Saturday, April 7, 2012

What's worse than an old person driving...

Years ago, my Mother’s husband, God rest his soul, would go to the YMCA for a work out, maybe a swim, a sauna, or a friendly game of racket ball. He always stopped off at his favorite watering hole on the way home, lest he dehydrate from such a strenuous workout. ‘Round about 6:00 o’clock, Joe would come home, drunk. My sister and I loved to do our comedy spiel…
“Hey, Margaret, what’s worse than an old person driving?”
“I don’t know, Liz, what?”
“A drunk old person driving.”
One day, while Joe was playing racket ball, he was hit in the eye. It was serious enough to need a pirate patch, and he eventually lost the sight in that eye. Margaret and I, being the sick little puppies that we are, added to our comedy routine. The punch line is – an old, blind, drunk driver.
Today, I was invited to lunch with my friends, Franz and Trixie. Franz is 83. Or is he 84? Well, anyway, I remember about a year ago I drove with Franz, and SWORE I would never drive with him again. Ever. He floors the gas, and PUMPS the power breaks. Brakes haven’t needed to be pumped on any model of car after 1952. Full gas, brake, brake, brake. Full gas, brake, brake, brake. Alas, today Franz drove. I made Trixie sit in back so I could make it there without puking. But she was very firm with Franz. “Now, Lovie,” she said, “Lizzy gets car sick, so take it easy.” And he did. He drove nice and slow, and didn’t gun it or pump the brakes. Our lunch was delish. They both ordered trout, and except for the fact that the decapitated fish heads were staring at me from the bone plate, it was great. Franz ordered a small beer, Trix and I had soda. After lunch, the waiter offered us a schnapps “on the house.” Well, by all means! After a beer and a schnapps, Franz started to go back to 1940-something. As I listened, I was thinking what nice eyes he has. They’re a baby blue. They’re milky baby blue. They’re – holy shit, they are old-man-cataract-blue. It was then I remembered our joke. In all fairness, Franz was not drunk. Not even tipsy. Old German men have a tolerance of about – Oh I don’t know – six beers, four shots of 60% pure grain, and a few glasses of red wine. So, Franz was fine to drive. HOWEVER… He was thumb driving. I CANNOT stress to you how much I hate thumb drivers. My husband thumb drives, and looks out every window of the car except the one IN FRONT of him. Ten o’clock, and two o’clock. That’s where your hands should be on the steering wheel. Not your left thumb at seven o’clock. I knew if I said something he would, without hesitation, ask me if I wanted to drive. And not in his nice voice. And while asking me, he would look at me, (and not the road). So I kept staring at his thumb, which wasn’t even on the wheel half the time. It must have been too tiring, because he kept resting his hand on his lap. In my head I kept screaming like a crazy person… “We’re all going to die! Do you hear me, Thumby, we’re ALL GOING TO DIE!!”
We didn’t die, because here I am writing about it. What’s worse than an old, drunk, blind, thumb driver? Nothing, that’s what.