The Widows’ Adventures

My sister recommended this book to me.the-widows-adventures.jpg It is well worth reading. The basic premise — a blind woman driving while her sighted sister (who can’t drive) gives directions — doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of the book. Beautiful, scary and funny all at once. They feel they have to get from Chicago, where they live, to California. I suppose it reminds me of something my sister and I would do if we could drive over the bridge.749px-cape_cod_bourne_bridge_and_railroad_bridge.jpg We both have driving issues. We live on Cape Cod and the only way to get off the Cape is to drive over one of two bridges. Neither one of us can do it. Once I get over the bridge I get panic attacks, bad ones. The road starts moving and I start shaking and my heart starts pounding. It’s just an accident waiting to happen. I can drive over the bridge if my daughter or son is driving the car, though I only do it if I have to. I can’t remember the last time my sister went over the bridge.

About twelve or thirteen years ago, Barbara and I decided to go visit our mother who had dementia and had been temporarily put in a hospital about 30 miles over the bridge. I was going to drive and we would go the back way on back roads and not use the highway. That’s the last time the two of us together tried to go over the bridge. We made it to the hospital but came very close to calling someone to come and get us. But I became determined to get us home. With my sister’s encouragement we made it. Triumphant!!! Notice she wouldn’t take the wheel though. But we would never do it again.

But then I think, if our daughters were a thousand miles away and needed us (I can’t even imagine why they would), could my sister and I make the drive? We certainly couldn’t fly, at least not without drugs and alcohol which you really can’t do if you drive. There’s always a bus, but I don’t trust very many people’s driving. I will drive with my sister at the wheel but only in town. I will drive over the bridge but only with my son, daughter, or ex-husband at the wheel (and not too far). I certainly won’t drive with some strange bus driver, who probably spent the last half hour at a bar.bus.jpg

Fortunately, the Cape has everything I need. My whole family lives here, except my son who can drive here anytime he wants to. He likes to drive. Right now he does valet parking at a children’s hospital in Buffalo. If he wants to see me, he knows where I live. Actually, the poor thing really can’t drive here anytime he wants. His minivan hardly runs. But he’s learning a life lesson right now and that is you have to work for what you want, not just expect your parents to hand it over to you. Anyway I digress. If I can’t find what I want on the Cape, there’s the internet, which is where I buy most of my stuff anyway. So I really don’t need to go over the bridge. So why worry about it. I’ve got lots of other things I can worry about.


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Life With Buck
    Dec 01, 2007 @ 17:41:28

    That’s something I really, really miss about the Cape … the ability to go five, ten years without going over the bridge. When I was young it didn’t bother me, but then in the 80s that mentally disturbed women who drove a tractor trailer was sitting in traffic and got fed up … and DROVE OVER THE CARS. Remember? She killed people. After that, I didn’t like driving over the bridges anymore. One time I went six years without going off Cape.

    Making matters worse, when Bourne was my beat at the E, the chief of police told me he considered the bridges to be extremely dangerous and he didn’t allow his teenagers to drive on them!

    I took my Driver Ed classes at Bourne High and the first place the teacher brought us was the rotary. Can you imagine? Trapped in a car with a bunch of 16-year-olds who circled the rotary, practicing getting on and off it, for countless hours in July traffic? It was terrifying. I flunked my license exam the first time, and I blame it on that Driver Ed course.

    Loved the bus photo, by the way.


  2. Life With Buck
    Dec 01, 2007 @ 17:47:56

    Also in high school: the big activity when there was nothing to do was to get stoned and WALK over the Bourne Bridge. I tried countless times and I never even got halfway, never even got to the part where the water begins, before I freaked out and ran back. My friends always continued on and I had to wait in the car alone for like an hour till they came back and made fun of me.


  3. joanharvest
    Dec 01, 2007 @ 17:48:29

    I still am not good at rotaries. I had to have Sarah teach me how to do it correctly. I avoid them whenever I can. I also never take left hand turns. I only take right hand turns and go to where I’m going the long way, sometimes a really long way. Occasionally in the winter if there is no traffic I will take a left. Or if Damon’s with me I will close my eyes if I’m driving and he will yell go and then I slam my foot on the gas, open my eyes and pray he didn’t screw up. He hates it when I won’t take a left.


  4. Life With Buck
    Dec 01, 2007 @ 17:50:25

    ALSO: Did you know Buck used to bicycle over the bridge to work every day when he had Village Cycles? Every day, and back again at night (sometimes late at night, like 1 AM) and it never even bothered him. The E took a photo of him doing it, which I think I’ll post and blog about sometime this week. But how fucking terrifying is that? He did it from May to October-November for 12 years!


  5. joanharvest
    Dec 01, 2007 @ 19:49:42

    When I was young Barry and I walked about halfway over the bridge. I also have a fear of heights. I couldn’t get off that bridge fast enough. I can’t imagine how Buck had the nerve to drive over it every day. Did it bother him or did he enjoy it?


  6. CuriousC
    Dec 02, 2007 @ 12:36:12

    Ah, the ‘BRIDGE’… I freaked out the first time I drove over it but made it fine by driving in the center of the 2 lanes going (white line not yellow line!). I also made my friend from KS drive over it when she came to visit; swung around the Bourne Ro-TAR-y, and back over again. She was a bit mad at me, but she survived. Right of passage for SoMass and CapeCod, if you ask me.

    My fave issue with bridges in this state… On the Bourne Bridge, there are NICE signs advising phone numbers to call if you feel the need to jump but a bridge in North Weymouth says, “NO JUMPING”. so there. Forget about it, don’t even think it.


  7. CuriousC
    Dec 02, 2007 @ 12:38:40

    Oh, tech issue for you JH.. go to your profile and enter into the box for your website URL… save and then when you post elsewhere, your name will allow linking back to your website… try it and/or let me know if I’ve just confused ya! “C”


  8. joanharvest
    Dec 02, 2007 @ 15:22:19

    Thanks, CuriousC, I just went to my profile and did it. I still have a lot to learn about this blogging business but I find it fun. The next time I feel like jumping off a bridge I’ll stay away from North Weymouth. I avoid rotaries at all cost.


  9. Emily
    Dec 02, 2007 @ 16:18:06

    I used to feel the same way about rotaries (especially the old Sagamore rotary) and those damn bridges but now that I live in Wareham and work on Cape I have no choice but to drive over the Bourne bridge every day. It gets way easier with practice, but I’ve either seen or been in so many near misses, it’s sickening. Really wish I could just work out of the house and stay in my jammies all day.


  10. joanharvest
    Dec 02, 2007 @ 16:28:23

    I’m still in my jammies and it’s 3:30 but it’s Sunday so it’s OK. I get dressed up every other day, even the days I don’t go anywhere. I’m really trying hard not to be a couch potato. I haven’t watched TV during the day in weeks. I’m just such a busy lady. How’s Maggie? She’s so cute. Your Mom loves babysitting for her. Hopefully she doesn’t give Tess a heart attack from all the running around they do. Well, at least I have Yoda. He acts like a dog.


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