Why I Will Not Drive With My Parents
Oh yeah. In my previous post “Why I Will Not Drive With My Parents – Part 1” I mentioned that my folks feel the need to critique my driving. That’s my other pet peeve about driving with them. They can’t seem to remember that I have been driving for many years now, and I am not still 16 with a newly-minted drivers license. Here’s an example:
We switch drivers in Spokane, and it’s my turn in the hot … uh … driver’s seat. Now you need to know, once you head south out of Spokane there is a LONG, uneventful drive until you get to the Tri Cities area. And, as I hope, everyone else in the car falls asleep. YEESSS!
My hope is that everyone STAYS asleep until we cross back over into Oregon. But that’s not going to happen. Both my parents wake up just before we start through the Tri-Cities area. And my mom fires up the “navigator” app on her phone. She seems to have forgotten that I have driven this route numerous times while my daughter attended college in Missoula, when I went to visit her there for football games and such. Or drove over for graduation. Etc.
Anyway, she doesn’t say anything, just opens the app. But I can hear it … from the backseat, the voice calmly directing me which exit to take, how long before I need to turn, etc. I bite my tongue and resist the urge to frantically reach back, grab the phone and chuck it out the window.
With the Tri-Cities area cleared, my parents start in again just short of the Oregon/Washington line. After their nap, they are rested and primed. And they disagree about which highway we need to take to get back to Portland.
Mom – (to me) “Now you’ll need to take Highway 34 as soon as you cross over the bridge.”
Dad – (sitting in the front seat, not hearing what Mom just said) “Highway 375 should get you right onto Highway 84 as soon as you get across the bridge.”
Mom – (to Dad) “Once you get on Highway 34 it automatically turns into Highway 84.”
Dad – (still not hearing what Mom said, asking my daughter in the back seat) “Rachel, can you hand me a bottle of water?”
I drive across the bridge, planning to take Highway 34, because I already know that’s the shortest way to get to Highway 84. As I get to the exit sign for Highway 375, Dad pipes up and says, “Right here. This is where you need to get off. Take this exit.” Oh, what the hell. I love my dad. I don’t feel like arguing. We’ll take the exit – not a big deal. But now Mom is riled.
Mom – “No! That way is all small towns and back roads. It just adds time. Your dad likes to go that way because it’s habit. You should have stayed on and got off at the exit for Highway 34. Now we’ve added about half an hour to our drive home.”
Are you beginning to understand why I will not drive with my parents?
Dad says nothing. Rachel says she has to go to the bathroom. Mom tells me that I should start looking for a fast food place rather than a gas station, because gas station restrooms are notoriously more unclean than fast food restrooms.
I drive on, gritting my teeth. I will be so glad to change drivers again. We drive on in silence for about 5 miles, passing through a couple of wide spots in the road that might be towns. No fast food places, though. I see a sign for a nearby town, and ask Rachel if she can wait for another few miles. Mom informs me that she thinks that town is too far away for Rachel to wait.
I see a gas station with a convenience store attached, and swerve across lanes like a drowning man grabbing for a life preserver. As I bounce against the curb in front of the store, I frantically unhook my seatbelt and announce, “Driver Switch!”
As my daughter and I stand outside the restroom a few minutes later, waiting for my Mom to exit so we can all get back into the Tahoe, I whisper in her ear, “If I ever agree to another road trip with Grandma and Grandpa, I want you to hit me in the head with a 2X4.” She grins and winks at me. She understands why I will not drive with my parents.