Saturday, October 16, 2010

I'm A Back Seat Driver

Why is this as funny as it is annoying?

Because I don't drive.

Seventeen years old and I don't drive. I don't even have a permit.

I am the bane of many people's existences.

Anyway, my younger sister, Clare, is learning to drive. She was practicing with our Mother today and I was along for the ride. Funny, when my older sister learned to drive, I was worried the whole time I was in the car with her. (She was a bit jerky on the whole stopping-starting thing and she was nervous a lot. Bad vibes, man.) With Clare, I was so relaxed I almost feel asleep. (She's a smoother on the accelerator.) And I almost did... except for the part when she drove up on the curb and jolted me awake.

In all seriousness, she was doing very well. It was only a minor disagreement with the curb and she trampled it into submission with minimal damage to our respective spinal cords. And I wasn't sleeping. I was coaching her along. Wise and encouraging words flowed forth from my lips like a fountain. A very talkative fountain.

"Slower on the turns. One hand over the other on the wheel. Like how sailors pull in their sails? That's a girl. Very good."

"Splendid, Clare! You only took out four imaginary cars!!"

"You have your own lane, sweetheart. You can get out of theirs."

"Give the poor thing some gas, please. I don't think you'll make this turn at four miles an hour."

At one point my Mother asked at when I had read the drivers manual. (Um... never? I had no desire to.) Then she said she wanted to see my oh-so-advanced knowledge of driving in practice.

No, thanks, Mom. Really, I'm fine.

Why don't I drive? I can't remember wanting to as a kid. Mostly it just scared me and I wondered how adults managed to keep their eyes on the road and stay awake. Looked terribly dull. Still does.

It still scares me to some degree. The few times I have driven, it's felt weird. Wrong somehow. Probably it would go away with practice, but I am adverse to the idea. I'm a hazard. I'm doing the world a favor staying off the roads.

Besides, I love shot gun. You have the view, control of the radio, but none of the responsibility. Well, I suppose I am still responsible for distracting the driver, but that's easy. Not to mention fun.

I suppose I will eventually learn to drive. But I'm in no hurry. Being a back seat driver is so much more fun.


  1. When I was 14, my then-18-year-old sister got into a huge car accident because she was too busy lighting a cigarette and fiddling with the radio to notice the huge patch of black ice on the highway ahead of her.

    I haven't trusted other drivers since, so I admire your sense of ease as your sister's wingman of sorts.

    No rush to get your own license. It's a lot easier and cheaper to let someone else get behind the wheel. You write about the experience in such a delightful manner, btw.

  2. I'm 18 and only have my permit-my 16 year old brother will beat me no doubt. I really don't want to drive either...hooray for both of us!!!!!!!