Traffic Jam

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.

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