You're Driving Me Nuts! How Couples Co-Exist In Cars

Who gets the driver's seat? Image by Hugo90 via Flickr

Anyone who’s spent time in a vehicle with a loved one knows the drill — the gasp, the shriek, the moan, the whine. These are not engine sounds. These are the sounds of your sweetie driving you mad.

Funny story in today’s Wall Street Journal:

Beverly Floyd will never forget the worst argument she ever had with her husband—a fight that saw the couple screaming at each other and hurling insults of “crazy” and “psycho.”

A spat about finances? The kids? Work? Nope. It was about which one of them should gas up the car.

The fireworks started when the couple pulled into a service station while on a return leg of a road trip. Already silently fuming that he hadn’t offered to do his share of the driving, Ms. Floyd was astounded when her then-boyfriend didn’t lift a finger to pump the gas. So she did it herself and paid for it. As she got back into the car, he handed her a $20 bill.

Bad idea. She threw it at him. He tossed it back at her. She ripped it up. He shredded the cash she kept in the ashtray. She ripped up the money in his wallet. All told, they destroyed about $200 in a matter of minutes. (They spent their evening trying to match serial numbers and tape the shredded pieces of money together.)

Then she married him?

The sweetie and I leave this weekend for a road trip to Vermont and Quebec, about six hours of driving each way. That’s nothing, for us, as we’ve made the drive to Toronto — about 10+ hours — several times and once drove from Seattle to Vancouver, Canada late at night in a rush to get to my sick mother. We’re actually pretty good in the car, an old Subaru Forester, as it’s one of our few chances to catch up with one another uninterrupted by phone or computer. He commutes to the city every day so he gets to do (happily) most of the driving because he misses it. When we cross into Canada he jokes with the border guards that he’s returning a national treasure. They’re OK with it.

He does tend to second-guess me sometimes, which irritates the hell out of me. My most egregious slip? Flipping the bird at a driver ahead of us while on a very long bridge. I’ve never seen him so angry, and it’s since verboten. (I still do it, just beneath the dashboard.)

What does your partner do that drives you nuts? Or vice versa?

Class Rage? Was He Drunk? Will He Get A Fair Trial? Toronto A-Buzz Over Cyclist's Death

Photograph of a damaged bicycle, to illustrate...
Image via Wikipedia

Class warfare between a wealthy attorney and his wife, cruising town in their luxury convertible and a feisty-but-lovable bike courier? Road rage gone rampant? Should the cops have stopped the cyclist who’d been drinking? What really happened on the most elegant shopping block in Toronto — its equivalent of Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue or Madison, or Chicago’s Miracle Mile?

I grew up in Toronto and there’s never been a story quite like it, striking especially hard in a larger culture that still prides itself, even in a sprawling, multicultural city of more than two million, on tolerance and public civility. A place where in-your-face confrontation — pretty standard stuff in some American cities — is rare and deemed repugnant, and rarely escalates into a killing. People, there, don’t shoot one another over a parking spot or other perceived minor injustice.

The standard narrative isn’t working, writes Globe and Mail columnist Judith Timson, but this case, she writes, is one that Toronto can’t stop talking about.

Ontario's Ex-Prosecutor Kills Toronto Cyclist in Road Rage

In one of the most bizarre and terrifying stories out of my hometown, Toronto, here’s one about a rising political star who killed a cyclist. The New York Times today reports how Michael Bryant, in an apparent fit of road rage, crushed and killed a young bike courier.

It’s every urban cyclist’s nightmare to hit a car. It’s beyond imaginable that the driver then tries to kill you.