Midsummer Nightmare

Forget Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, lately I feel like I am in the middle of the Midsummer Nightmare.

OK, I’ll admit that might be a bit melodramatic.

I had forgotten how much I hate doing incessant laps on the heavily trafficked I-95 and Boston Post Road.  These two arteries run parallel through the heart of Greenwich, constantly streaming with traffic that pulses to the staccato rhythm of endless traffic lights and often clogs due to unforeseen fender benders.  It is never a smooth journey.

My full time job this summer is taxiing around my two daughters.  Our new Subaru is black but would more aptly be painted bright yellow to denote its true purpose.  If I were getting paid on a meter, I’d be flush by now.

Despite my girls’ ability to walk everywhere either on campus or in the city, the moment they return to Greenwich, they forget how to use their legs.  My friend who returned to the States from London a year ago, ruefully announced to me, “Now that we are home, my children will never walk again”.  I know what she means.

Even worse than actually driving is “shadow driving”.  This is the term I coined to describe driving with the newly-permitted Katie.


Don’t get me wrong, she is cautious and capable.  Even so, every time we go out for a drive, I spend the entire journey in a constant monologue that exhausts me every time:

…turn left at that stop sign…be sure to slow down…SLOW DOWN!…watch that car….yield and look to your right….TO YOUR RIGHT!….OK, relax your hands, take a deep breath (this is mostly for my benefit)….be careful there are cars parked on the side of the road…move over…you are TOO CLOSE….(then I try to slam on the brake that does not exist on my side of the car)….STOP!…

and on and on it goes.

I’m sure this sounds familiar to all those who have driven with their inexperienced 16 year old children.  It is not for the feint of heart.  My favorite “learning moment” was when Katie was driving to a friend’s house with me late in the afternoon.  It was that time of day when the sun sinks low and the glare hits you directly in the eyeballs, even with the visor down and sunglasses on.  I noticed Katie veering off the road.  STOP!!!!!  I lost all composure, and she came to a screeching halt…with a tall stone wall looming three feet in front of us!

What were you doing?!!

I couldn’t see!!

She was truly blinded by the light.

Speaking of driving blind, two days later we were rear-ended at a stop sign.  Thankfully, it was me behind the wheel, idling in place, waiting to make a left hand turn.  The jeep behind me never stopped.  We all got a jolt as we heard the grinding sound of crunching metal.  My new car is now in the shop for repairs.  It had exactly 912 miles on it.  The guy at the repair shop checked the odometer twice, laughing as he said, “Well you didn’t get very far in your new car before banging it up, huh!”  I didn’t quite share the joke.

I don’t want to rush the summer’s end.  But, I do take solace in the fact that I will be back in the land of public transportation in exactly 36 days.

With no car in London, I will happily mind the gap on the tube, wait for the bus, hail the black cab, and call the Addison Lee car service.

At this midsummer moment, that sounds like a dream.




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