Thursday, February 25, 2010

Backseat Drivers

I always hated backseat drivers. They drew my attention away from the road and managed to slip in some comment alluding to my dangerous speeds or lack of using a turn signal. I'd like to think that I am a pretty good driver, but I guess it's all relative. One thing I am not is an overly cautious driver. I'm not reckless, per se, but I have been known to have some great "defensive driving" skills in my driving tenure. Speaking of driving tenure, I am going to be very sad when I hit the point in my life when I have been driving longer than I haven't been driving. I realized that the day after I turn 32, I will have officially been a licensed driver for longer in my life that I was an unlicensed driver ... sad. I know it seems trite, but for some reason it makes me feel older (as I'm sure the day I turn 32 will make me feel old as well).

Anyway, back to the point. My mom is the worst of all my backseat drivers (sorry mom :-)). She is so good at it that she doesn't even have to SAY anything. She communicates her anxiety strictly in body language. Well, not body language so much as awkward and forceful stomps on her imaginary brake when she thinks I am not stopping quickly enough. This is in addition to loud gasps of air I hear her sucking in as I change lanes too quickly for her liking. I just chalk it up to the protective motherly instinct. Hey, maybe I'll be like that when my kids learn to drive ... three at the same time ... Lord help me.

Since the kids are unable to drive the car themselves these days, I spend a lot of my time carting them around in Mr. Mini Van to various activities. They really do enjoy going in the car for some reason, I'm at a loss as to why. But I don't question it because it's a lot easier to go places when they enjoy the ride. I remember when they were babies they used to HATE the car. They were ok as long as we were moving, but if we had to come to any type of stop at a light or in traffic, they screamed. It got bad enough that we would take much longer routes to get places as long as they involed long stretches of highway and no traffic lights. I am glad those days are over and that driving can be somewhat pleasant again.

I only say sometimes pleasant because my little car riders have now adopted an affinity for backseat driving. Oh, they're not savvy enough to tell when when to turn my turn signal on or to slow down, but they do like to give commentary on the day's events, their needs and wants, and just basic observations (this actually constitutes the bulk of the comments). Here are some examples of what I get to hear on a daily basis on my rides in the car:

Sam: "It's cold outside today."

Me: "I know Sammy."

Sam: "Well, then turn on the heat!"

Sam (as we're passing the KFC with a picture of Colonel Sanders on the sign): "Look, it's Grandaddy!"

I had to give it to him on this one. It was an older man with white hair wearing glasses - a good description of Grandaddy (Sam's great grandad) if you ask me.

Many comments are ones they make to themselves that I just happen to overhear.

Sam (to himself): "You hungry Sammy? You hungry? Yummy biscuits!"

I'm pretty sure Sam has never had a biscuit (sad, I know), so I don't know how he knows they are yummy ... but he's right again!

Peyton: "Calculating ... calculating."

Anyone with a GPS system will know what I am talking about.

And finally ....

Sam: "I want a f@%&ing tissue."

Me: "WHAT?!?!?"

Sam: "I want a f@%&ing tissue."

Me: "A WHAT tissue?"

I realized at this point that he is pointing to the package of FROGGY tissues sitting in the front seat. I guess "froggy" is hard for him to enunciate correctly because it definitely sounded like something else! This made me feel much better since my mind was racing with thoughts of Sam sitting outside smoking cigarettes with his tattoos and swearing with all his other 2 year old friends. I do admit that we still hold up the froggy tissues and ask him to identify them since it brings us a good laugh.

Most of the comments I hear are from Sam since he sits directly behind my seat. The girls are in the back, so their comments are more muddled and harder to make out. I'm considering rotating Peyton, our motor mouth, to the seat where Sam sits so I can hear more of what she is saying. I'm sure she has some pretty good comments. However, in the Clifford triplet land of order and routine, this would probably cause a meltdown of some sort and I'm not really willing to take that chance. Maybe one day when I'm feeling brave and have some reinforcements nearby. For now, I'll just keep the radio turned down low and listen to what other inventive and interesting things they come up with next!

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