Fear of driving

The Sunshine Skyway Bridge takes I-275 over Tampa Bay. Photo by Robert Ross

If I didn’t know this was about me, I wouldn’t believe it either.  I’m a world traveler, for God’s sake.  I’ve gone on wildlife treks in Costa Rica, glacier walks in Argentina and historical journeys to ancient lands.  But, for the life of me, if my plane is leaving from Tampa and I have to navigate I-275 to get to the airport, I freeze.  I always spend at least two weeks before the upcoming trip obsessing, shaking and wondering if this time will be the time I don’t get to Tampa Airport because I got sidetracked on I-275. Since I’m such a chicken, I let myself be driven onto the exit and right off the highway to downtown Tampa or the Trop, and of course, I miss my plane.

Why does it seem like every other driver knows exactly where he/she is going, exactly when to switch lanes and exactly when to get off the highway?  No matter how much time I allot for this expedition, it never seems to be enough to relax and “depressurize” me.  My hands are gripping the wheel, red knuckles, sweat, stuck like Krazy Glue.  I’m trying desperately to coordinate changing lanes to follow the I-275 signs, but the cars behind me are beeping, flashing lights, tailgating—basically conspiring to make me have an accident.  When will this ride ever end?  OMG, we’re here.  We have arrived at Tampa Airport.  And I have survived another traumatic adventure along I-275.

I can’t wait to get on the airplane and relax.