Daughter’s driving flaws point back to dad

This was published in the May 15, 2018 edition of the Joplin Globe.

I would never be a backseat driver.I suppose the reason I would never be a backseat driver is that I am seldom if ever in the backseat of a car. I think when you’re in the backseat of a car you are far enough removed from the driving action that you aren’t in a position to engage in any backseat driving.

Real backseat driving should take place from the front passenger seat because you are closer to the actual driving.

But even when sitting in the front passenger seat I try to resist the temptation to backseat drive.

Unless I am riding in Emma’s car, like I was on Sunday afternoon.

My wife borrowed my car to haul some plants to her mother’s house, so I was riding with my 20-year-old daughter so we could pick up a few things for the Mother’s Day dinner Emma and I were working on.

That’s right. Rather than watch the St. Louis Cardinals baseball game I was shopping for a Mother’s Day dinner with Emma.

You may send my “Husband and Father of the Year” plaques to my house.

By the way, whenever my wife needs to haul something that will likely dirty up a car, she uses mine.

We will be leaving for a trip and when I open the back of my car to load a suitcase I will find it covered with dirt.

“Oh, I forgot,” my wife will say, “I used your car to haul some plants.”

“I see,” I will say, because I can clearly see the dirt.

The reason I feel it is OK to backseat drive when I’m riding in the front passenger seat of Emma’s car is because I’m the one who taught her how to drive. I figure any flaw in Emma’s driving is a reflection on my teaching abilities.

The only problem is that Emma hates it when I offer unsolicited critiques of her driving. The way I figure it, Emma figures that if there are flaws in her driving abilities, they are my fault so I don’t have any right to point them out to her.

The flaw I attempted to point out to Emma on Sunday was the flaw of pulling away from a stop sign into the path of an oncoming car that did not have a stop sign.

Because I assumed that Emma saw the oncoming car and I didn’t expect her to pull in front of it when she did, all I could manage to say was something that sounded like “WA-WA-CAA-RRR,” which prompted Emma to say, “What are you … oh,” and stomp on her brakes.

Because the intersection was under some construction, Emma looked at me and calmly said, “I thought the road was blocked.”

When riding in the front passenger seat of Emma’s car I also have to deal with the issue of music. For many years, while Emma was a passenger in my car, she was forced to listen to Jimmy Buffett’s radio station — something that she didn’t think was fair. When I would point out that when she was younger I was forced to listen to Disney music, Emma would say, “I don’t see how that is germane to our current conversation.”

So when I’m riding in the front passenger seat of Emma’s car she feels it’s only fair that I listen to her music, which I don’t think is fair.

Sure, as the driver of the car, Emma should be able to pick the music, but in this case I paid for the car so I feel I should be able to pick the music.

But I don’t.

I’m too busy watching the road in case I have to yell, “WA-WA-CAA-RRR” again.

Leave a Reply