He’s driving, but she hits the brakes

On rare occasion, I may make use of an imaginary brake pedal on my passenger side of the car.

If the husband is driving and I think he is too close to the vehicle in front of us, I instinctively hit my imaginary brake. If I sense he is going too fast, I slam on my imaginary brake.

My imaginary brake takes back seat driving and moves it to the front seat. The imaginary brake has never slowed our real-time speed, but somehow it makes me feel better.

Clearly this is not us because we are older than this couple, we do not have a cool convertible and my hands would never be in the air, they would be on my imaginary steering wheel.

I think it is fair to say lot of couples have driving issues. This is never covered in premarital counseling, but it should be. It might even be addressed in the wedding vows.

“Do you take this man for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, and behind the wheel of the car?”

We are not alone here. Not to name names, but my sister-in-law Debbie is a, well, let’s just say if you and Debbie were to leave Point A at the same time, she would get to Point B first.

She also drives expediently and efficiently (as the crow flies) in parking lots. She’ll be the one cutting across the lot, coming at you from out of nowhere, in the corner of your blind spot. She is a wonderful person and she and my brother are happily married, although he has nicknamed her Diagonal Debbie.

We all do what we must to accommodate one another’s quirks and idiosyncrasies in the car and not constantly harp and criticize. For some of us, it is using an imaginary brake.

Now, after all these years, I am thinking of switching out my imaginary brake for an imaginary accelerator.

All of a sudden, the husband is driving differently.


Maybe it’s because he worked as a newspaper photographer for years and was constantly rushing to get somewhere—a fire, an accident, a bank robbery, an assignment, or fast food drive through. Because he no longer lives on deadline, he is now slowing down to look at everything that was previously a blur.

“Look at that tree,” he says, slowing from 40 to 30 to 3 mph.

“You mean that 100 year-old-oak that has been there as long as we have lived here?”

Every day is Sunday.

We recently were following one of our daughters and I said we needed to speed up or we would lose her.

“Where is she?” he asked.

“She’s that tiny dot way up ahead.”

“The speed limit is only 30.”

“And you’re going 25.”

“Look at those new homes starting at $380,000,” he said. “You think they’d have bigger yards, wouldn’t you?”

I hit my imaginary accelerator. We are still going 25.

I proffer that going too slow is as great a hazard as going too fast.

He mentioned that a woman tailgated him last week in a hurry to switch lanes, but when both lanes stopped for a red light, he was four cars ahead of her.

He is convinced that his driving is perfect, which is why I now have imaginary dual controls on my side of the car.

Perfect camera pose is a snap – of the neck, hips and hands

We were at a wedding reception recently and whenever someone raised a camera to take a picture, nearly every person in the room stopped what they were doing and struck a pose. I’ve never seen so many carefully posed candids.

People were tossing their heads back, snapping their necks, angling their shoulders, smiling broadly and displaying dazzling dental work, which reminded me I hadn’t had any wedding cake yet.

It’s no longer enough to simply look at the camera, smile and say cheese. Halfway through my cake, I saw similar moves happening throughout the room.

No woman today lets her arms hang at her sides when someone is about to snap a picture. Sure, that’s where the arms were designed to hang, but arms against the body add weight, which is why women now pose with their hands on their hips. Of course, when every female in a picture puts her hands on her hips, you may have to elbow a longtime friend or family member.  The illusion of being slender comes with a cost.

Some of your exceptionally good posers dramatically raise an arm behind the head so that the elbow is bent and the back of the head is resting in the palm of the hand. I tried that move and the husband whispered that it looked like I was checking my deodorant.

How you hold your head is critical. Serious posers jut the entire face forward, then tilt their heads down ever so slightly. From the side, the move looks like a turtle emerging from its shell. The net effect is that it eliminates chin flap. Of course, one young lady said that pressing your tongue against the roof of your mouth can also eliminate chin sag. Keep in mind she was probably all of 15.

The truly camera-conscious never face the camera directly; they always turn at a 45-degree angle. In every picture, they look like they’re walking away from a conversation.

Nor does anyone stand up straight anymore. It’s not about posture, it’s about keeping one knee bent. And don’t stand with your legs side by side. Extend one leg. Now, if you can wrap your extended leg around your bent knee you’re well on your way to becoming a human pretzel.

You will probably also want to work on your ballet hands. Let your hands go limp at the wrists, slightly spread your fingers apart and bring your hands together in front of your mid-section. You should now look like you have ballet hands—or like someone just took a large serving bowl away from you.

By the end of the evening, I was comfortable with the new posing techniques. I was effortlessly (and constantly) lifting my arms, bending my knees, bobbing my chin up and down, angling my shoulders, extending my legs and shaking out my hands.

If my new poses don’t result in better photographs, at least I have some new dance moves.