Friday, October 22, 2010

A Good Guy in a Jam

When I tell the college kids at school I’ve been married for thirty-two years, they always ask the same thing. “To the same man?”

“Yep! And he’s Superman, and I can’t help it that he’s crazy about me.”

Not only is he crazy about me, he’s a good man to have on the other end of the cell phone if you’re stuck in the Central Florida version of a Greek tragedy—an Interstate # 4 traffic jam—a seven mile long, bumper to bumper, I-4 traffic jam and car carnival of futility and abandoned well of hissing fossil fuels.

The announcer with the sound of chopper blades beating in the background raised the warning voice over the radio, “Do not get on I-4! From John Young to the state of New Hampshire I-4 is a solid block of petrified traffic. Do not get on I-4! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO NOT GET ON I-4.”


I was on the on-ramp to I-4 as the announcement faded into the sound of the emergency broadcast system. Too late, my bumper introduced itself to the bumper in front of me and my fifty-minute commute turned into a two and half hour Gitmo ordeal.

I called my husband of thirty-two years in Detroit where he works for OnStar the GPS service of General Motors. How’s that for irony?

“Babe, where am I?”

“Who are you?” he asked.

“Can’t talk now, a plumber in a plumbing truck is trying to get my attention with hand gestures and tonnage rights.”


I called him back. “Sherwood! Where am I now?”

He hesitated, suspecting another one of my wifely pop quizzes. Over the years I’ve developed a system of stealth pop quizzes designed to measure my husband’s girl savvy. In thirty-two years, the only pop quizzes of mine Sherwood has ever passed have dealt with sex.

“Linda, I never had that GPS tracker implanted in your skull. I have no idea where you are now.”

“There’s a Holy Land on my left and a Target on my right. Some might make the argument that the Holy Land and Target represent the same thing.”

“Still not sure.”

“Gotta go. We’ve started to creep.”


Forty minutes later, I called him back. “If I get off at Amelia Street, how lost am I going to get?”

“Very,” he said.


From the traffic jam, I ricocheted a final signal off a satellite in space to my husband in Michigan.

“Okay, here’s the deal. I’m getting off at Par Street, but I can’t remember how to get from Par to Fairbanks. Can you Google it for me?”

He sighed and said, “Yep!” And just like a spy handler at the CIA he steered me through the morass of steaming vehicles, screaming drivers, and reckless plumbing trucks and got me from Par to Fairbanks, and I wasn’t even late for my Crime Fiction Writing Workshop, which Sherwood likes to think of as a kind of super expensive ceramics class.

He’ll sing a different tune when I finally figure out where I am, and how to make money writing crime fiction ceramics.

But that’s my husband for you; when I’m not sure where I am or how lost I’m about to get he’s there. He’s the guy with the Google.

He’s the voice in my ear. He’s the calm for my storm. He’s the fire in my heart.

He’s Superman, and he’s crazy about me. But then I’m crazy about him too; what can you do?

Happy anniversary, Babe.

Linda (Superman’s Girlfriend) Zern

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