The hardest part of our transition from San Francisco to Detroit has been how much driving we have to do here. My 2000 Volkswagen twice sat in our San Francisco garage over four months, and the battery died both times. I had to go down and ask the weird Chinese guys who lived beneath our stairs if they could help me jump start it. I loved walking everywhere. I loved buses. I hate parking. And traffic. And yet we moved to a metro area so dependent on the car that people here speak of pedestrians or public transportation the way one might speak of unicorns or the chupacabra. Metro Detroiters literally do not see pedestrians, perhaps because as part of their undying love for the automobile, they've shoved their heads so far up their own asses that they've simply mistaken the color of their intestinal tract for the burgundy interior of a Mercury Grand Marquis. With a child in my arms, I have had to learn to practice "defensive walking." Still, the other day a guy jumped out of his Navigator and told me he "ought to bitch slap" me for having the audacity to give him a dirty look after he almost hit me turning into the crosswalk where I was legally crossing the street. Wood frequently gets home to describe close calls of almost being hit on her walk home from work. I am less scared of thugs with semiautomatic handguns than I am of some girl from the suburbs text messaging while she turns onto the I-75 North on-ramp without realizing there is a human being there crossing the street.

I will admit I am a bit of fuddy-duddy when it comes to shit like texting. Back when cell phones were just starting to become widespread, I would sit on my porch in Ann Arbor and listen to sorority girls walking past having the most inane one-sided conversations I had ever heard. "Why do they think they are so important that they have to talk to someone while they are walking?" I would ask Wood. See, I do not like talking on the telephone and I would prefer no one ever called me. E-mail is okay, but I would prefer to communicate with owls, or telegrams delivered by plucky street urchins on bikes. Until recently, I would flip off every shitbird I saw texting while they drive on the highway. They certainly wouldn't see it, and it made me feel better. The thing is, I have been seeing so many people texting while driving that I don't even bother anymore. Wood has a co-worker who has been pulled over three times for swerving into other highway lanes. Presuming her drunk, the police let her go when they determined her sober. She has confessed to Wood, however, that each time she was texting. I don't get why anyone would want to write a text message while they drive. Can't they just call? Can't it wait? Are they that eager to prove Darwin right? Sometimes when I look over at a rusted-out mid-80s Plymouth Duster being driven by the kind of woman who gets discovered with six dozen cats in her house passing me on the right at 95 MPH while texting and I think, "Jesus Christ, every day I'm putting my life and the life of my child into the hands of someone like that?"

And then I don't drive for three days.

But there is also the whole other matter of the state of our car's interior. I drove down to Adrian to see my grandfather the other day, but when we went to lunch I made him drive separately because I was too embarrassed to let him sit in our car. Now that the warm weather is back, Juniper's pruno distillery is working overtime, and after a long Michigan winter that shit is going to be some cold-filtered genuine draft. This morning as we drove around the suburbs looking for something to buy Wood for mother's day, Juniper threw a fit in her car seat and I did the only thing I know how to do in that situation: throw her food and pray she shuts the hell up. But this time there was no food. I stopped at Donutville, USA and got her a glazed cake which quieted her down for about four seconds before I looked in the rearview to see her doing that pre-meltdown intake of breath with an exploded doughnut on her lap. It looked like someone had stuck the tiniest stick of dynamite in there. How does a doughnut explode?

I called Wood to complain, and while dialing came within inches of hitting a teenage girl jaywalking across the road.