I don’t like driving. But what I find is as I get older, I dislike being the passenger as well. I spend my time planning out what to do when we crash. If I’m looking out the front window and the car in front of us brakes, regardless of how far away it is, I’m thinking, “why isn’t he (the driver) breaking? Doesn’t he see the brake lights in front of us?” As we get closer to the back of the car, I stomp my foot down as if I can brake from my side of the car. I may even say, “brake, brake, brake!” while I’m at it. This drives Rick nuts. I’m always scaring the crap out of him.
So to keep my and his sanity, I have to trick myself. You’ll think I’m nuts, but if I look out the side window at the side of the road I don’t get anxious. I’m not seeing the brake lights. So I’m okay. Then I have total trust in the driver. Obviously, this only works if there isn’t another lane of traffic out the side window. In that case, I have to read or do something on my phone. After all, those people next to us might change lanes into us.
I tell you all this because as we headed down river in earnest yesterday, we came across things we hadn’t dealt with prior and it made me “passenger seat looking out the front window” nervous. By now the wake coming off the frequent barges is not noticeable to us. We are used to it. It’s old hat. The Christmas tree has been secured. No worries. But there are these eddies—essentially whirlpools—that crop up on a regular basis. The first one was just as Rick had steered around a barge. It took him by surprise. He stood up so fast the chair flew back. That caught my attention and I involuntarily stood up and look at him. With is back to me I saw him crank the wheel right. A big over-emphasized turn of the wheel. What the…? I made the mistake of looking out the window. The boat was going the wrong direction and a panic flew into my chest. Before I could react he cranked the wheel left and we righted our direction. A few more adjustments and we were back in the safe zone, plodding down the river at which point he explained the eddy to me. He learned very quickly that you cannot escape the eddy, but you can increase your speed to power through it a little less hectically.
Nonetheless, since the incident, I have reverted using my car trick pretty much the entire time we are moving. You don’t really see the eddy until you are in the eddy. It’s a little more difficult to trick myself since there are windows and perils in all directions. So I’ve taken up embroidery again. I found an as yet started baby bib and since we have a grandchild on the way, decided to work on it. I don’t have a lot of patience for that sort of thing. In the past, something like that would take me months to complete. Not while I’m on the river! Four days. That’s it. Four. I finished today, so what am I going to do tomorrow? I’ll worry that out in bed tonight while I’m wide awake. (Joking. I actually sleep really well when we’re anchored.)
The good news is the lock at Lake Pontchartrain is still under repairs with no idea of when it will re-open. That means we will soon be off this Godforsaken river and onto a new, hopefully more friendly one. We have a short day tomorrow to what many have said is the best anchorage on the river. There we will wait out a line of thunderstorms (oh, yay), then make our way to the Atchafalaya River. Fingers crossed its eddy-less. As a side note, Rick tells me we’ll have bragging rights since not many pleasure crafts make the trip we did on the Mississippi. We are now the experts. Lord help us all.