Are you too happy with your current car riding situation? Want to make yourself crawl out of your skin with annoyance in a matter of minutes? Perhaps you’re looking for a surefire way to ruin a lovely jaunt around town? Look no further, I have your solution: Have my dad ride shotgun while you drive.
For those of you unaware, my pops is a bit of a grouch (whatashock) his hobbies include yelling and wearing the same polyester shorts he purchased in 1982. Last week he called in a nonchalant manner to tell me my Mom, who has been sick for the past year and a half, was back in the hospital. Don’t worry, she’s fine and matter of fact, should be getting out sometime this week. As he went through our normal “Mom’s back in the hospital call,” we checked off the list: 1. What happened/ What’s wrong 2. What the team of Docs thinks 3. Possible fixes and 4. Room number
As we got ready to end the now-routine phone call, he added something. The man who has been in charge of helping my sick ma, needed help himself.
“Oh and, um…I’m having foot surgery next week. They don’t think it’s a smart idea for me to drive myself to the office afterwards. Think you can drive me to the surgery and then…”
“Dad, you can’t go to work immediately after surgery. It’s called surgery for a reason. I will come down, take you to and from the Surgical center and set you up AT HOME!”
“Appreciate it, bye.”
And so, yesterday (HALLOWEEN!) for the first time in over 15 years, I got in the car with my father, with ME in the driver’s seat. Me, the sainted adult child HAPPY to be helping him!!!
What a fool I was.
It started immediately. As we were pulling out of the driveway, he told me how to back my car up. “Pull it back a little more before you turn off onto the street.”
Yeah buddy, I know, I LIVED HERE ONCE, remember?
As we got going he had stern instruction or comments for everything. And I mean everything. From: “Don’t hit the man getting out of his car.” To “That joker over there is going to turn, you need to change lanes.”
Oh LERD it annoyed me. Ever the cheerful SAINTLY ELDEST CHILD, I kept my rage in a cage. But now Dad? Now that I’m not sitting next to you with a sleeping baby in the backseat, safely separated by 70 miles, I’m just gonna say it: I’m a grown azzed woman, DAD! I don’t need to be reminded to put on my blinker!
Forget the GPS calmly instructing through my truck speakers FERDINAND MAGELLAN aka my dad, has it down. “Mute that thing, it’s an idiot machine who doesn’t know what it’s talking about.” <—- Actual quote.
And even better than a Garmin, Tom Tom or iPhone, Pops made sure to alert me of every speed limit sign with: “The speed limit is fill in the blank with EVERY SINGLE SPEED LIMIT SIGN!” When he wasn’t alerting me of potential speed zones and traps, or point-blank quizzing me: “What speed are you going now?” My dad was constantly staring at my speedometer, just sure I was “gunning it.” (SPOILER ALERT: I was going 5 UNDER the limit the whole dang trip!!!)
Real Talk: Next time I drive him somewhere I’m gonna cover my speedometer with a www.grouchymuffin.com post, that way there’s a chance my dad might read something on this clap-trap hobo parlor of a website.
Today’s post would tick him off, not because I’m riffing on what a HORRIBLE passenger seat driver he is, but because I didn’t mention the most rockin’ moment of the day. Ever the music fanatic and good hostess, I put on something I knew my pops would be down with: the local oldies station. He was bandaged up feeling no pain, on his way home when The Steve Miller Band came on the radio.
“All-Right! Jungle Love!” he rejoiced and began his famous DAD DANCE. For those of you unaware, the “dad dance,” is merely my father repeatedly doing a neck-thrust chin move thing that can only be described as embarrassing.
As he grooved to the musical stylings of rock hero(!) Steve Miller, my dad momentarily forgot to tell me how to drive and refrained from making comments for 3 glorious minutes of “dad rock” bliss. And what did I do during those wonderfully quiet 3 minutes?
I missed the stupid exit. Thus reminding him how important his constant passengers side criticism/direction was. He didn’t falter in this very important task of direction and critique, for the remaining 30 minutes in the car.