Who’s In The Driver’s Seat?

by Joan Oshatz on January 10, 2011 in Wedding

Friday, August 1st, 1980 was the day I had waited ten years for.  Paul and I were getting married.  The night before we had made our plans.  I was to pick Paul up at the hospital at seven in the morning, after he had finished working his night shift.  We then were going to drive to City Hall in downtown Los Angeles — where we would fill out the application for our marriage license and get married by a judge.  It all seemed so simple.  What could possible go wrong?

Everything, it seemed.

It started out with me being twenty-five minutes late.  When Paul climbed into the car he had an agitated look on his face.  “Here it comes,” I thought.  Paul had thought things over and decided that ten years of going together was just not enough time to rush into something as important as marriage.  After all, marriage was a big commitment.

I braced myself for the words I imagined Paul was about to say, “I’m getting closer to marriage, Joanie.  I’m just not quite there yet.  What do you say we forget about getting married today and go out and have a nice breakfast at Nate ‘n Al’s Delicatessen?  You like their lox and onion omelet with a potato pancake.”

I was trying to figure out what I would say if Paul offered me a lox and onion omelet with a potato pancake instead of marriage when he said sharply, “What is it with you that you can never be on time for anything?  I would have thought that today you would have been on time for sure.  Instead you’re almost a half hour late.  I bet you’ll even be late for your own funeral!”

“I’m sorry, Paul.”

“Do you have any idea how annoying it is to always have to wait for you?”

Like it wasn’t annoying for me to wait ten years for Paul to marry me?

“Let’s not start the day off by arguing.”

“Well, if you had been on time!”

“Do you know how to get to City Hall?”

“I never go downtown.”

“I’ll find it.”

“I’m sure you will,” Paul said.  He rested back in the seat and closed his eyes.

“Busy night?”


I momentarily turned my attention off the road and looked at Paul.  “I’m sorry you had such a rough night.”

Suddenly Paul opened his eyes and screamed, “Watch the road!”

I slammed on the brakes.  I had almost driven through a red light.  The car jerked back and forth.  “What are you trying to do — get us both killed?”  Paul put his hand up to his forehead in distress.  “This is not at all how I visualized my wedding day would be.”

“How did you visualize it?”

“Well, for one thing, I always thought that I would be in the driver’s seat,” Paul said.


{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Bev January 10, 2011 at 7:33 pm

It does seem that wedding days don’t go as planned oft times. Joan, in your writing of this exchange of words, you conveyed quite nicely your feelings of uncertainty of the wedding ever occurring (and I was expecting that to happen). Also your love for Paul was quite evident because despite the darts, you were caring, loving and supportive.

I think the fact that he did not feel he was in the driver’s seat after ten years is quite a statement. I am very curious as to how you responded. Just reading it made me think, “Oh, my God!”


abadmarriageisfattening January 10, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Bev, I cannot give away what happens, because then I would be getting ahead of my story, but my wedding day and what happened very shortly after Paul and I got married is a total shocker — and I think that you will agree with me after you read it!

Thanks for being such a loyal reader. 🙂


Marlene January 10, 2011 at 10:17 pm

Girl, I’m on the edge of my seat! How long do we have to wait for the rest of the story?


abadmarriageisfattening January 10, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Marlene, I’m going to post another post this week so stayed tuned! 🙂


Patti Hanan January 11, 2011 at 7:24 pm

You are a strong woman, Joan. Your gift for writing will help many women who have suffered from verbal abuse as they learn from your example. You go, girl!


abadmarriageisfattening January 13, 2011 at 10:43 pm

Patti, I started writing this blog one year ago, on January 1st 2010, because I felt passionate about the story I had to tell. You see, I did not feel that I was alone. I thought that there must be millions of women, like me, who felt trapped in unhappy marriages and turned to food for comfort and to numb their feelings.

By telling my own story truthfully, I hope that any of my readers who feel trapped in unhappy marriages might glimpse pieces of themselves in me and gain insight into why they have chosen to stay in an unhappy marriage. It is only by understanding ourselves that we are finally free to move on with our lives.


Cat January 11, 2011 at 8:02 pm

love the way you can find humor in an otherwise sad story……….I’m on pins and needles waiting for more:)


abadmarriageisfattening January 13, 2011 at 11:07 pm

Cat, I am thankful that I have a sense of humor and can laugh at myself. Fortunately for me, my readers are not laughing at me, but with me! 🙂


Doreen Lombardo January 11, 2011 at 9:35 pm

I can’t wait to read the rest.


abadmarriageisfattening January 11, 2011 at 11:12 pm

Thanks, Doreen — and I can’t wait to write the rest! 🙂


katlupe January 15, 2011 at 5:25 pm

I think the lox and onion omelet with potato pancake would have been a much better option. Maybe YOU should have been the one to suggest it to him! Then you would have seen what his true feelings were.


abadmarriageisfattening January 16, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Katlupe, on my wedding day I wasn’t thinking about food. And what do you mean I should have tested what Paul’s true feelings were for me? Isn’t it obvious that he was head over heels in love with me?

You mean it isn’t obvious that Paul was deeply in love with me? I’m going to have to go back and reread that post. I was sure that I made Paul’s feelings for me obvious! 🙂


katlupe January 16, 2011 at 4:50 pm

No, it did not sound like he was madly in love with you. He sounded like he was thinking you could take care of everything for him. And he could lean back and close his eyes, thinking,”Joan will take care of the details of my life now.”


abadmarriageisfattening January 16, 2011 at 5:07 pm

No, Katlupe, I never took care of the details in Paul’s life after we were married. Being a bachelor his entire life he was totally self sufficient and set in his ways.


The Redhead Riter January 16, 2011 at 6:44 pm

Mama mia! What a lovely start to your nightmare! Well, I’m glad you didn’t die while driving almost through a red light. It really is easy to do when your mind is preoccupied with happiness or depression. Either way, it is very dangerous.

By the way, what a terrible place to stop the story! Just when I was getting on a roll. 😮


abadmarriageisfattening January 16, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Redhead Riter, I’m working on my next post — honest I am! 🙂


bevysthots April 6, 2011 at 6:35 am

It’s April – when can we expect another installment – you must be VERY busy. 🙂 I’m from The Blog Froggie place. 🙂


abadmarriageisfattening April 8, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Bevysthots, another installment will be coming soon. Thank you so much for your patience. 🙂


Lisa January 17, 2011 at 5:29 pm

Haven’t posted before, but am now very interested because I find myself in a similar boat. 17 years and 35 pounds later, and never thinking it would happen to me, I am heading for divorce after a long self-destructive period. Will keep reading…


abadmarriageisfattening January 17, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Lisa, welcome and thank you for being a new reader to my blog. It is so true what you wrote — none of us every dreamed that we would end up in this boat. And although our stories may differ — we all ended up in a similar boat!

You might want to read some archive posts and see if any resonate with you.

I know that what you are going through now is an emotionally trying time, but I can assure you that there is life after divorce — and for me my life turned out so much better. I hope just knowing that might give you some hope!


Laura January 19, 2011 at 1:33 pm

I just finished reading every entry in your blog. I am loving it, and now will be a faithful follower. You are awesome woman!!!!


abadmarriageisfattening January 19, 2011 at 11:11 pm

Laura, I am delighted that you have read every entry in my blog and are enjoying my writing so much! Thank you so much for your compliment! I am truly touched and I appreciate having you as a reader! 🙂


katlupe January 28, 2011 at 5:05 pm

I keep looking for the new post. You make me anxious to read the next one.


abadmarriageisfattening January 28, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Katlupe, thank you for being anxious to read my new post! I do have a good reason why my new post has not been written yet! I am out of town right now attending a writers conference — but I do have a long plane trip back home and maybe I can get it written on the trip back! 🙂


Kathy Morelli, LPC January 30, 2011 at 10:19 am

Wow, Great post about marriage and power struggles! I was tagged in a game and if you have time to play it, fine, it not that’s ok, too!
Cheers! I recently won The Stylish Blogger Award and now I am passing it onto you. Congratulations! Find out the award details here: http://blog.birthtouch.com Namaste, Kathy


katlupe April 8, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Still waiting………..


abadmarriageisfattening April 8, 2011 at 8:39 pm

Okay Katlupe, I get the hint! 🙂


Aleta April 8, 2011 at 7:57 pm

Wow! What a brilliant start to reading your blog!
You’re such a gifted writer, Joan! (You *are* planning to make a book out of this, aren’t you? Hint! Hint!)


abadmarriageisfattening April 8, 2011 at 8:44 pm

Aleta, thank you for your lovely compliment! It means a lot to me when a reader enjoys what I have written. Yes, A Bad Marriage Is Fattening is definitely going to be published as a memoir.


K.T. April 14, 2011 at 12:50 pm

I was only in my bad and fattening marriage for 4 years but that was 4 too long! Love what I’ve read so far!!!


abadmarriageisfattening April 18, 2011 at 11:50 am

K.T. you are right! Even 4 years in a bad marriage is too long — when you find yourself turning to food as an emotional substitute to get your emotional needs met.


Storm Dweller July 31, 2011 at 6:59 am

I just discovered your blog, and you are indeed a wonderful writer. I love your narrative style, and I will definitely be coming back to read more.


abadmarriageisfattening July 31, 2011 at 8:09 am

Storm, welcome to my blog and thank you for your kind words about my writing! I have said it before — and I will say it again, “It is always music to a writer’s ears when someone enjoys their writing.” Contrary to what some people might think, since I have not posted a new post since January 10th 2011, I have not abandoned this blog. I did, however, take time off from my writing because at the end of January I suffered three blood clots from a plane trip I took. I was hospitalized and while in the hospital I developed three more blood clots — so I ended up with six blood clots! I have now fully recovered and I will return back to writing this blog! I want to thank all my readers for their patience and understanding as to why it has been such a long time since I have posted.


Storm Dweller August 1, 2011 at 8:00 am

I wait with baited breath!


cat August 16, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Love your new home page, love your blogs!!


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