Headline: A big night out with Dawdling Dave

My domestic partner and I were driving down the street Saturday evening at what I considered a safe rate of speed.

We were on our way to a restaurant for dinner when suddenly some maniac, who made a jackrabbit start at the last stoplight, careened around us in the fast lane of the four-lane street.

?Lot of crazy people out on the roads these days,?? I told The Wife.

?How fast are you going??? she asked me, rolling her eyes in that, ?I can?t believe I married a spud like this?? manner that I?ve always found irritating, and which used to result in a lot of domestic strife.

?I?m going 39!?? I said indignantly, proof positive that I was at the extreme upper limit of safe travel in the area, where the maximum speed was clearly posted at 40 miles per hour. ?That lunatic must have been doing 41 or 42, maybe even 44,?? I said in disbelief. ?He?s going to kill someone before the night is through. It was probably some coked-up, out-of-control kid on his way to a crack den.??

The Wife, having noted that the lunatic was driving an older model beige mini-van much like ours, said she doubted that very much, another habit that really gets my hackles up.

After signaling my intentions and switching into the left lane and making a left turn with due caution at another major four-lane street, I quickly returned to the right-hand lane, only to get stopped behind a long line of cars. I could feel the pressure mounting as The Wife was about to erupt.

?Why are you in this lane??? she asked, making no bones about her brazen back-seat driving.

?Because this is the side the restaurant?s on,?? I shot back.

?No it isn?t.??

?Yes it is.??

?No it isn?t,?? she said in a tone she used to use on our kids. ?And besides, the restaurant is two miles down the road so there?s no need to be poking along in the slow lane.??

Turns out she was right that the restaurant was on the left side of the street, but in my defense, there was a very similar restaurant on the right side of the street. All through dinner, she savored the victory of having proven me wrong.Once again.

On the way home, I was going lickety-split down the right-hand lane at about 38 miles per hour (hey, it was dark by then) when she finally boiled over, unable to contain herself for another instant, having emerged from the glow of proving me wrong about which side of the street the restaurant was on.

?Dawdling Dave!?? she sputtered in a tone that indicated she had been putting up with this for 22 years and has now reached the end of her rope.

I know I wasn?t driving too slowly, and I can prove it. It was Saturday night, and I was in a hurry to get home and watch Lawrence Welk on television, a show that reminds me of the days when folks weren?t in such an all-fired hurry to get places and do things.

I should probably explain that The Wife drives way too fast and tailgates, but (unlike someone else I know) I?m too polite to point it out when she?s driving, even though I always figure I?m about to die in a bloody wreck. She gets stopped a lot by police officers, but as a licensed health care professional, she tends to get off with just a warning when they notice her white lab coat and stethoscope.

I see these lenient police officers as enablers.

In my younger days, I?d have kicked up a fuss over being accused of slow driving and not remembering where the restaurant was, both in one evening. But, I learned a long time ago that having an argument almost never makes things better, especially in a marriage.

So, hurtling down the road at a sobering 39 miles per hour, I sighed and said, ?It just occurred to me that this is what the rest of my life is going to be like.??

She made what sure sounded to me like a snort of indignation, and said:

?I was thinking the exact same thing!??