driving miss jae

When my family moved from New Jersey to Wisconsin in the early 2000’s, one of my brother’s and I would make the drive back occasionally to visit friends and see some family.  Depending on your route, and your stops, it could be done in about 12 1/2 hours.

We would usually leave after 10pm, and drive through the night, getting to our destination by early the next afternoon. If I was driving the first leg of the trip, it was more like an ankle. We would get from my parents house, maybe to the Indiana line, which was about two hours, before I would be yawning myself to tears. After busting my chops for a few more miles I would eventually swerve a little too much for his comfort and he would take over the duration of the trip.


Rightfully so, he teased me for years. He also assumed that I just didn’t want to drive and did this to get out of it. I wondered if I did, too, but really I felt exhausted from driving.

Years later, when I’ve moved to Massachusetts, Steve and I are making the drive to Wisconsin for that same brothers wedding. The trip is about four hours longer, and we agree to leave around 9 and split the driving. I’m sure you can guess how that went. Barely into NY and I can’t keep my eyes open, so we switch seats. He needs a break so in the morning I’m driving again, until I all but doze off behind the wheel and he shouts, demanding I pull over.

I promise you I never made a connection between my weight and endurance on a long car ride; but again, in retrospect I find myself sort of piecing it together.

In 2015, just under one year post-op, we once again are driving from MA to WI for my other brothers wedding. We talk about flying because the trip is a lot for one person to drive, and we know that’s what happens, but we have a suit and a dress and favors and camera gear so we decide to drive.

I start the trip off driving and drive for almost six hours straight, without a break or, oddly enough, a complaint. We switch on and off for the rest of the trip and we joke about what a fluke that was, and I brag to everyone like I’d achieved something incredible.

After that, he’d “make” me drive more places we went, joking that I had recovered from my “driving apnea”.

I’d forgotten about any of that until this weekend when I was attending my girlfriends bridal shower about three hours from here. I was considering the logistics; would I go down the night before? Should I be local the whole weekend to avoid the driving all at once? I ultimately decide to drive down the morning of, and then home afterward. When I tell steve he laughs, “Who are you, me?” since he has on many occasions spent 8-10 hours in the car for one photography outing with friends. We laugh, and I don’t think about it again.

I did it; I drove something like 325 miles, with a several hour break in the middle full of mimosas and delicious food and socializing, and never got tired, or felt like it was too much. In fact, I got home, made us a late dinner and then watched some tv before going to bed at my usual time.

You might roll your eyes like “okay, losing weight made you able to drive longer distances? that’s a stretch” and ya know what, maybe it is. But in losing weight, I gained some things too, one of which was clearly increased energy and stamina, so let me have it 🙂



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