The first time I saw a “Jesus, take the wheel” bumper sticker, it made me nuts.
Oh, for crap’s sake. No. NO. Do not, under any circumstances, assume Jesus is operating your motherf#%king vehicle.
I don’t want to talk about religious entities.
I want to talk about malignant narcissism and driving.
My dad behaved as though someone was going to f#*k him over, so he might as we might as well approach life on the offensive.
Since my dad existed in a “pre-butthurt” state most the time, he had little patience while driving. You could feel the first swell of anger as soon as the engine started. He wouldn’t make it more than a few minutes before he was foaming at the mouth furious at another driver, a pedestrian, or one of his kids.
Nothing was worse than driving on the expressway.
We were poor growing up, but my dad would never miss at least a week in Florida. That was life for him. Driving down and staying in Pompano Beach for a week was the pinnacle of success. Or at least a gasping attempt at not feeling like a complete failure.
I logged a lot of expressway miles with my dad.
Everyone else on the road was trying to f#*k him over. They were all out to get him. Except the truck drivers. The truck drivers weren’t out to get just him, they just sucked. The truck drivers thought they owned the goddamn road and were all drug addicts.
If he went to the pass another car, my dad would insist they were speeding up, whether they were or they weren’t. He would say “Oh, lookee here. We got ourselves a racer.”
He would pass the guy, and then slow down, just so he could pass him again.
If another driver tried to pass, he would say “Look at Mario Pollack, here. Goddamn maniac,” Then, he would speed up and make it difficult for the other driver to pass.
I feel bad about using the slur, but I felt it would be helpful to highlight the charm that was my father.
Vacation travel was tense. Our safety, the safety of others, never ever came first.
His need to retaliate against every perceived slight was priority one.
I used to have anger issues. I mean, not scary anger issues, but not insignificant anger issues. I’m mostly better. I don’t know if my emotional maturity came in or if I just got tired of being angry because it is goddamn exhausting to be angry.
I say mostly better, because I still have anger issues in the car. I am quick to get annoyed by other drivers. They better react when the light turns red or I am cursing them hard enough to bend time. If they speed up when I’m trying to pass them, I have dark little fantasies about cars equipped with rocket launchers like in The Road Warrior.
I don’t want to be like my dad, so I am working on it. I’m not going to lie, the progress is slow, but it is progress. I read something in an article to imagine floating down a river and there are twigs and logs floating along with you. You wouldn’t get annoyed with them, they’re just there. Floating with you. Just imagine the other drivers as logs and sticks floating along beside you.
That actually helps me a little, to remember that. Until a goddamn twig won’t let me merge.
Still, I am working on it because I know it is my problem and I want to do better. My dad never would have. That isn’t something narcissists do.
Can you imagine what it would be like if someone like my dad were driving the entire country?
I f#*king shudder to think.