Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Ubiquitous Back-seat Driver

If you are married or partnered in one form or another, a certain type of argument arises among couples of all nations and nationalities - if they regularly drive together in car.

Known as the "back-seat driver," the person sitting in the front passenger seat (an oxymoron unto itself) has as good a view of the highways and byways as the driver. And therein lies the problem.

The pair of eyes not in control of the steering wheel, brakes and accelerator feels disempowered, relegated to watching for potential mishaps with no ability to control them with the car's mechanisms. Thus, the only form of control left to the passenger is the vocal chords.

And this is where a couples' bliss ends. The sudden gasps, screams, or admonishments of the passive one have an unnerving effect on the driver. Depending on the temperment of said person, the response is either a calm, "I saw that, no worries darling," (not likely), "I know what I'm doing," (said with decided annoyance), or a loudly pronounced response, "You scared the hell out of me, I SAW that, STOP!"

If the couple has been together for a number of years, this third scenario is the most likely one, as the buildup of petty frights unrealized ends up in a detente most unpleasant.

A lovely Sunday drive ends up with two people sitting in stoney silence, sitting side-by-side in their automobile. A drive to their favorite restaurant becomes a dinner of polite remarks over tautly drawn lips.

As one of the best back-seat drivers on the planet, my revenge is sweet. For every ten thousand times I have gasped, screamed, or slammed my foot on the non-brake of the car's floor mat, my warnings have prevented at least three potentially fatal mishaps - begrudgingly admitted to by the male driver. 

So for all of you who despise the backseat driver in your car, please remember - that thorn in your side may end up being the golden wings of your salvation.

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