What do you do when your parent is getting on in years and you are not comfortable being a passenger in their car anymore? You think about it a lot and try to intervene.
One night, a while ago, I was a passenger in my dad’s car at night. We only had a few miles to drive. We were driving on local roads, no highways, with a maximum speed of 45 miles per hour. Since it was night, I tried to wrestle the keys from dad but he was the patriarch and he assured me he could drive. So Dad, his wife and I traveled the 20 minutes home with me sitting in the back seat, my eyes glued to the road. I thought, “This will be okay.” and then the conversation in the car became concerning.
Dad: “It sure is dark.”
Me (looking outside at the night sky): “It sure is.”
Dad: “It really, really is dark.”
Me: “Dad, do you want me to drive?”
Dad: “No, I’m okay.”
Me gripping the front seat: “Dad, I can drive if you want.”
Dad: “I’m fine. But it really is dark tonight.”
As we continued on, I noticed we were not always driving within our lane. I tried to gently guide him back to our side of the road as my knuckles gripped the seat cushions.
Me: “Dad, you are swerving a little.”
Dad: “It really is dark. I can’t see the road.”
What? It isn’t that dark.
Me: “Dad, you are doing fine. Just adjust a little to the right and we will be back in our lane. Very good. You know, I would be happy to drive.”
Dad: “No, I am fine. But it sure is dark tonight.”
Dad’s wife was the silent sphinx in the car. Evidently, she was used to this type of situation. I barely survived the drive. When their home came into view I almost screamed with joy. As we pulled into the garage I breathed a sigh of relief. Dad parked the car and turned back to look at me and that is when I noticed he was wearing his sunglasses.