The Hazards of Aging, or: Dog is My Copilot

Posted on July 2nd, 2009 by

Tilde the copilot, resting after the trip

Tilde the copilot, resting after the trip

I recently drove halfway across the country in the company of Tilde the Wonder Dog. Equipping ourselves with a book on CD and a lot of food podcasts, the two of us had a splendid time enjoying the visual and olfactory splendors of the countryside between Minnesota and Maine. A dog like Tilde is a wonderful travelling companion, because she’s always ready to climb back in the car and go on. She’s also always ready to get out and have a good sniff around.

TildeĀ  is a wonderful traveling companion, but not, it turns out, the perfect traveling companion for a no-longer-young solo traveler such as moi. For instance, she is worthless for dealing with two of the key hazards of aging:

  • The Vision Thing, or: Does that say exit 21? Or 21A? The eye of a severely nearsighted person breathing on fifty is not a pretty sight, so to speak. Turns out not only can you not see far, you can’t see near either. The fine print on the New York map in the Rand McNally road atlas may as well be fly specks, for all the good it does you navigationally. You especially cannot see near when the combination sunglasses/reading glasses that your partner bought for you are in the glove compartment, which is inaccessible because the cooler is wedged against it (because the dog needs more space in the back seat, so it can’t be there). And forget about reading the map while going down the highway. It makes driving while talking on the phone look like a safety precaution.
  • Remembrance of Things Passed, or: Was that exit 21 or 21A? Enough said. Once you finally determine what the number on the map says, you will forget it by the time the exit comes around, and you will get off at the wrong one. But you will think that it doesn’t matter, because how far apart could exits 21 and 21A really be from each other? Answer: very far.

Dogs have no thumbs, they cannot read a map, and they cannot bark directions. And even if they could do some or all of these things, they sit in the back seat. And as everyone knows, there’s nothing worse than a backseat driver.



  1. sandy fjeld says:

    This is so cute, Lisa…. thanks for sending it.
    Looking forward to any pictures you send.

  2. nancy Wilson says:

    I picked this one to read first, and it did NOT disappoint! How great to hear your voice, see Tilde, and read about your travels together. Looking forward to seeing you in two and a half weeks!