Short story of a short temper on a short drive. Subtitle: Why I am slowly losing IQ points
We’re in the car on the way somewhere, and I keep hearing this whooshing noise, like a car is coming up fast behind me on the right. I turn around to investigate, and I see Rosie with her arm outstretched toward the door handle, which has fallen too far away from her to reach anymore, and road. I see blurry, whizzing-underneath-us-at-30-mph road out her opened up door. I whip the car into the nearest parking lot and scramble out to shut it, and then I spend the next four or five minutes inside the stopped car telling Rosie in my sternest voice why we Do Not Do That Ever Ever No Ma’am Do Not No No No. She looks sufficiently thoughtful and somber and so I right myself in my seat and pull the car back out on to the road. Five seconds pass, then a gleeful: “Mamaaaaa! Yooka diss!” I don’t even have to turn my head to know that she has her fingers curled around the handle once again. This little girl is the reason child locks were invented (and now firmly in the ON position). I know she can’t open the door, but I also know that she is pulling that handle because I don’t want her to. I ignore her taunts for as long as I can stand it, but after five straight minutes of increasing volume I cave to the pressure. Stopped at a light, I calmly turn to face her. “Rosie Mae. What did I tell you about touching that handle? We do not touch that handle while Mama is driving. It is dangerous. You can’t pull on it, baby girl. No no no.” The light turns green. I press the accelerator. Not even half a block later: again. “Maaaamaaaaa! Yooka diiiiisss!” The same scene. Exasperated, I launch my arm behind me and fumble around until I find the toy pig she has had clasped in her left hand for the duration of the ride and wrench it away.
Another red light. I whip around and speak loudly. “I SAID NOT TO TOUCH THAT HANDLE AND YOU DID NOT LISTEN. WE DO NOT TOUCH THE DOOR HANDLE WHILE MAMA IS DRIVING. NO MA’AM WE DO NOT. YOU WILL GET THIS PIG BACK WHEN WE GET HOME, BUT NOT IF YOU TOUCH THAT HANDLE. DO. NOT. TOUCH. THAT. HANDLE. ANY. MORE. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?”
Bottom lip. Pitiful face. “Okay, Mama.”
One block of silence.
“Yes Rosie Mae.”
“OH MY GOODNESS WHAT IN THE WORLD IS IT BABY GIRL?”
Whatever it is she thinks I am thanking her for, I will tell you — it is most certainly not the preservation of my sanity.