"If you go this way you only have to turn right, if you go the other way you have to make two lefts."
I pause and then realize what I'm doing.
"Oops, sorry I was telling you how to drive."
He makes his way to the highway and I ask him if he had been impressed earlier in the day, when we were in big city far away, without a map and on an unfamiliar street, that I hadn't gotten bossy and tried to tell him how to drive.
He replies that he was although there had been a bit of snarkiness in my voice when I'd told him he had lucked out when we blindly turned onto a familiar street, the same street that would get us out of the city of a million people without making another turn for 60 blocks. He said it calmly and I calmly admitted that yep, I had had a bit of snarkiness in there. I apologized.
We talked about how he processed what was going on within him at my snarkiness and how I processed my fear that we were in a big city without my meticulous, turn right on 11th Ave. and then left on 23rd st. directions that I normally write. The directions that make me feel safe and secure to know where we are headed and how to get there. My snarkiness was part relief of recognizing a familiar street and part plain bitchiness that he hadn't seemed in the least fazed when it appeared that we didn't know how to get where we were going. Misery likes company and all that jazz.
If you only knew how these kind of situations used to turn into ugly fights that racheted up the stress level until it crowded the roof of the car and seeped out of the windows. It is amazing to me that we can have a matter of fact conversation about my shit and his shit without getting the lines blurred and with both of us coming out of it with a new awareness of ourselves, encouraging each other in that awareness and having not taken one iota of the conversation personally.