I used to consider myself a very good passenger on road trips, short or long. I could disassociate myself from the driving, enjoy the scenery or read a book; implicitly putting my faith in whomever was behind the wheel..
In the decades since I met and fell in love with he who shall be named "Lead-Foot" I have relinquished all pretense at relaxation in the passenger seat. We jolt and zig-zag and zoom around. I have been told that the brake pads suffer less wear and tear when stomped on at the last possible second. Many a driver who was daydreaming along behind, albeit a little too close for safety, has suddenly discovered how a tow-hitch can seriously indent a front bumper. For my enjoyment there is the additional surprise factor of never quite knowing whether or not Lead-Foot has noticed the stop sign, traffic light or, his favorite, pedestrians.
I wrote previously about how inconvenient it is to Lead-Foot that small people are not always visible above the front of the car. "What's that knocking?" I have heard him ask at marked cross walks deviously hidden by elderly folk in San Francisco's China Town. "What are they thinking walking off the sidewalk?" "They could cause an accident!"
This morning Lead-Foot left before me as we both headed out to work. There is a straight stretch of highway between home and the freeway on-ramp. The speed limit is 40 mph. I was at about 41 mph as I noticed the motor cycle cop looking for prey with his radar gun. My momentary worry that he might come after me stemmed from years of my English "Rules are Rules" heritage. I was checking my rear view mirror for flashing lights until I saw that someone else had already been sidelined by his partner further ahead. As I passed I realized that I knew that car. I resisted the urge to stop, offer to translate or provide drivers license number etc. Lead-Foot often forgets his wallet. It has saved him before that I had put a photo copy of his papers in the glove box. Even if it's not the original, a cop can run a verification on his computer to be sure he's only dealing with an idiot, not an axe-murderer.
The recent complete loss of Lead-Foot's original license, which he blames on the traffic stop before last, meant that a new license had recently been applied for and received. I've asked the man of my dreams several times if he had put a copy in his car.
I decided, as I drove ruthlessly by, that it wasn't really my problem. Let the consequences fall where they may. I made it twenty minutes along the road before my phone rang with a familiar caller ID. The traffic stop was complete but, when Lead-Foot was allowed to proceed he couldn't. Flat battery, dead as a door nail.
Triple A are the heroes of the hour. I pulled off the road, made a call and directed them to Lead-foot's whereabouts. I'm always amazed that there is no red flag warning attached to our account. We certainly get our money's worth from the roadside assistance insurance. I did ask them if they were willing to take him and keep him, sort of like a belated Christmas present. That's unfortunately not part of our coverage.