by Sherry Kukla
I was up early packing a lunch for the guy-inthe-garage who was getting ready to head off for work some years back. We had been chatting about plans for the upcoming weekend, while he finished eating breakfast. As he passed by me on his way to the kitchen sink, he patted my shoulder and said “When I get home I’ll have my favorite helper help me hook up the trailer to the motorhome.”
I got real indignant real fast. “I’m not helping you hook that trailer up!”
He started chuckling and said “I wasn’t talking about you.”
Glad as I was that I wouldn’t have to help, I was even more indignant that he meant someone else when he referred to his “favorite helper.” Lucky for him it was one of our kids.
I admit I’m somewhat timid about giving hand signals when it comes to helping him back that monster up. And maybe I’ve goofed up a time or two. For instance, when he hit the house or backed out onto the street and found himself face to face with a city bus. He claims those things are my fault because I’m telling him what to do and when to do it. Well, he rarely listens to me when he’s working on a project, so why doesn’t he just carry over those same communication standards when I’m trying to direct him into or off of a busy street. The truth is, he’d probably have better luck if he just went with his gut feeling rather than actually pay attention to what I’m telling him.
He makes me drive that thing too. Even pulling a trailer.
The time I nearly took out the pumps at a gas station in New Mexico he didn’t even have enough compassion to take over the driver’s seat. I think he muttered something like “You got us into this mess, you get us out.”
Of course, he still hadn’t gotten over the frustration of me driving 50 miles with the emergency brake on. That brake caused so much smoke inside and outside of the motorhome, we thought the thing was on fire. Enough smoke to wake up the guy-in-thegarage who was asleep in the back. He jumped up and hollered out: “Pull over!”
Unfortunately for all of the occupants of the vehicle, we were in the midst of a major construction zone and I don’t really like driving in construction zones. Obedient wife that I am, I yanked the steering wheel hard to the right.
“Well, don’t kill us while you’re doing it!” he yelled as he unlatched the fire extinguisher from its place behind my seat.
He searched the inside and outside of the motorhome, then climbed back in and gave me one of those looks. “Do you have the emergency brake on?” he asked.
“Emergency brake?” I mumbled about as timidly as I give directions for backing onto the trailer. At least he was kind enough not to bring up the fact that we had just spent $800 on a brake job before leaving for this adventure.
Then there was the time he was trying to sleep in the back while we were driving home from a Las Vegas off road outing. We were climbing a steep hill and I was going very slow. But then I came upon a truck going even slower. I didn’t want to put my brakes on and stay behind him, so I made the major mistake of trying to pass him.
Unfortunately, while I was going a little faster than him – I was not going enough faster to actually get around him in any sort of timely fashion that would please the other drivers on the road, who, I might add were wanting to drive considerably faster than I was.
All that honking woke up the guy-in-the-garage. “What are you doing in the fast lane?!” he yelled while looking out the window at the line of cars behind us and the diesel truck to the right of us.
You know, now that I think of all this, I realize he hasn’t had me drive the motorhome in a very long time. Same goes for backing him up onto the trailer.
And you know what? We’re both a whole lot happier for it.
Sherri Kukla is the editor and co-publisher of S&S Off Road Magazine. She along with her husband, the guy-in-the-garage, are also the founders and directors of Thundering Trails off road camp for inner city kids in Southern California. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.ssorm.com