David A. Bandel
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I love my wife. She's beautiful, intelligent, and she puts up with me (though the why of that is beyond my comprehension). But after over 18 years of marriage, some things do take their toll. She has lost patience with my driving. She will normally insist on driving when we are together, at least when it's an around town kind of thing (exceptions include in the pouring rain, dark of night, or worse, both).
Unfortunately, lately, she's been learning why my patience with Panamanian drivers is so low. Her tolerance has also dropped drastically. And as the traffic gets worse, and her fellow Panamanians invent even stupider driving tricks, she's started to sound a bit like me.
I guess I should be thankful for two things, the first being that I'm not the one driving, and the second that she's not (yet) as aggressive as I am at showing them in a somewhat dramatic manner how wrong they are (though I'm sure they're too stupid to ever see it that way).
My wife's biggest problem is that she has been out of the country. And while she was a bit timid to drive in the US, she got used to the high number (relatively) of cars on the road. She also got used to the way folks in the US drive, and will admit, when pressed on the point, that while she understands how her fellow Latinos drive, she's more than a bit embarrased by it.
While watching drivers here, I always think about the two four lane intersecting roads in Lacey, Washington, that has a four-way stop. I remember the first time my wife was with me when we came to it, and she was amazed at how everyone stopped, and methodically, two lanes at a time, cars went through the intersection, the rest patiently waiting their turn (I never saw an accident there). She would be the first to tell you that that intersection, located anywhere in Panama, would be called a junkyard.
But it may be time for me to stop letting her drive. Her screaming at the other drivers is starting to get on my nerves (although I think I only have one left). And while I'm not very complimentary, I think she may be getting worse.
At least, they don't scream back at her to go back to her country. Of course, I'm willing to bet that would only happen once.
David-Beauty and the Beast
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