We were stuck in summer afternoon Quebec City traffic, my wife Brenda, my daughter Rachelle and I. Yours’ truly was at the wheel, in my usual state of blissed-out non-action. Brenda, patient as a hummingbird, was getting restless.
“Why don’t you switch lanes,” she inquired. “The one to the right is moving.” She gestured with her finger.
As usual, any instruction gets me as riled-up as Larry David having a bad day. “Listen,” I replied. “Remember my best friend from Bishop’s, Mike Dunn, the guy from New Jersey. He did a scientific study on lane-jumpers in heavy traffic and concluded that you’re better-off staying where you are.”
“A scientific study ? One of your friends?” Brenda was incredulous. “I don’t think so ! Isn’t Dunn the one who ended up in rehab after smashing his car into the median on the New Jersey turnpike?”
“Well, uh, Dunn had a few issues, but he was a trained researcher until he developed a slight drinking problem.” I decided to put my foot down. “Anyway, I’m the one driving.” My voice was getting louder.
Brenda is nothing if not tenacious. “That bus lane is open. In Ottawa, I heard that we can use bus lanes as long as we have three or more people in the car.”
Breathing deeply, as I had been taught, I eased into the bus lane and cruised up to a red light, where we encountered a police officer signalling for us to pull over. I looked over at Brenda, not masking my thoughts of homicide. No court in the land would convict me.
It’s amazing what three bilingual travellers in a car with Ontario plates in Quebec City can get away with. A mea culpa, along with sincere promises to follow the rules of the Quebec road and we were , well, not-so-merrily on our way again. I looked over at Brenda and exhaled loudly, something I had learned from my father in order to show extreme exasperation.
“You’re lucky to be married to me,” was all she said.