People on the Highway

This week has been dedicated to getting back on a “school year” schedule as my wife heads back to work tomorrow.  What I have learned this week is that kids start school too dang early in the morning.  If I ever run for office, it will be for school board on the single issue platform “I am tired of watching the sun rise.”  To ensure the kids get to daycare and I get to work on time, we leave early in the morning.

I want to talk about how I interact with mornings for just a moment.  Poorly.  I interact poorly with mornings.  Moment over.

My kids and wife love mornings.  The toddler wakes up shrieking with glee, the firstborn jumps out of bed, my wife is like a friggin’ Disney princess and just wakes up ready to face the day.  They are all bizarre human beings.

On today’s drive, I saw (read: projected) a kindred spirit just tired of her passengers’ guff.

Today’s tale: The Back Seat Driver

The one thing I have learned whilst watching other drivers in the morning is that senior citizens are living large.  Other age groups are generally single occupancy vehicles or have children in the back seat, and let’s face it when children are around adults are working.  Be it not cursing or pretending to take part in a conversation, kids are work.  Whenever I see a member of the retired crowd driving around town though, the car is packed with laughing friends heading to wherever their morning is taking them.

It’s an enviable state.  I could simply be jealous that they will soon have coffee in their veins.  Four silver haired pals in the confined space of a newer Ford I could not identify.  Blue-ish and sleek, the car maintained a solid 10 miles per hour under the speed limit as we drove down a side street that only recently increased its speed limit, so the slowed speed was forgivable.

As we were approaching a traffic light, I saw the driver for who she was.  She was like me.  She hated the morning.  She was doing everything within her power to not let on with her passengers that she would prefer to sleep right now.  I saw her face in the rear view mirror, a forced smile.  Her hand was raised against the window to block the sun.  She slumped a little forward as if her body was trying to lay back down for a nap.

She was keeping her cool until one of the back seat passengers gestured.  Not the sort of gesture that accompanies a particularly thrilling story, but one that meant “why did you not turn right?” It was on.

I could almost hear the other two in the car cringe as the back seat driver made his opinion known.

The driver has lived in this town her whole life.  She knows every short cut, every traffic pattern, every little pot hole these roads have to offer.  She is taking them to a little cafe she discovered a few years ago, but forgot about until one of them asked if there was “any place new” for breakfast.  She was excited to share her discovery.  She was pleased to be driving her #Squad, as she heard her granddaughter call it, to the spot as well.  Then the schmuck in the back seat thought he knew better.

I am pretty sure she threatened to turn the car around.  I doubt the reaction would have changed if she was indeed a morning person, but it did not help the matter.

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