June 19, 2024
What could I have done, given that we were in the middle of nowhere?

DEAR ABBY: A cousin I hardly know was visiting (he’s 20 years older than I am and has lived hundreds of miles away my entire life). He offered to drive me to have dinner at his brother’s house, about 30 miles away.

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The last 15 miles were on narrow country roads. Five miles from our destination, he stopped to buy beer — then, as he was driving, he asked his girlfriend to pop one open for him, and he drank it.

It never occurred to me that he, a well-off professional, would do something so stupid.

If this were to happen again, I think I would politely ask, “Would you please wait until you’re not behind the wheel?” If he were unreceptive, I would add (truthfully), “I lost a friend to someone who drank and drove, so I would really prefer that you don’t.”

However, had he refused, I would have been in a bind.

I don’t want to be in a car with a drinker, but I wasn’t in a position to get out of the car. We were in the middle of nowhere, and I don’t have a smartphone, so I couldn’t have ordered an Uber or searched for nearby taxi service.

Now I know never to accept a ride unless I’ve been clear (in a cordial way) with the driver ahead of time. But in that situation, what could I have done?

— UNHAPPY PASSENGER IN MARYLAND

DEAR PASSENGER: You have learned an important lesson. Other than to voice your discomfort, there was nothing you could have done. The best way to get out of a jam is not to get into one in the first place.

In the future, if this person offers you a ride, take your own car and follow.

P.S. Please consider getting a smartphone — for safety purposes.

DEAR ABBY: My daughter married her second husband in 2004. Because I was having cancer treatments with all the side effects, I didn’t go to her wedding.

Fast-forward to 2011. My granddaughter (her daughter) got married two weeks after I had another cancer surgery. I missed that milestone, too — and both of them hold this against me!

My daughter told me she would crawl on her belly to go to her daughter’s or granddaughter’s wedding.

This granddaughter hasn’t spoken to me in almost 10 years, and I don’t understand why. I have never met her husband or my great-granddaughter.

Am I wrong to think they are unreasonable, or should I have dragged myself to the weddings anyway?

They have never asked how I am doing healthwise, despite the fact I had heart surgery for a double aortic aneurysm and aortic valve replacement two years ago.

My daughter recently told me she has tried very hard to have a relationship with me. I blurted out, “When?”

Abby, what’s your take?

— KICKED WHEN DOWN IN TEXAS

DEAR KICKED: My take is that your daughter does not/did not understand how debilitating some cancer treatments can be and resents your not attending her wedding. If I had to guess, her resentment has had a lot to do with your granddaughter’s attitude toward you.

I suspect there were problems between you and your daughter that preceded her marriage and contributed to the rift.

Because you can’t change the past, my advice is to concentrate on building emotionally satisfying relationships with others, because neither of these individuals seems inclined to cut you any slack.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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