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Friday, January 13, 2012

Road Lessons Day 2: Pittsburgh to Charlotte

We all have strengths and weaknesses.

Day 2 saw us up early and on our way to Florida. Day 1 really just a quick drive and overnight stay at my sister-in-law's place. We left late, got there late and went to bed. Then up early and on our way. The visit with her and the family would have to come on the way back, at the end of the trip.

The day consisted of driving from Pittsburgh to Charlotte. I figured it at around 7 or 8 hours. It actually ended up being 6 and a half. I am a very fast driver, and the speed limit was consistently a bit higher on this route.
I am a fast driver. I admit that. I change lanes in heavy traffic at a speed that most would never attempt. I drive around sharp curves at a speed that would scare most drivers. But I can do all these things. I have the ability to drive at that level safely.
I am fearless and very durable. But I also know my limits and don't take dangerous foolish risks.
Of course,  I am stubborn and also at times a bit impatient. And I am not a very good passenger. I prefer to be the driver when I am in the car.
My wife, being the helpful sort,  wanted to drive a bit on this trip. I didn't need any help, and since we had a good nights sleep in Pittsburgh I didn't need any help on this part of the trip. But since she wanted to help, I let her drive when we got about halfway to Charlotte. At that point, we were deep in the mountains of Virginia. It was steep, very steep. The kind of steep where they have run offs for trucks that get out of control and can't stop. That steep. It was also windy and the curves were sharp.
As she took over, she tried her best. I made my way to the passenger seat and had planned on doing some writing. That didn't end up happening.
She had never experienced this type of driving and it made her nervous. While I am fearless, she is the total opposite. Almost immediately she began to complain how she wasn't comfortable driving in these conditions. I told her that she wanted to drive, so just drive the car.
Because she was nervous, she began to slow down to the point that it would become dangerous. The speed limit is high and the drivers are very aggressive because of it. If you want to drive on this stretch, then you have to keep up with the flow. She just was never comfortable with that.
At one point, about 20 minutes in, she slowed down enough that I told her she had to speed up. Of course, that made her more nervous and edgy. From that point on, the clock was ticking on how long it would be before we pulled over and I was back in the driver seat. As it turned out, it was about 30 minutes later.
That was the only part of the trip where she was behind the wheel.
I am good at making routes and putting time events together.  I was a dispatcher for a long time and one of the best. And before that I was a courier driver and also one of the best at that.
My wife is good at making arrangements. She actually does that for a living.
My strength is being the driver. Her strength is making arrangements and taking care of the administrative stuff. At each hotel stop,  she took care of all that. I am not that patient and would not do well to deal with poorly trained hotel desk clerks. That would be obvious on Day 3.
So the lesson of the day, from the road: Know your strengths and stick with them. Know your weaknesses and let others do what they do and handle the parts you are not equipped to handle.

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