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.
"Oh look, there's Walmart," I say.
"Oh look, there's Walmart," I say again.
"Oh look, there's Walmart...."
I understand four-way stops. They are all about rules. Who got there first, who is on the right, or who has good manners.
A roundabout is about survival of the fittest. Who has better auto insurance? Who didn't take their Prozac for breakfast? And who wanted to be a NASCAR driver? You have no friends in a roundabout. You meet nicer people in Anger Management Class or in a PMS support group. The roundabout is the whirling vortex of middle fingers (I counted 11), not very nice words (I am almost sure I saw a man mouth the words "go ahead, make my day"), and what appears to be demon possession.
I have decided to GPS my route to Noblesville. With a roundabout filter. I'll drive the extra miles.
Cause I just wanna go to Walmart.
I just wanna go to Walmart.
I just wanna go to Walmart.
Theresa Timmons' column appears every first and third Sunday . She is an Elwood resident and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.