The Great Driving Experiment

A western suburb. 12:15PM

The car’s engine hums smoothly.  I nervously clutch the gear, ready to shift into “Reverse” and take a deep breath.

Jodi, my psyche id, grumbles from the back seat. “Did you turn on the heat? It’s still cold in here.”

I pause to fiddle with the controls. “It’ll take time for the engine to warm up.”

Jada, my superego, clears her throat from the passenger side. “How can you be cold? You’re an id.”

Jodi pouts. “Still get cold. I notice we’re all bundled in coats just like Judi’s.”

Quiet One, my ego now called Julie, snickers in the back. “We are Judi.  Just don’t make her more nervous than she already is.”

Jodi sighs.  “I know she hasn’t driven in 20 years!  She just needs to relax and forget that she’s maneuvering two tons of steel out onto the road with other moving tons of steel and reach the movie theater.”

I shrink a little. “Right.”

Julie elbows Jodi.  “Ready when you are.”

Jada clears her throat again.

I shift gears, back out of the space and start making laps around the building ring road to familiarize myself with the controls.

Jada beams. “You’re doing well!”

Jodi leans forward points over my shoulder.  “OMG!”

I nearly stamp on the brakes, looking for an oncoming diesel. “What? WHAT?”

Her surprisingly manicured finger points more. “The windshield is fogging up!”

Can a psyche fog windows?  I was pretty sure I’d stopped breathing.  Pulling over near the meadow, I fiddle some more.  The window defogs.

Jada frowns.  “It’s sunny out.  You should put on some shades.”

Now suddenly aware of the sun, I squint. “Don’t have them with me…”

Jodi tuts.  “We should go back for them.”

I add, frustration rising, “… because I can’t find them!” I stare pointedly in the rear view mirror back at Jodi.

Julie intercedes. “Another time maybe?  We should be getting to the theater.”

I nod nervously, head to the main road and stop at the light.

Jodi sits back and chirps brightly. “Let’s kick it.  I can taste that popcorn now.”

Jada frowns.  “If we’re heading just across this street, shouldn’t we be in the middle lane?”

Uh oh. I peer at the chalky road where salt has whited out the lines. “I think we are.”  It looks like the middle.

The left turn light flashes.  A car behind me honks.

Jodi yelps. “OMG, we’re in the wrong lane!  What will we do?”

I grit my teeth. Can I murder myself – just a little piece?  Was she always this excitable? “There’s nothing I can do.”

Julie suddenly speaks.  “It’s okay.  We’re straddling the line just a little. Just shoot across when you can.”

The light turns green.  I cross the road and head onto the mall’s ring road.

Jada nods encouragingly.  “Nice right turn.”

Jodi is ever helpful.  “Look out, stop sign!”

I grip the wheel.  “I can see the stop signs!”

She’s relentless. “And watch out for that woman walking to that car…”

“She’s forty feet away!”

Jodi takes umbrage. “Well, you don’t have to yell.  You know gals, Judi seems way too stressed.  Say, you’re passing up parking spaces….”

I park in a wide open area and shut off the engine, sagging in relief.   Julie gives me a quiet nod of approval.  “You done good.”

Jada pats my hand and smiles.

Jodi cheers. “Told you we would get here alright.  We’re a team. Now we can see the movie and drive back home.”

I groan, then follow my posse into the cold.

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