The Drive

It was my first experience driving on the left side of the road.  A task made more challenging by the vehicle Enterprise had given us. Their self-proclaimed party van could seat eight comfortably and still have room enough for four suitcases and five backpacks.
 
The roads seemed incapable of holding both this van and the oncoming traffic – which apparently consisted exclusively of campers, busses and eighteen wheel trucks 
 
They say that the drive from Edinburgh to the Isle of Skye is majestic but I couldn’t tell you, as my eyes were exclusively focused on the road five feet in front of me every minute for four hours. 
 
Throughout the drive both hands were firmly gripping the wheel — eventually causing hand cramps and what seemed to be permanently ghost white knuckles. While normally a competent and confident driver, I was convinced that one foot to the right would result in a vehicular jousting match and one foot to the left would careen us off the road – leading to a flat tire at best and a 1,000 foot drop to our death at worst. To say that I felt legitimate fear for the safety of my family is not at all an exaggeration and a fact that my co-pilot wife would readily attest too.
 
Quickly into our drive a marvelous routine developed.  My asking her, “How am I on your side?” with her assuringly volleying back, “You’re good.  You’re doing great.”
 
In some relationships the dynamics of a stressful situation tear people apart, but in many others, they actually pull them closer together.  A point captured in the lyrics of Brownsville Girl, co-written by Bob Dylan and Sam Shepard.
 
“Strange how people who suffer together have stronger connections than people who are most content.”
 

As we neared the end of our journey and prepared to cross from the mainland to the Isle, our GPS told us to take a left.  Surprisingly it led us into a port.  Assuming that I had taken an wrong turn, I quickly realized that the GPS had been incorrectly directing us to a ferry – for which we, of course, did not have a reservation. 

Sold out for the next four days, the Ferry Master told us we would have to turn around and drive back to take the bridge – a detour of another two and a half hours driving time.  I pulled over and parked, allowing myself the opportunity to get out of the car and let loose a tirade of expletives beyond earshot of our three young children.  
 
Returning to our van my wife calmly said, “Don’t worry we’re going to be alright.”
 
In a change of heart, perhaps out of pity, the Ferry Master encouraged us to wait.  “Who knows maybe others will miss their ferry reservation, though I doubt it.”
 
Enough did and we squeezed on. Absolutely delighted then, I now think about the families whose misfortune served as our benefit.  I hope those drivers had co-pilots who could provide reassurance and that their troubles strengthened their connection rather that severing it.
 
When we finally arrived at our house on the Isle of Skye, I was able to fully appreciate the beauty in front of me.  To which I am not referring to the fantastic landscapes but rather my partner on the road to this wonderful place.
 

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