From Driving Miss Daisy to Steel Magnolias
I’m taking my life in my hands driving in Omaha. Now before you convulse in fits of laughter, ask yourself the following questions:
1) Have I ever been to Omaha? Do I even know where Omaha is? Do I think Omaha and Oklahoma are one and the same? (I’ll give you a hint: Omaha is a city, not a state, and the two are not interchangeable.)
If you answered “no” to the above question, what are you waiting for? If it’s good enough for Omaha Steaks and The College World Series, it’s good enough for the rest of us.
If you answered “yes” to the above question, proceed to #2:
2) Have I ever driven in a car where Marge was the passenger?
If you answered “yes” to both of those questions, then you may be able to appreciate what I’m about to tell you.
As for getting around Omaha, this may be hard to believe, but we don’t ride horses to and from the feed store. Nope. Just to the grocery store. I’m kidding. I think I’ve only been on a horse twice in my life. At camp. When I was ten years old. We actually have cars and buses and taxi cabs in Omaha. We have a highway system with actual construction being done on that highway system. How do you think Warren Buffet makes his way around Omaha as he hops from bank to bank making his daily deposits? On a mule? Think again. The guy’s a genius and spends his day doing really smart stuff, not shoveling horse manure.
So I’ve spent the last 10 days in Omaha with Marge as my passenger much of the time. Although I’ve lived in Missouri for the last 25 years, I come back to Omaha often enough that I feel like I’ve got a fairly good grip on the highways and byways there. And I’ve been driving for 31 years so I feel like I’ve got a fairly good grip on the rules of the road. But in Marge’s book, I’m 16 all over again.
Marge: Turn here, Amy. Here. Right here. No, don’t turn! Are you crazy! There’s a car coming. Don’t turn. Oh my god, you just turned! Are you trying to kill me? Anyway, what was I saying? Do you like my hair? I like it. I think. I mean, I love the color, it’s just taking me awhile to get used to the….left lane, Amy. We have to turn in…
Me: Mom, we’re not turning for another 5 miles.
Marge: I like to be in the correct lane once I turn. Traffic can be so bad. Fine. Stay in this lane. I just can’t watch. So what was I saying? Something about…something about…I’m losing my mind. You know that, don’t you? Which reminds me of that Julia Roberts movie…you’re driving kind of slow, Amy. Why does it feel like we’re crawling? That movie? You know, with Dolly Parton and Sally Fields. Dolly Parton is the hairdresser. Seriously, Amy, get in the left lane. You have to turn. Not at this light. Or the next one. Or the next one. What was that movie? It was so sad. I just remember crying and crying.
AWWW! (she screams).
I throw on the brakes and grab my chest.
Me: What? What’s wrong?
Marge (smiling): I just remembered the name of the movie. Oh my god, did you just see that guy? He just turned right in front of you. You, bleep bleep! Nice move, bleep bleep! What an idiot!
I’ll admit, driving has never been my strong suit, but I’m not terrible. Except for the time I rear-ended my husband’s car. Twice. In a two minute period. Or the time I pulled into a parking spot and went in a little too far. Toward the light post. Or the couple of times I sideswiped the garage. Maybe three times. And I’ve yet to meet a curb I haven’t gotten up close and personal with. Okay, so maybe having the added distraction of a passenger is not good for a driver like me. Maybe instead of taking that right at the light, I end up taking a left and driving to Oklahoma instead of Omaha. Hey, do they drive cars in Oklahoma or just ride horses?