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I’ll never drive with them again!

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Like my pal Claudia. No sooner did she start the car than she whipped out her mascara brush."Claudia," I shrieked. "It's okay," she said, busily dabbing her lashes. "I know what I'm doing Tell me," she said, looking in the mirror, "do you think this mascara's too dark?""It's much too dark," I said. "Let me off at the next light and I'll look for a lighter shade."I thought Yvonne was a safer bet. She already had her makeup on when she called for me. But she also had a dog on her lap. "Yvonne," I cried out, "how can you drive like that?" "Oh, Russell doesn't get in my way," she assured me.He sure got in mine as he began snarling at me and baring his teeth. Did he find out that I like dogs only when they're chained to a leash, preferably down in some basement."Look," I said to Russell, trying to back away as far as my seat belt would let me, "I just want to let you know that I'm happy to share this ride with you. And I have no plans to take your place on Yvonne's lap."Could things get worse? They sure did when I told my friend Lola that I would go to the movies with her."Gee I'm famished," she said as she suddenly pulled out a chicken leg which she proceeded to gnaw as she held it with one of the two hands that is generally expected to steer the car."Lola," I yelled, "let me hold that for you." "No thanks," she said. "Just get that thermos out and pour me some soup. And make sure you don't burn yourself."What I made sure of, after I had bandaged my hand, was never to ride with Lola again, even if she'd just finished a meal.I thought I covered all bases when I swore off people who put on makeup when they drive...people with dogs in the car...and people who eat when they're at the wheel. But that was before my neighbor Vivian invited me on a trip to a shopping mall some 30 miles away.It seemed as if we had to be nearing Connecticut when she suddenly reached around wildly on the dashboard. "Where's the paper with the directions?" she cried out. "I don't remember all these trees out here.""Here," I said, handing her what turned out to be a receipt from Waldbaum's."That's not it. We need an exit number, not the price of pork loin. Look in my tote bag. Oh, and get my sunglasses out. I can't see with all this glare."At once my life flashed before me. "Vivian," I screeched, "watch out for that tree!"Did we miss the tree? Yes. Did we find the shopping mall? Not that day. Vivian did ask me if I wanted to try again when she found the directions tucked into her eyeglasses case.Which is when I told her that I had to have all my teeth capped, and I couldn't make any other plans for months.Do I still like all these people? Of course. Would I like to get together with them again? Only if I'm not in the passenger's seat. Reach contributing writer Muriel Lilker at timesledger@aol.com.

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