Monday, August 18, 2008

Fear of Riding

The question is: Are you a nervous traveller?

That's this week's question posted by David McMahon over at Authorblog. Every Sunday, he posts a different question and then asks anyone who wants to respond to do so and to link the post back to his site.

I've not been a world traveller, not by a long shot. I've never travelled by train, flown on three occasions so not too much to write about fear of travelling in that respect.

On those three airplane flights -two being coast-to-coast and the other, just a sort of "puddle jump" type flight from the old airport that used to be located about 12 miles from here to Philadelphia where I then changed planes to complete my trip to Washington, D.C. -I don't recall being really fearful on any of them. Yes, on the first flight -the one to Philly and ending at D.C., I was a bit anxious since it was my first flight ever and I really had no idea what to expect. Would I get sick was probably my biggest worry. I do have a fear of heights too so I was initially concerned about that but once the plane took off, I found myself fascinated as I looked out the window at the earth, far below me and it didn't frighten me the way I had worried it would.

I do love to travel a bit when I can, by car. I don't now, nor have I ever really had any opportunity to take any long automobile trips but I always liked to drive so any trip could be classified as an adventure of sorts for me.

However, there is one area where I often become quite afraid when it comes to travelling in a car and that involves riding with my older daughter. That girl has the capacity to definitely put the fear of God into me, ten-fold!

She tends first and foremost to have a bit of a lead foot. That's kind of putting it mildly at times. She can also become very stubborn about slowing down too. Tailgating is another thing she often does, which scares the heck out of me as well. And now, since she has a cell phone, it's just one more distraction for her and one that really sends me straight up the proverbial wall.

Two years ago this past January, I had some health issues that the local doctor sent me to Pittsburgh to have a "needle biopsy" -something our local hospital no longer has staff and equipment to provide here -and so, older daughter said she would drive me to Pittsburgh. Mandy normally is my transportation provider on long trips particularly those involving medical issues and she was six months pregnant at that time so she really didn't want to be driving that far.

That particular trip was especially difficult for me as it seemed every 10-15 minutes, the cell phone was ringing and it was her fiance calling to check in on us -how far we had travelled since his previous phone call, asking all kinds of petty questions ya know, and just enough conversation to be quite distracting for her while driving. (In my opinion, anyway!) At one point, on the Parkway, coming out of Pittsburgh and near Monroeville, daughter was zipping along, yakking on the phone, etc, and not paying attention to the traffic (rush hour, no less) in front of us that had come to a standstill and we almost rear-ended a nice big SUV and could have created a hell of a chain reaction accident too but thankfully, providence was with us.

That, and a few other episodes on that trip caused me -when I got back home -to tell Mandy to PLEASE, don't ever make me ride to Pittsburgh ever again with her older sister at the wheel!

Another thing with that daughter and her driving is she has absolutely no sense of direction! On that trip mentioned above and all subsequent trips we've made together to PIttsburgh, without fail, every time we get off Interstate 80 at the Brookville exchange, she has to ask me which direction should she now take -east or west! My standard line to her has been for her to follow Horace Greeley's line and "Go West, Go West young woman." (Ok, his line is "young man" and I changed the sex there.)

Truthfully, I think my older daughter knows that she holds this power over me to make me nervous and rather fearful when riding with her and she loves nothing better much of the time than to do things simply to bedevil me. So I think many of the things she does while driving are done for that purpose -just to see how far she can push the envelope and scare the living crapola out of me in the process!

Kids! They never do stop testing their parents' patience I guess, do they?


Keith said...


This post hits home for me. I will NEVER get in a vehicle again that my daughter is driving in. The last time I did was about a year ago when I asked her to drive me to the auto shop where I was getting some routine maintenance done on my car. She does everything you mentioned that your daughter does. Tailgates, drives way too fast, talks on her cell phone, etc etc.

On the way to the shop I had a meltdown after what I deemed several near misses with other moving objects. I told her to STOP THE DAMN CAR NOW! She did, and I got out and walked the rest of the way, in 110 degree heat mind you.

So I can definitely relate to your story.

Grace and Peace!

fermicat said...

I have an irrational fear of car crashes. It doesn't stop me from driving or anything. Just makes me feel neurotic.

Mary said...


My daughter is a good driver but she does have a bit of a lead foot. I don't mind driving with her too much. My mother on the other hand is a bit crazy, but she passed the mandatory driving test last year when she turned 80. Sometimes hubby drives me to distraction as well. I would much rather be behind the wheel than be a passenger. I feel more comfortable in control.

Enjoyed visiting with you. Take care and have a great week.


Gledwood said...

I'm not a particularly nervous traveller but I don't like the claustrophobia of flying on commercial jets.

Next time I go Paris (from here in London) I fully intend to go by train:~ wahey! How glamorous is that..??!?