idiots. 🙂
You said it.
Driving up 101 has been on my list for a few years now…I’ve only been on it in sections of Oregon.
So much fantastic scenery, so many charming towns and spots-in-the-road. You will love it!
You’ve reminded me that my mother’s sister felt too beset to drive; her husband did all the driving.
I’m very glad I know *how* to drive, for those times when it’s necessary (and I’ve known people who were virtually imprisoned by not knowing how or having a license–car or no car), but I’m even gladder when I don’t *have* to drive.
Free Range Chicken indeed!
*And* I am 100% organic. As no doubt the local vultures will figure out if and when my road luck runs out. 😉