We’re in Melbourne for a couple of days so that we can show baby bear to the officials at the US consulate and apply for his passport. It’s been a lovely couple of days packed full of last minute life admin tasks and meeting up with good friends. One of our biggest problems when we come to Melbourne is always lack of time. There are so many people here that we know and love that we never have as much time as we want to visit with them all and have long and leisurely catch ups.
Another big problem for me – a more serious one – is the traffic. City driving has never been something I love, and after a year of living without a car in a small town and then the last five months of hardly driving at all, Melbourne driving freaks me out. There are so many cars, and people, and trams, and lights flashing, and signs that are hard to read, and narrow lanes…
I have done my best not to be that white-knuckled passenger in the front seat of the car who gasps ever time the driver comes within 10 feet of any obstacle. I have failed more than once.
(As a side-note, you’d think that all this car-related anxiety would at least be good for helping me remember before we are five minutes into our drive to strap the baby into the car capsule. Not so. You would also think that after making this mistake once two nights ago I wouldn’t repeat it today. Not so. After Dominic has fallen asleep in that capsule inside the house and we’ve carried the whole lot out to the car to go somewhere, it’s turned out to be surprisingly hard to remember that there are seatbelts buried underneath the blankets that need to be done up before embarking.)
Anyway, we made it to the consulate today – no thanks to me in terms of navigation or driving – and while we were waiting Mike reminded me that driving related hypervigilance is not a new thing, though I think it’s gotten worse since baby bear’s birth. He referenced a conversation we had more than two and a half years ago now. It could just as easily have taken place today. So, in honour of Melbourne traffic, here’s that dialogue:
Mike and Lisa are driving back from a book reading at Hollywood. Lisa has done quite well, she only gets a little tightly wound when they are in heavy traffic, or looking for a park on sunset blvd, or turning corners (so, approximately 82% of the commute). She flinches when Mike turns into their own driveway at the end of the evening and points out a bicyclist.
The following exchange ensues:
Lisa: “Sorry I’m so jumpy, I don’t know why.”
Mike: “Yes, you are a bit … skittish… in the car”
Lisa: “Yes, like an Arabian thoroughbred racing horse. A finely-tuned miracle of breeding and class.”
Mike – silent
Lisa: “Or like a donkey. A traumatized donkey who’s been frequently beaten, and exposed to too many loud tractor noises.”
Mike – silent
Lisa: “Horse or donkey?”
Mike – silent
Lisa: “Horse or donkey? HORSE or DONKEY? HORSE OR DONKEY?????”
Mike: “You see me? This is me keeping my mouth shut. This is a husband who knows a lose lose situation when he sees one.”
Want more dialogues? Here are a couple of my favorites from our early marriage discussions: