Monday, August 22, 2011

It's Confession Time

I have a confession.

It’s ridiculous, really.

Most people will be like, “Uh, really?”


I don’t like driving on Interstates. Or highways. All the vehicles freak me out. Like REALLY freak me out.

In Wyoming, I didn’t have to worry about them much.

In Oklahoma…

…that’s a different story.

Lucky for me, I managed to find ways to get to places without going on the Interstate. And most of the areas I frequent don’t even require getting on one.

But on Friday, my luck ran out.

See, my best friend Jennifer is in Oklahoma visiting her family. She called and asked if I wanted to meet her downtown.

Lucky for me, I knew how to get downtown without getting on the Interstate so I agreed.

Tom was taking Tommy out to the new Transformers movie (it was showing in the base theater—it’s cheaper there but the seating usually sucks and the floor is always sticky—still, for 3 bucks a ticket, beggars can’t be choosers…)

This meant I had to take Natalie with me.

I was nervous because I had only been to the area once and it was when my Mom was doing the driving. I knew it was a straight shot down a street so I did that—and then I saw the signs for road closed again.

I kept driving.

Lalala, surely the signs don’t apply to me.

The signs DID apply to me.

There were barriers all over up ahead. For a brief second I thought about driving through them and pretend I was in an action movie. But then I saw Natalie in the backseat and knew I couldn’t risk hurting her.

I knew I had to go on the Interstate.

“It’s fine,” I breathed, pulling out my GPS. “It’s just the Interstate. Charlie Sheen probably drives on the Interstate. If he can do it, so can I.”

My GPS cheerfully told me to get on I-40 like it was no big deal.

I was gripping the wheel so hard my knuckles were white.

Sweat was beginning to form on my brow.

“What are you doing?” Natalie demanded. She knows I don’t like the Interstate. Her eyes went wide when she saw me driving towards the entry.

“Mommy has to go here,” I said. “Mommy hopes we don’t die.”

You know I like a person if I go on the Interstate for them.

I really like Jennifer so Interstate it was. Plus, I hadn’t had any girl time since I last saw her in New York City in May. I haven’t really met anyone here.

I was so nervous being on the Interstate that I got off on the wrong exit.

Still, the GPS helped me find my way even though I made the snotty lady on the GPS go, “Recalculating,” in this rude voice. It’s like, you know what GPS? Recalculate this (and then my middle finger goes up.) (Only I didn’t do this because Natalie was in the back.)

I made it downtown in one piece. I was a little shaky, but I was glad I survived.

I ended up having a good time and Natalie really liked playing with Jennifer’s daughter.

Driving on the Interstate at night was a tad scary, but I figured it out.

Would I say my phobia of the Interstate has been cured?

Not really.

You’ll still see me trying to find back roads to avoid the Internet.

But at least I know I can do it.

If I absolutely cannot avoid them.


  1. OMG I know exactly how you feel. I am the same way. After almost 11 years of marriage my husband still does not believe when I say I am terrified and have legit panic attacks on the interstate or Autostrada as it is called here in Italy. Out of necessity I have had to get on the Autostrda but just as you described it. I am literally praying God to keep me and Sofia alive..sweating it out heart a is not good. I am glad you guys did not die. I have to go back to the US to get my visa taken care of and I am going to Washington D.C. ugh the thought of maybe having to drive there is killing me. I want to cry and curl up already just thinking about it.

  2. I truly do believe there is a bit of an edge in the way she says "recalculating."

  3. haha if Charlie Sheen can do it!

    I live outside of DC and hate driving (interstate or not) I try to make someone else do it whenever possible!

  4. if Charlie Sheen can do it... ahahaha too funny! glad you were able to face your fears :)

  5. I hear you. The hubby and I just drove down from NYC to DC. So glad we didn't have to take turns at the wheel. I just kept him happy by hand feeding him Pop Chips and Slim Jims :)

  6. I'm ok on "the big roads" until the semi trucks show up. That's when my panic attacks and constant stream of "Please protect us" prayers start.

  7. I'm not fond of interstates either, especially when it's raining and I'm not familiar with the area.... Glad you did it though!

  8. I use to feel that way too until the only way I could get to work in a decent amount of time required the highway. I drive it twice a day now and the fear is a far away memory. Baby steps!

  9. Interstates don't really bother me unless there are a lot of trucks. But bridges are a whole other story I am deathly afraid of driving over bridges. My husband thinks it is funny. I live in Charleston and there are a couple of big bridges here needless to say I do not go over them. LOL BTW I did not know you could take back roads to avoid the internet. LOL

  10. love your story!! glad you had a good visit with your friend! Our GPS has a name and we have been known to speak unkindly to her when she is "recalculating" (especially when we think we are on the right road). I'm with you, I don't like the interstate at all and I live in California, big city. Interstates all around me. My husband does lots of the driving and thankfully I work at home!

    have a good day!

  11. I don't mind driving on the interstates as long as its daylight and not raining.

    And I absolutely HATE the "Recalculating" voice of my GPS.

    Glad you survived and had a wonderful lunch!

  12. I can handle the freeway but thankfully I live in a town that doesn't require much freeway driving!

  13. Just found your blog. Great read. Loved the Charlie Sheen comment, as well as the rude "recalculating" voice ("recalculate this"). Sounds like something I would say. Looking forward to reading more from you!

  14. I've been known to say "recalculate this" while flipping off my GPS too!

    However I like driving, even on the interstate, unless there's traffic and it's raining. Then, it sucks.

  15. I hate machines that think they are smarter than I am. Even if they are. You should be proud of getting there despite your fear of interstates.

  16. I don't mind interstates, but I do mind that GPS bitch. Geesh, like a person can't make a wrong turn every now and then without getting grief about it!

  17. My sister in law does not drive on the highway, she actually will only drive on about 7 streets period. She can get to and from work, and (I think) to the grocery store on those 7 roads and that is the ONLY time she drives.

  18. heehee, I do that too. I don't YIKE them! Glad you had a good big and little girl time out!

  19. I don't know about GPS, but I know the automatic checkout voice is getting at me. There is nothing in the bagging area, and I don't care for her tone.

  20. you did it! i hate when the interstate has construction.

  21. You'd be in a world of hurt in my stores and restaurants here. They are all 15-30 miles away and the only way to get there is on the freeway!

  22. I think you can officially cross California off your list of places to live. I can't get anywhere without driving on the interstate. When I lived in San Jose, I had to take three different ones just to get to work... 12 miles from my house! And it took nearly an hour. If I was lucky. There's got to be some downside to all this gorgeous weather and NO SNOW!

    FYI - we could totally road trip together because I love to drive. Just sayin'! (that didn't sound stalkery at all, did it.)

  23. I totally understand, I live in the central part of Oklahoma and avoid the city at all costs! I wanted to go to the big JBF sale in OKC this week but I couldn't talk myself into getting on the interstate lol! I'll just stick to Norman, I can get there without the interstate and get around town as well =0) Glad you made it to where you were going!

  24. In Canada we have the 400 series of highways. I have to take the 401 - also nicknamed the "Corridor of Death" for the several 100 kms that stretch from my place to past my parents home. how nice. To make matters worse, it is constantly under construction, and they funnel us from 2-3 lanes down to one with this concrete walls, let's just call them "barries of death" to keep with the theme. This latest trek witnessed the crash of a cattle carrier. Great, death and cow shit on the road. To say I normally arrive white knuckled and short of breath is an understatement.

  25. I don't mind the interstate. It's the drivers on the thing that bug me. Tailgating, changing lanes without signalling. And that's just my husband!

  26. I hate driving downtown in a huge city! I don't mind interstates, its the crazy one-way twisted downtown that scares the beejeebers out of me!
    Glad you made it thru okay!

  27. When I first moved to LA, 21 years ago, and I had to take the freeway to work, I'd get a stomach ache as I approached the entry ramp. That was thousands of miles ago. The trick is that you have to do it often in order to get over your fears, but I totally understand you're wanting to do it NEVER! Despite the fear-based theme, this was a very funny post. Recalculating, indeed!

  28. Hey there...came over through SITS. I know of at least one other person who feels the same way about interstates. I tend to love the highway, and dread city streets because of all the extra stoplights...but I'm so impressed that you handled the situation so well...even with the irritating GPS woman!

  29. I don't like the crabby lady in the GPS either. That's why I changed it to the Australian guy. He sounds nicer.

  30. Yeah...when I first moved here to good ol OKC I freaked at the sight of the interstates and the fact that OMG...there's more than one!!! I would spend hours pouring over mapquest memorizing road names so that I could avoid the interstates at all costs. Now.....I love them. If I can find an excuse to get on one I do it. It's really easy with a few of my friends in Del City and another in extreme NW OKC. And some more in Moore (lol...ok that was probably only funny to me).

  31. As i bow my head in shame....I don't judge you because I'm the same. I take the street to the city and everywhere I go. I set my GPS to avoid highways. LOL

  32. I love the rude "recalculating" voice! She always seems to get angrier and angrier with each one! Makes me laugh!

    There's probably no reason to get over your phobia if you don't have to drive the interstates very often.

    Ironically, they're much safer than driving on streets!

  33. I am the same way. We live in north Georgia so to go to my parents we have to go through Atlanta. My husband has to drive. I hate driving on the interstate.

  34. In order for my mom to get to my house, she would have to get onto 495 (the Beltway around this area) and then onto rt 66 (yes, THAT rt 66)...if you ever want to know what its like to drive in an indy race - then you should try driving on 495...she refuses to come by herself.


  35. "Mommy hopes we don't die." Way to be a reassuring parent! Sounds like something I'd say. Haha.

    That snobbish "recalculating route" is so annoying.


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