There are a lot of jokes, even blogs about back seat drivers, the eternal irritant who is determined to tutor the driver with unending advice ranging from directions to safety tips, yet I don’t think there is enough said about the driver who feels the need to remotely correct the bad habits of fellow drivers on the road. I’m not talking about the aggressive driver who deliberately behaves in such a manner as to risk an accident. No road rage or challenging other drivers to get out of their car to duke it out. I’m referring to drivers who feel it is their responsibility to report their observations to their passengers regarding the careless, ignorant, reckless, inconsiderate and unfit maneuvers of fellow drivers.
My husband, Captain Kurbash, as I refer to him, is one of these expert analysts. Strangely, I have never found his announcements irritating but rather a source of amusement. It’s almost like listening to a sports commentator. I know that no matter how short or long our driving distance, I will be entertained.
It usually begins at the stop sign at the first corner. Since it is a four way stop, drivers are hesitant to proceed or they simply don’t know the rules of such an intersection.
“While we’re young,” he says as he pulls up behind someone. “Are you waiting for a green light?” This one puts a smile on my face because I actually sat at a stop sign once, deep in thought on other things, expecting to see a go sign.
“Don’t even think about it,” he warns through clenched teeth to stop drivers from entering the freeway out of turn.
“Incoming,” he looks into the rear view mirror and glares at a passing speeder changing lanes every few seconds. “Really?” He asks the driver who just pulled into the lane in front of him. “There’s no exit. Why is it so important for you to cut me off?” This is usually followed by his compulsion to go around the driver and give them a look of disgust along with a slow shake of his head. This would be my cue to say, “You showed him, and I’ll bet he’ll never do that again.” He ignores my remark.
“Look at this genius.” He points to a driver who can’t seem to decide which lane to drive in. “It must be nice to own the road.” The sigh he emits equals the sound of air being released from an accordion’s bellows.
“Nice move,” he says to someone who crosses three lanes to exit the freeway. In the next moment, “it’s the peddle on the right,” meant for the driver who doesn’t adjust their speed when getting on the freeway. “You’re not going to tip over if you get on before the ramp ends!” He lets off the gas and furiously waves (with all five fingers) to the driver to speed up and merge onto the freeway.
“First solo drive?” is usually reserved for the slow driver. “You think you’re invisible?” A quick toot of the horn announces his displeasure and usually startles the other driver.
Sometimes we come across someone who is looking for an address. “Sightseeing or just stoned? Get a GPS!” This remark comes just before speeding around them.
“Dial that big round ring in front of you!” He believes this actually helps a driver make a turn faster. “That’s it, I knew you could do it.” He gives them thumbs up.
If he happens to see someone roll through a stop sign, “No, that’s ok, don’t stop, I’m sure you have real important places to be.” Sometimes he turns to me and says, “he probably has to drop the kids off at the pool.” I have learned that he means he has to go to the bathroom.
In a traffic jam, he talks to the rear view mirror. “Yeah, keep honking and I’ll blaze a trail just for you.”
What do I do while all of this driving education is going on?
One of my favorite comedy movies is, Galaxy Quest (1999). It is a spoof on Star Trek and even if you aren’t a Trekkie, you will laugh. It stars Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver. There is a scene where the ship’s Beryllium Sphere is fractured and they must visit a mysterious planet to obtain a replacement. Tony Shalhoub plays Fred Kwan, the engineer tech Sgt. As they make this very dangerous trip to the planet in the small shuttle, being bounced around by turbulence and pelted by space debris, Tony sits shotgun, smiling with amusement as he eats a snack of cheese and crackers.
I think of Tony’s amused expression and I smile.
We have reached our destination. As we walk though the parking lot my husband finds at least one crooked car.
“Nice parking,” he says sarcastically.