There is a car commercial where a young couple is camping and gets rained out. As they speed away, the guy realizes he has lost his sunglasses somewhere along the journey. The couple begins to retrace their steps, laughing and giggling all the way. As the guy is coming out of a cave, he flips his hoodie up and his glasses tumble out. His wife or girlfriend giggles as if to say, “Oh you, so silly!” The guy shrugs his shoulders as if to say, “I know! Silly me!” In reality, that’s doesn’t happen.
Anyone in a relationship, let alone a marriage, knows full well that sort of shit is not funny. Car rides are always one misstep away from a full on donnybrook. Maybe on a first date misplaced sunglasses on a long car ride is funny. On any subsequent trip, misplaced sunglasses can lead to hours of tension and cold stares.
But sunglasses can be a metaphor for many other tenuous devices that can cause strife in a car ride with your “loved one”. They can include: traffic, closed rest areas, bad weather or deciding on a place to eat. (Sometimes it can be caused by something as innocuous as, say, breathing the wrong way.) Trouble usually starts when someone says, “Are you upset?” or, “Don’t be upset.” This is met with an immediate, “I AM NOT UPSET!” Feel the tension descend.
But upon examination, one would find that these triggers are not in and of themselves the problem. The problem is that men and women have difficulty (hate) riding together. We can function perfectly well at a party or dinner – but the ride to and from is many times fraught with a fragility that rivals any mid-east cease fire.
But barring an astounding leap in teleportation technology (and believe me, the men working feverishly on this technology are those who are most likely car pooling with their wives to work), men and women will be driving together for years to come. Therefore, the best advice I can give is, try to ignore each other as much as possible when driving. If this sounds cruel and childish, I will suggest you have either, a) never been in love, or b) do not cherish your relationship. For those of us in longstanding, solid relationships, we have found that nothing says “I love you” like not speaking to each other in the car. (And if you do misplace your sunglasses, shut up about it, I promise you no one will care.)