March 1, 2013

The Other Woman

Posted in Life tagged , , , , , at 2:51 PM by Dawne Webber

I wasn’t worried when she appeared in my husband’s life or that they had to spend some time together—for work. I didn’t realize how serious it was between them until my husband announced she would be joining us on a trip.

“Are you serious?” I asked. I think I was giving him that squinty look. You know, the one that creases your forehead and narrows your eyes.  The look you give a person when you’re thinking REALLY? Then I said, “We’re only going to the store. We know how to get there.”

But when we climbed into the car, she was there between us in the front seat. My husband’s GPS.  “Her name is Lwaxana,” my husband told me as he handed her to me. Lwaxana? I can’t even pronounce it, but it rolls off his tongue like melted butter.  He even had reason for giving her that particular name. That’s when I realized I had some competition. That smooth talking machine was vying for my position as navigator and who knew what else.

Lwaxana and Deanna Troi Star Trek The Next Generation

Lwaxana and Deanna Troi.

“I know how to get where we’re going,” I said, looking at her slim, black case with distaste. He ignored me and left her on the console. After a few months, I gave in and used her for longer trips. I’d grudgingly hold her and relay her directions to my husband; her voice is too quiet to hear over the noise of the road. “I’d rather use a print-off from Mapquest,” I’d mutter to her. She didn’t fool me; I knew she was expendable. And she knew that I knew it.

I’m a great navigator. I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but after years of living in New York and Ohio, and after our many road trips, I know how to read a map. I have a good internal compass, too. Granted, I screw up occasionally. “The Alibi is on Rochester between Wattles and Long Lake,” I’ll tell my husband confidently when he asks. But after circling the same stretch of a mile for the fifth time, we realize that I’m three miles off, and we’re a half-hour late to meet friends for dinner; I’m remorseful and apologetic. Lwaxana has yet to apologize for her screw ups. And she has made a few.

When we leave to attend a function on Belle Isle in Detroit, my husband hands me Lwaxana before backing out of our driveway. “Start out going south on John R,” she says in her confident, silky voice.

“I’m taking Fifteen Mile,” my husband says.

“She doesn’t like it when you mess her up and she has to recalculate,” I tell him. “She may not say it, but I know she’s waiting to taser me because you’re not listening to her.”

“She doesn’t mind if I change routes.” He defends her. But he’s wrong. She’s a woman and I know she’s planning her revenge on me. I’m not stupid; I read The Help. 

The Help. Kathryn Stockett

Sharpening their tools.

“I think I’m going to write a blog post about her,” I inform him. “Your other woman.”

“That’s a great idea,” he says and offers to come up with a list of our similarities and differences.

Go right ahead, I think. And when you’re sleeping on the couch, we’ll see if Lwaxana can keep you warm.

We continue our ride downtown. Thank God it’s mostly expressway driving, so Lwaxana remains silent for most of the drive. Maybe she’s using this time to plan how she’s going to taser me the next time Dave doesn’t follow her directions.

By the time we reach Detroit, it’s snowing so hard we see five cars that have spun out and a semi-truck has jack-knifed. Finally, we cross the bridge to the unfamiliar terrain of Belle Isle. Now the snow’s so thick we literally can’t see more than five feet ahead of us. And I say for the first time, “I’m actually glad we have this thing.” I point to Lwaxana because I’m not about to say her name. We follow her directions through the blinding snow and end up at… gates that are chained shut. Obviously the wrong place.

I wouldn't let her steer my starship.

I wouldn’t let her steer my starship.

After a half-hour, we find our destination with no help from Lwaxana. She does nothing to correct the directions and doesn’t apologize for steering us wrong in the first place.

Later that evening my husband hands me some papers. “Here’s some information on Lwaxana Troi for your blog post,” he says. “I’m working on the list of similarities and differences.”

Dave’s List:

How Dawne and Lwaxana are alike

  • I look to both of them for guidance
  • I don’t always take their advice
  • They both speak softly into my ear

How Dawne and Lwaxana are different

  • Dawne always laughs at my jokes
  • Lwaxana never gets angry when I ignore her
  • Dawne is taller

I guess he doesn’t have to sleep on the couch.


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