When traveling with my wife, it is important to realize that she is the boss. If you forget this, you will die.
When I say “you will die,” I don’t mean that men wearing black hoods will publicly execute you, necessarily, my wife might do the honors herself. What I mean is that she has planned our trips to a T and there is no wiggle room for doing fun or touristy things like, for instance, stopping to go pee.
My wife’s talent for being the boss stems from the fact that she is a former math teacher. I remember when she took her exam for her math teaching certification, long ago. She had to study like crazy. I helped by quizzing her with flashcards.
“Uh…” I would begin reading. “The inverse decibel is an absolute, or sublingual when found within the parenthetical equation of a biconditional Centroid Formula, and is thereby a null integer from which popular Pink Floyd album?”
Her answer would be so complex that I had no idea whether it was right or wrong.
So after her response, I would sort of nod and say, “Okay.”
Then she’d say, “Okay? Was my answer right or wrong?”
“Sweetie,” I’d say in a reassuring voice. “There are no right or wrong answers in life, only happy accidents.”
Which doesn’t work for a mathematical person. To a math-wiz, there are no such things as happy accidents, numerically speaking, only the quantified deconstruction of bivalve ellipses as expressed in the linear equation found in EXAMPLE 1:
So what I’m saying is that as a mathematician, she has an Order of Operations for everything in life, even traveling. And this makes her bossy.
She packs our car a certain way and becomes very annoyed if I so much as scratch my nose using the wrong tone. She plans our itinerary, accommodations, bathroom breaks, books our flights, makes reservations, drives the rental cars, and burps me after lunch.
I’m not saying that I don’t contribute to our travels. I do. Sometimes I adjust the radio dial or I point at the horseys.
But my most important role is to provide moral support in the form of saying, “Pull over, I have to pee.”
“PEE?” she will say. “HAHAHAH!”
This is of course a hearty joke because we are not allowed to pee. No sir. Peeing takes time, and time is money, and money is numbers, and numbers are defined, math-wise, as linear modular matrixes divided by multivariable supplemental equations charted on the Pat Sajak graph (as expressed) in EXAMPLE 2:
Please solve for X.
So usually we end up arguing about my urinary pangs until I am literally about to bust, whereupon she pulls over onto a secluded road and I introduce myself to a few cows while standing beneath a live oak and doing my business.
I have met hundreds of cows this way. Most often, they look at me with facial expressions that seem to ask, “Hey, what’d that innocent tree ever do to you?”
But before I even finish, my wife starts driving away so that I have to run alongside the moving vehicle and jump inside like I’m hitching a ride on a Norfolk Southern railcar. By then, my wife is already achieving speeds upwards of 123 miles per hour while I wave goodbye to the cows.
So I am writing this while we are on the way to a gig. In a few hours, I will be doing a one-man show at the Ritz Theater in Talladega, Alabama. Like usual, my wife is driving; I am writing.
And I promised myself I wouldn’t get too mushy when I started this column, but I have to.
My professional life could not have happened without this sharp mathematician beside me. I would not not be writing to you. We would not be going to Talladega, or anywhere for that matter.
If not for her, I would still be working a crummy job under a boss who used to take the credit for every good idea I ever had and who, despite the fact that I worked there for several years, kept giving me pay cuts while co workers got pay RAISES.
I still remember the day when I was at my lowest and my wife hugged me, saying, “Whenever you finally figure out what you were meant to do, I’m gonna be beside you. And we’re gonna do it together.”
And that’s pretty much how my life has happened. We do most everything together. I still don’t know what I’m “meant to do,” exactly. But we’re doing it. And it has been fun.
The truth is, it would all mean nothing to me if this woman wasn’t in the driver’s seat. Because I would have nobody to make me laugh. Nobody to kiss my cheek before bedtime and say in a sweet voice, “Why did they cancel our health insurance policy? Didn’t you pay the bill like I asked you last month?”
And there would be nobody to smile at me the way she does, a smile that tells me she’s genuinely proud of me.
So if you travel with her, remember she’s the boss. The boss of me. Forever. And then some.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go introduce myself to a few cows.