Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Backseat Driving Done Right

It's Graduation season, that time of the year when high school and college students finish their schooling and walk across the stage in a cap and gown to get a piece of paper with their name on it.  As it happens, this year my niece Courtney walked the stage as she graduated from high school, and the family trooped off to the Laurie Auditorium at Trinity University to watch this milestone.  I rode with my parents to the event. 

It's been awhile since I have ridden in the backseat of the family car, and things have changed since then.  For one thing, I developed a bit of claustrophobia, and sitting in the backseat is a little close.  For another, my parents are older.  My dad normally drives a huge pick up truck, but for this evening we were in my mother's Honda.  Except that my dad was driving like he was still in his pickup; he pretended that speed bumps put on our route weren't there and barely slowed down.  Short as I am, it was difficult not to go airborne.  I was grateful for the seatbelt!  I noticed my mother gripping her hands together, and I knew that she was nervous about her car. 

After the graduation ceremony, we returned to the car and headed home.  My dad exited the university, then headed for the traffic light.  He put on his turn signal at the stop light.  That's when the fun started, just like when I was a kid.

Mom:  "There's no right turn on red here,"

Dad: "There's no sign saying that."  

Mom: "Yes there is."

Dad: "I don't see any sign."

"Dad, you can't see oncoming traffic,"   I could not see the traffic light from the backseat, but I could see the left corner of the road jutting out to block our view. I felt compelled to speak up. 

Mom: "And it's no right turn on red."    Luckily, the light turned green, saving my dad from responding.  As we turned the corner, I saw the sign my mom was talking about, but kept quiet.  It became obvious that my dad was in a hurry to get home. 

"Dad, you're going a little fast.  There's a lot of cops out tonight."  I didn't mean to say a word; I had resolved to sit quietly in the backseat.  But my mother trained me well, and I could not help myself. I proceeded to correct his driving several more times, becoming more and more horrified at myself.  I even mentioned the speed bumps on the way back!  

"Can I just drive?" My dad had had enough of my shenanigans.  I'd had enough of myself as well.  However, I think my mom was secretly pleased. 

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