Panorama of San Bernardino

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Driving Ms. Judy

Friday was a county holiday and I had to take my car to be serviced in Baldwin Park.  The question was how to get there.  Adrian was at work, my mother-in-law doesn't drive anymore and I was left with the scary proposition of driving with my mom Judy. 

My mom's bad driving is legendary.  When I was little, I thought everyone swerved from lane to lane yelling obscenities at other drivers.  It is not just that my mom is a bad driver, an erratic driver and an incompetent driver, she is a scary driver.  I have post traumatic stress from driving with my mom as a child because she always closed her eyes whenever a semi-truck was in the next lane. 

About six months ago, I got a message on my cell from my mom.  It started out benign.  "Hi Honey, just calling to say hi", she said.  All of a sudden I heard beeping in the background as my mom screamed, "Motherfucking asshole, shit for brains, get out of my way."  She dropped the F bomb at least another five times.  At the end of her tirade she said, "Honey, call me back".

Thus, you understand my quite rational hesitation to have my mom follow me to the mechanic.   However, when I balanced my hesitation against the fact that my eight year old Mercedes was two thousand miles over service and needed brakes, the car service won out.  I had no choice but to risk it. 

As I drove south on the 15 freeway, my mom followed me in her white 1993 Honda Accord.  She moved from lane to lane at only forty miles an hour.  I pulled over on the shoulder and waited for her.   She drove by me shaking her head and muttering to herself.  

As we got on the 210 heading west, I slowed down to let her catch up and watched her in my rear view mirror as she moved from lane to lane.  I called her and screamed, "Mom, stay behind me."  She got behind me after she cut off a green taxi driver who sped by her with his finger in the air.  I tried to drive slow enough, I really did, but soon despite my best efforts to stay at fifty five, I was at least five cars ahead of her.

I wish I could say it got better from there, but it didn't.  We hopped on the 57 south and after about ten minutes, I merged to get on the 10 and she almost missed the on ramp.  I watched her cross three lanes of traffic. 

By the time we hit Kellong Hill, my mom was so far behind me that I couldn't see her.  I tried to call her again but my phone died.  I slowed down to forty five on the uphill crest and it took about ten minutes and a lot of head wagging by other drivers as they passed me for her to catch up.

When we finally got to the shop in Baldwin Park, I breathed a sigh of relief.  I felt as if the world had somehow righted itself again.  Until I had to drive her car home. 

My mom's car is a piece of shit.  I can say this because I helped buy her the piece of shit for cash after her car blew its engine and got repossessed.  My sisters and I pitched in what we could but we only had two thousand dollars.  We got our money's worth.  The air doesn't work, the tint is coming off the windows and worst of all, her rear view mirror is broken.  

I drove my mom home with one hand on the wheel and one hand on the mirror trying to fix it.

At least I got to drive.

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