Tag Archives: traffic

Horse or donkey?

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:

Hanging out in Melbourne with our friend's awesome dog, Jasper

In, out, and about

It has been a quiet weekend. I ran myself all over town last week (including a 2 hour 20 minute drive from Pasadena to Westwood on Thursday to farewell good friends who are moving back to Australia). I had such good plans for how the evening would go. I was going to turn up at their place as a calm and caring presence. After all, I am an expert on relocation and farewells – I have done both far too many times. I was going to be cool and collected, ask insightful questions about their transition, and bring take out for dinner so that we could have a lovely, intimate, farewell sitting in the middle of their empty living room and eating off paper plates.

None of that came to pass.

The 110 was crawling, and so was the 10. TWO HOURS AND TWENTY MINUTES after I left work I arrived at their appt frazzled, exhausted, and having left my wallet on my desk at the office. No calm, cool, and collected presence. No money to buy take out. I lay on the floor of their appt for 10 minutes and then we went out for dinner.

They paid.

I did pull myself together at some stage and we had a lovely conversation. I was glad I’d gone – even with the traffic.

LA, oh how I love thee… let me count the ways.

Traffic would not be on that love list, by the way.

Anyway, it was a busy week and I was ragged by Thursday night. So, knowing that I had a busy week upcoming too, I turned down several other lovely friends who suggested dinner and stayed indoor nursing a sore throat and snuggling on the couch with my laptop.

Which is not nearly as good a snuggle buddy as my husband…

Who is currently on some remote island north of Banda Aceh in Indonesia and who I will not get to talk to again for another 48 hours. (In proofing this entry before I pressed published I noticed that I originally 48 days instead of hours… sometimes it feels that way).


Silver lining??? I am making good progress on the next book.

And I did laundry for the first time in three weeks – which may not sound that exciting, but is.

Trust me.

Thanks for stopping by,