To celebrate the release of my romantic comedy, Driving in Neutral—a love story about claustrophobia— (arriving in 6 days!) I am running the 75 Days of Phobia series. As Olivia, the heroine in Driving in Neutral says to Maxwell the claustrophobe, “Everyone’s afraid of something.” Reader-reviewer-romance fiction lover, Michele Harvey is driven to fearful madness while driving… but not in neutral.
When Sandra asked if I would write a guest post for her 75 Days of Phobias, my first inclination was to reply that I had a fear of not being able to write a good enough guest post for someone else’s blog. But I also have a fear of leaving someone in the lurch after I’ve committed to provide something that they are counting on, so that means you will have something to read here, good enough or not.
It took me a while to narrow down exactly which phobia I wanted to share, especially once I realized I have several. There’s my fear of missing a flight and being stuck at the airport with no way to get home quickly, because that has actually happened to me before. Then there’s my fear of being at a party where I don’t know anyone and am afraid to start a conversation with strangers, another a previous experience. I have a distinct fear of running out of reading material, which is my excuse for owning more ebooks and print books than any 100 people could ever hope to finish in a lifetime. But the one constant fear that rules them all is my fear and loathing of driving in the DC metro area.
Oh, driving long distances in the middle of nowhere on deserted highways, I’m all over that. What I’m talking about is the dreaded stop-and-go-and-hope-that-idiot-texting-while-driving-in-front-of-you-doesn’t-get-us-all-killed traffic that I have to deal with any time I want to leave the house. Although I am currently blessed with a relatively short work commute, that time is still the most stressful part of my day. There are the aforementioned drivers who are doing at least five different things at the same time where driving is rated only second or third after texting and making obscene hand gestures at the driver ahead of them. Then there are the uber-aggressive drivers who are just looking for you to leave a gap of more than a single car length in front of you so they can wedge their bumper over at the exact moment where you will have to let them in or hit them. And this in a suburban neighborhood well outside the limits of Washington DC, where you might think the drivers would be just a tad more laid back in their quest to get to work (and you’d be oh so wrong).
A recent trip to NYC where my husband drove us all the way to midtown Manhattan and back gave me some perspective on just how much worse my driving experience could be, and I have vowed to be less stressed by the dangerously distracted drivers around me every day. But that doesn’t mean I won’t still be white-knuckling the steering wheel at the 10 and 2 positions twice a day, convinced that today will be the day someone’s going to total my car just because they had to respond to just one more text from their BFF.
Michele lives in the Washington DC area with her husband, son, and three cats who think they are people. Back in high school, she was that girl who was reading three different books at once, most of which usually ended up confiscated by teachers for being “inappropriate.” She discovered the joys of romance novels when her mom’s best friend gave her a box of old Harlequin books previously destined for the dump. Michele continues to enjoy reading books as fast as she can download them onto one of her six nooks, three Kindles and one Kobo Aura HD. especially contemporary and historical erotic romances with an emphasis on BDSM and menage. She lives for the HEA/HFN and is decidedly pro-epilogue. You can find her reviews at Seductive Musings, Night Owl Reviews, Romancing Rakes for the Love of Romance, and at her own review blog The Romance Evangelist. Come on over to Twitter and say hi: @mharvey816