The Herald Bulletin

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September 28, 2013

Theresa Timmons: Roundabout distress creates need for support group

Little drops of sweat had popped out on my forehead. My hands clutched the steering wheel, my grip so tight that my knuckles were white from the exertion.

I made a conscious effort to relax my fingers. I also noticed my jaw was clenched and I was grinding my teeth in a peculiar obsessive compulsive pattern — grind, grind, grind, release, clench again, grind, grind, grind, release. I could almost hear the enamel cracking on my molars. My dentist was going to demand an explanation.

I was also rolling my toes on my non-accelerator foot - bending them under and straightening them out, bending and straightening. Another one of my weird stress habits.

I was almost there. Almost to that horrible place between Anderson and Noblesville, that spot in the road, my date with destiny.

I was almost to the ROUNDABOUT.

It would be nice if there was a support group for people like me. If they could just annex my Weight Watchers building, I could move from one room to the other. I could go from "My name is Theresa, and I am chubby because I ate like a hog this week" to "My name is Theresa and I am an inept Roundabouter."

It isn't clear to me why anyone would design, on purpose, a place where millions of cars approach from four directions and converge in the same spot.

"Roundabout" is a perky name for Potential Demolition Derby. Entering a roundabout is a like trying to enter a whirling jump rope game — a rhythmic mesmerizing event where you must enter at exactly the correct moment or get whacked in the face with the rope.

I got whacked in the face a lot as a kid.

My husband Seth, who bumped his head 4,346 times on the ceiling fan in our living room because he forgot it was low, can manage a roundabout. He knows when to squeal the tires, what lane to get in to escape, and how to exit without getting rear-ended, broad-sided, or side-swiped. But me ... once I risk my life to get into the roundabout, I don't know how to get out.

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