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Why I’m a huge pain in the neck!

Off the deep end

Published: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 11:13 a.m. CDT

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“I want to go to Europe this summer,” I tell my spouse.

“I want to go to the Grand Canyon,” my spouse tells me.

Guess where we’re going? Let’s just say that we’d go to Europe if he could drive there. The man and his car are inseparable. Yes, I did force him to fly a couple of times. He was not happy. He missed his car.

It’s not like we have a big comfortable car. We have a mid-sized uncomfortable one. For whatever their reasons, auto safety engineers insisted on pitching the front-seat headrests in our model so far forward I feel as though my neck is positioned for the guillotine. The result: excruciating pain. Short of slicing off my head, I have bought every device alleged to alleviate neck aches, and have, as a result, sat down at many a roadside restaurant table with a huge u-shaped pillow still cushioning my head. I forget it’s there until my spouse sits at a different booth, sometimes in a different room. This same man has also perfected tuning me out when I complain about how much pain I’m in. He has, however, offered to tie me to the roof of the car, where, like Mitt Romney’s Irish Setter, I can rest comfortably in a crate.

Why don’t I sit in the back seat? Our large dog is stretched out there.

I cannot take painkillers during a car adventure because I might have to drive. The likelihood of my driving on a highway is almost zero. The last time I took over the wheel so hubby could rest, my shouts, of, “We’re going to die!” each time a truck passed us (every ten seconds) my husband would wake with a jolt. Finally, a trucker on my tail blasted his horn at about 165 decibels. I lost my hearing, and, as a bonus, all feeling in my toes. My husband lost his temper.

“PULL OVER!” he demanded, along with a slew of words I blessedly couldn’t hear. As I pulled off the road, a highway patrolman followed us.

“Need help, folks?” he asked.

I now had some hearing back. “Is there a mental health facility near here?” my husband asked Officer Joe. “She’s afraid of trucks and can’t feel her toes.”

“Government closed down the asylum,” Joe said, but “I can give you the name of my podiatrist.”

“Ma’am,” the officer then shouted so loud I almost lost my hearing again, “how fast were you going?”

“I think thirty-five miles an hour, sir,” I answered.

“Ya might want to let your hubby drive,” he said, issuing me a citation for driving way too slow.

You can now see why the chance of my driving any time during our trek to the Grand Canyon is quite slim, but it could conceivably happen, so pharmaceuticals are out.

On the other hand, I might just swallow pain meds, and take up my husband’s offer of riding in a crate tied to the roof. So, if you’re out on the highway this summer, and you see something alive tied to the roof of an automobile, you need not call the ASPCA; it won’t be someone’s poor dumb unsuspecting dog.

Judi Veoukas is an award-winning columnist who writes from her home in Lake County.

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