Monday, July 23, 2012

Drives You Crazy?

BREAKING NEWS: Welcome to our very own Kaye Barley--who's joining Jungle Red as our resident commentator, reader, visionary, mystery maven, arbiter, pundit and prognosticator. Kind of like Andy Rooney, but nicer (much nicer), and with a darling husband, a perfect dog, a massive library and cute shoes. Watch for Oh, Kaye! Every first Sunday on Jungle Red!

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN:  Is it Goofy? It's Goofy. One of those otherwise mild-mannered Disney character who turns into a raging maniac when--he gets behind the wheel of a car.

We all know people like that.

But there hasn't been a cartoon yet, that I know of at least, about the transformation of a person in the passenger's seat. And that's me. I'm mild-mannered as they come, in most circumstances. But put me in the passenger seat,and I morph into something else entirely.

Jonathan is used to it. But even he is still sometimes appalled.

"MERGE!" I yell. "DO you not know how to MERGE? You let us in, we'll let the next guy in."

I'll There's also the time-honored: "What, you can't wait ONE MORE SECOND? You have to go NOW? Pleeeeze, don't let us get in your way!"

I have been known, dear Reds, to roll down the window and yell at pedestrians. (This is risky, since I am kind of recognizable in Boston.) "The light is GREEN!" I yell. "That means WE get to go!"

"Use the crosswalk!" is also a favorite. I feel like Garp, a bit.It's for their own good, right?

 "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?" is useful in many circumstances. And "TURN SIGNAL!" Newer, but also useful: "GET OFF THE PHONE!"

(Okay, sometimes, I do it to Jonathan. I admit it. I say--"Just let the guy in, you know? What difference does it make? It's two seconds!" I also floated "You become the powerful one if you let the other guy in." Which he kind of seemed to buy.)

I also have perfected what Jonathan calls "the look." This is an expression mixing horror, disdain and appallment. (Appallment? The state of being appalled. Sue me.)

I'm so sorry, I know its bad. And socially unacceptable. And really, probably Grace Kelly didn't do it. But I can't help it. I change.

Are you a good passenger? 

LUCY BURDETTE: Oh my gosh, do NOT let my husband see this blog. He thinks I have become the passenger from hell. But here's the scoop--the older I get, the more I think about how we are riding in a flimsy metal cylinder going at obscene rates of speed with crazy people all around. So I can't help myself if I feel the urge to "help" him.

"Did you see that guy?" "Yes I saw him."

"Is there any reason why we can't go the speed limit?" "I'm going with the flow of traffic. If I go the speed limit, we'll cause an accident."

He reminds me every time we get in the car that there's no need to ride in the crash position--wedged into the corner, fact if you're going to crash, better be as relaxed as possible.

As if....

HANK: I say that, too, Lucy! "Is there any reason we can't go the speed limit?" OH, I am laughing...

JAN BROGAN - I have a theory about what's happening to you, Hank.  Only because it happens to my brother as a driver.  He is my model of a (almost) perfect person. Kind, reasonable, non-reactive.  I often say my siblings  have always gotten along so well because my brother, as eldest, set the tone - and made it clear that none of us would ever be petty.

But listen to him when he's driving and you would not know it's the same person  - the man has a criticism and nasty name for every other person in every offending car.  He never lets a single real or imagined infraction go unnoticed. So my theory is: mean driving verbiage is just how nice people let out their aggression.  I mean  - why not? As long as the people in the other car really can't hear you, let your inner jerk fly.

 LUCY BURDETTE: Jan this reminds me of a scene I saw in Key West this spring. We were sitting at a sidewalk table outside LA CREPERIE, when a car pulled up behind another car that was clearly dithering at the traffic light. The driver of the second car leaned on the horn and began to flash her middle finger and shriek at the other folks. You could have knocked me over with a feather when I recognized her as one of the sweetest, most giving women from our church....

This is me. I am that nice lady from church who becomes the bat-demon from hell inside the car. My kids grew up thinking, "You asshole" was something drivers had to say at least three times per trip. In my defense, however, I wouldn't have to snarl and seethe if people would just STOP BEING STUPID. Am I right, or am I right?

HANK: Yes, indeed, dear Julia. you are RIGHT. 

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Does anybody really LIKE being driven? And for those 
of us who have had teenagers... Argghh. My daughter would say, "I can 
see you pressing that imaginary brake." Busted. But I usually manage 
to keep my mouth shut. It's when I'm driving by myself that my inner 
monster comes out. Oh, I'm polite. I signal, I merge, I let people 
in. But the things I say to stupid drivers when nobody else can hear 
me would make a sailor blush.

HALLIE EPHRON: I am rarely "in the passenger seat" with my husband. Most times I drive. Fortunately. Because he is a truly dreadful driver. He didn't learn until he was in his 20s (a Brooklyn boy) and drives like a beached whale. HE, on the other hand, has perfected the grab-for-the-door-handle and suck-in-air move whenever he's sure I do not see that BUS two blocks ahead of us.

HANK: I am trying to imagine a beached whale driving...aren't you?

HALLIE: My go-to word delivered while driving is "Jerk." Pronounced: Cherk. And offered up to anyone who drives too slow, cut me off, lingers in the crosswalk.

ROSEMARY HARRIS: The son of a New York cab driver taught me how to drive - so I think I am a terrific driver. Jerks, losers and morons abound when I am behind the wheel. It's uncanny. 

JULIA: Uh-huh. See, it's not just me. They follow you around, too.

ROSEMARY:  I have been known to say - Brilliant, you're twenty feet ahead of us! I have suggested that a certain part of the offending male driver's anatomy is, shall we say...diminutive. I hold up my little pinkie, convinced that from 50 feet away and through many sheets of glass someone will see and know what it means.

I'm less terrific as a passenger. I was taught to check the mirrors but look anyway because you never know, so when Bruce is driving I uh...sometimes say "on your right." Seems to me that last week in Yosemite I said "getting close" a lot, as we edged toward the sheer dropoff on my side.
 Is that horrible??

RHYS BOWEN: Of course I'm always perfectly behaved and never exceed the speed limit :) However I do have a favorite road rage story. My son in law was driving his three year old and someone cut in front of him, nearly running him off the road. He wound down the window and yelled "You f***ing idiot!"
Then he realized Sam was in the car. Oh no.
Behind him a little voice from the back seat said, "Papa. You know you are not allowed to use the word 'idiot.'
Ah for more innocence.

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN:  That's adorable, Rhys! (And not horrible, Ro. You are clearly saving lives!

Two quick things. No, three.  Wait, four!

1. RuthDFW had her name drawn for the arc of DEATH IN FOUR COURSES. Ruth, send your mailing address to Lucyburdette at

2. I have an ARC of THE OTHER WOMAN for a Jungle Red commenter today! (Chosen at random with the time-honored "choose a number" method.)

3. My award-winning short story "On the House" is an e-book! (And it includes excerpts from The Other Woman!) Plus: if you send me proof of purchase, you'll be entered for your choice of a Kindle,  Nook, or a big-bucks gift certificate to the bookstore of your choice! Here's the deal:

3. SO, driving! Or--passengering. How are you as a passenger, Reds?   


  1. One of these days, I would dearly love to meet Jonathan, and trade stories about Lovely Ladies who become the Passengers from Hell! (Probably the main reason if we go anywhere, I usually ask HER to drive; it just makes life easier....:)

  2. I keep trying to stop the car when my husband is driving. Reading something is such a better option for me.

  3. I know, WIlliam. You two would be instant pals. (He'd never let me drive! But that's another blog...)

  4. Lynn, that's so funny! The invisible brake, right? I know it feels different in the passenger seat--you're CLOSER to the impending disaster, right?

  5. You may be kin to my DH. I rarely drive when he's in the passenger seat because he yells, "Don't let them cut you off!"
    Or, "Go on. Go on. You've got the rightaway." (No matter that there's a huge truck barreling toward me.)

    There's no getting used to it from my driver's seat. :)

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  7. Jan's comment reminded me of something that happened when I was a child.

    As I remember it, I was around 7, maybe 8, which made my brother 3 or 4ish. In all innocence, he asked Mom one time, "Where are all the coc****** motherf**** as***** fu***** drivers, Mom?"

    Without missing a beat, Mom replied, "They're out when your father is driving, honey."

  8. OH, yeah, the only thing worse, Susan, than being the yeller is being the yellee.
    I hear you, sister.
    HOw do we ever all manage?
    Does anyone have any---successful ways to handle it?

  9. I am actually a much better passenger than driver. Dan is a very safe, confident, competent driver and I am...less so. I'm not UNsafe, exactly, he's just much better at anticipating what other people are going to do. I'm often thinking, "Wait, where'd you come from??"

    (Of course, it helps that we don't really have "traffic" here in our part of Iowa...I don't know what kind of passenger I'd be out amongst the idiots!)

  10. WIlliam, really? that is a CLASSIC!

    I have said, I confess, (to an old boyfriend) Can I just say, you're terrifying me? Would it make a difference if I told you I'm scared to death when you drive this way?

    It didn't, apparently.

  11. Gotta love Boston traffic! As a commuter for many years I learned the number one rule of Boston driving is "don't ever make eye contact." LOL

    I, too, tend to get a bit vocal at stupid drivers when I'm driving. As his passenger, my husband's pet peeve about me is that I think he drives too slowly and I may glance over at the speedometer as a not-so-subtle hint that he could be going faster. We drive together a lot so I try to stay busy with knitting or reading a book - or both if it's an audiobook.

  12. I see three possible ways of handling such feelings:

    A. Take a cab
    B. Alcohol
    C. Both

  13. Remind me never to accept a ride from a Red.

    Like all race drivers I know, I'm a miserable passenger. I need to sit where I can control what's going on.

  14. oh oh oh, I recognize these people! ALL of them! I just don't recognize them as the Reds I thought I knew!

    Me? Passenger from hell (just ask Donald).

    Donald driving? NOT the Donald I know and love. (Hank, are you missing a brother? he's alive and well in Boone, NC).

    If we should ever win the lottery (if we could just remember to buy a ticket I know we would win) the first thing I do is hire a driver.

  15. To carry through with this theme - I don't have a car now in NYC, but I have these same reactions when I try to deal with verizon over the phone! Never before have I cussed so much and gotten so little good service! Especially when the other person is in India or Belize and doesn't speak American English! Thelma in Manhattan

  16. Steve! So great to see you--what's it like when YOU"RE the driver, I'd love to know?

    And I can assure you, all the Reds are 100 per cent adorable as passengers in other people's cars. Really. We are.

  17. William, your mother was brilliant! (And your dad might have been related to mine, with that salty language!)

    This blog is like a breath of fresh, four-window air today. I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one.

    The very worst was in Australia, when my husband was the only one who could drive the rental car, and where he insisted on driving from the city center of Sydney out to the countryside. Where they drive on the wrong side of the road. And where he daily tried to kill us and take out half the populace at once. When you're a passenger in a car with the steering wheel on the right you are also in the "driver's seat" in your mind. It's terribly disconcerting to be out of control in that situation.

    The best was when, in the middle of an argument, I could say, "And you're on the wrong side of the road, AGAIN!" Priceless moment in the annals of a long marriage, yes?

  18. Karen in OHio--that is just--beyond the imagination. I mean, I see how it would feel as if you are supposed to be driving--but then, you're not. Yikes.

    Debs, how do you handle driving on the wro--I men, other --side?

    Lynn, reading..hmm. Then how do you protect the driving from certain disaster? I bet you're really watching the road..xo

  19. OH, Kaye! (!) A driver. Really. Yes, that would be wonderful. Jonathan wold think so, too, since he's it, now. xoo

    And Paula. as for traffic in Iowa. Isn't there a famous photo of the ONLY two cars in some town crashing into each other?

  20. The Doll always asks me, "Mama, if you have driving so much why do you do it?"

    My reply, "I don't hate driving. I LOVE driving. I just hate all the other people on the road."

    And here in the DC Metro area ... well, there are a lot of other people on the road to hate.

  21. I do think it's a passive-aggressive (or aggressive-aggressive?) thing when men (it's usually men) drive so fast it makes their (usually) female passengers freak out. Imagine what they'll be like in the delivery room!

  22. Wow - I thought I was the only one! I too have perfected "the look" and jerk, crazy and cowboy are frequently said by both of us. My better half is a really good driver, I have no complaints there.
    Just came back from the DC Metro area and agree with Aimee Hix!!! Dee

  23. Having read this post (other than laughing out loud all the way through) I started to wonder if all the people the Reds kill off in their books might actually have been driving transgressors. "Just you wait, buddy! You're the next victim in my new book!" I'm thinking a list of cities where you all live could be helpful...I want to where not to drive. :D

  24. This post reminds me of sitting in the passenger seat while a high school friend peered over the wheel of her father's Cadillac. She'd just gotten her driver's license and had spent the entire drive griping about me pressing the imaginary brake on my side of the car. As we neared a crossroads, a car cut us off, barely missing our front fender. My friend honked the horn and flashed her middle finger. It was only as we were passing the offending car that I noticed it was filled with wimple-clothed nuns. We were sure our souls were in deep doo-doo.

  25. I became a much better passenger for my husband driving after I went to racing school and understood that what I thought was his excessive speed wasn't all that fast or dangerous. I still let him drive all the time because he's the engineer, analyzing every force and behavior around. Then again, he's gotten tickets and been in accidents, and I haven't.

    I'm fine as a passenger in others' cars, unless I'm tasked with giving directions, and then I can't shut up. I end up explaining traffic rules it seems they're forgetting and so on.

    As a driver, I, too, curse like a sailor. And enjoy every minute of it.

  26. ..poor sailors. They get the bum rap when it's really all of us, nice book-loving, mystery-reading gals with the potty mouths.

  27. Hank - I believe there is a picture like that...but I was not one of the drivers! :0)

    We were getting directions to a smaller town and my friend said, "If you come to a stoplight, you're in the wrong town!"

  28. Steve, You are SCCA, right? I remember the name. I was Chief Starter and Chief of T&S with New England Region. Never knew you were an author. Now I have ANOTHER new series to read. :-)

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  30. Such a fun post! I have turned into a little old lady driver, although these days it's called hypermiling. I am obsessed with my Prius personal MPG best, so my beau is now Very Irritated when I'm driving. ;^) I also call it meditative driving - you never have to worry about getting a ticket if you never go over the speed limit (and often are under it - people hate me on Rte 128...).

    My goddaughter was sitting on her stoop when she was three with her dad (she usually drove with her mom, my best friend Jennifer). "Hey, look at that asshole," she said over and over, pointing at the cars going by.

  31. My husband is an ex-cop so is certainly a better and more aware driver than I am. He's also a much more aggressive driver, and bitches constantly about everyone else on the road. The passenger seat should come with earplugs. But I'd much rather have him drive than criticize me! Talk about back seat driver!!!

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  33. Is there such a thing as a "front-seat" driver? As opposed to the driver-driver?

    Steve, meet Tammy. Hey--how about a Jungle Red road race? Between you two? Or maybe--between your characters?

  34. Love this! I used to be so good when I had young kids. My friend from Texas would scream and cuss at other drivers. She also said she felt the need to open the passenger door and put out her foot to give me a push to go faster. I would call other drivers "sweetheart" and "dear." As in "It's green. You can move any time, sweetheart," or "There wasn't a car behind me for blocks and you couldn't wait to cut in front of me, dear?" Now, I never have kids riding with me, and those names have been replaced with "jerk," "idiot," and "asshole." I still drive too slow for my friend, though, since I won't go more than five miles above the speed limit, no matter how fast everyone else is going.

    I'm the passenger from hell with Ben, though. I'm always pushing him to go faster since he tends to drive like he's out for a Sunday drive when we're already late for something. His reaction times are slower than mine, so I'm always hitting the imaginary brake or saying, "Sooner or later you have to turn, even if there isn't a five-block space in the traffic flow." He drives when it's the two of us because I can't drive for too long without hurting my knee--and because he is a lousy navigator. Left to his own devices, we will add fifty miles to whatever short trip we are doing that we've driven a million times before, because he gets distracted and misses turns, etc. If I'm there screaming, "Turn left. Left. Left!!!" Our chances of getting there close to the time needed rise immensely.

    The funny thing, however, is that my sweet, soft-voiced husband turns into a raving maniac if someone cuts him off or almost hits him trying to get around him or other aggressive act. He starts to cuss and speeds up to go after them and compete. I sit there saying, "Ben, don't let anger drive the car" over and over until he finally calms down.

  35. Omigosh, Linda, your Ben sounds like my Steve. Except he is an absolute jerk when it comes to people tailgating him. He has been known to slow down to below the speed limit, it irks him so much.

    Which came back to haunt him recently. I used to tell him he was not modeling good behavior for our daughters, one of whom a month ago channeled her dad and just hit the brakes to "teach the tailgater a lesson", and she got rear-ended. (The guy was being very aggressive, but still...)

  36. On the flip side to my road rage, Ross is a very good and safe driver. In fact, I will ask him to do the driving when the weather is dicey, because I know it increases our chances of getting to our destination safely.

    However! He has this kind of wrong-lane karma that consistently puts him in either the left-turn-only lane (when he wants to go straight) or the lane that immediately comes to a standstill while the rest of the road zips by. (This also holds true in stores. He always gets in the check-out lane with the traineee cashiers.)

    So when we're together, I turn into Julia GPS: "Get...into..the middle next...quarter mile..."

  37. You all need to drive with my mother, who still says, "You have to turn left at the light but there is no left turn signal so be sure there are no cars coming before you turn left." Because, you know, I need to be reminded not to turn into oncoming traffic. Or, worse, she'll instruct me to get in the left lane because the turn is "coming right" up. For her, "coming right up" = 10 miles ahead.

    My sister is worse. She talks with her hands. To emphasize a point, she likes to touch on the arm. You know what it's like driving with someone flailing their hands and touching you on the arm?

    Me...I'm the perfect passenger. :)


    "The act of driving using techniques that maximize fuel economy."

    You know, like trying to maintain a constant speed, slowing down before a red light so maybe it will turn green and you can keep rolling, keeping tires inflated to the maximum, and so on. I draw the line a drafting off trucks or rolling through stop signs, though! It's totally anti-Boston-driver. In rush hour, I do NOT race up to the car ahead of and then stop, and then race up again. I like to just cruise along adjusting my speed so I never have to stop (starting up again always uses gas).

  39. Karen, actually in defensive driving classes, that's what they teach you to do with aggressive tailgaters. Slow down to below speed limit, and if they don't pass you or back off, slow down more.

    Ben allows them to push him over the speed limit--which he'd normally never even hit! Once at night on the highway in Illinois, he had this aggressive car right behind him and allowed it to push him and push him until he went two miles over the speed limit. Whereupon, sirens, flashers, and a highway patrolman gets out when we pull over.

  40. My husband hates being the passenger more than I do so I let him do the driving. My solution to staying a calm passenger is to sleep. Put me in a moving car (that I am not driving) and I am asleep in under 2 minutes flat. He gets to yell and raise his blood pressure and I arrive rested and refreshed.

  41. I am an excellent passenger. (Mr. Right confirms that -- I just checked.) But if I'm driving an dyou pass me on a solid yellow line, on a curve, or when there's no where to GO, dang it, and my passenger's ears will ring for hours. And can you believe how many pricey cars come without turn signals? 50K and no signals? I feel sorry for their owners, cheated like that.

    I'm home all day today, so thanks for the vicarious rant opportunity.

  42. OH, yes, Jonathan once got a ticket for "going straight" in the right turn only lane. I could hardly stop laughing when the police officer who pulled us over told us.

    Uh, sir,you went straight.

    I thought--isn't that what police WANT you to do? GO straight?

    (And I might reveal that Jonathan, a defense attorney, is NOT the best dealing with the police. Just saying.)

  43. Yeah, Leslie, Imagine. ALL those broken, certainly, turn signals.

    I also yell: "Not a problem, don't mind us, we'll stop!" Or--try to..

    Oh, yes, Aimee, the BELTWAY. Now there's a pleasure..

  44. Mo, so BRAVE of you to sleep! Like Lynn, reading. BRAVE.

  45. I put up with Northern Virginia traffice for over 30 years, and my bad language use increased every single year. I simply couldn't help it. The bad news is, even now that I live in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley with SO much less traffic, I can still fall back on my #&$*?@!s easily when someone does something idiotic.

  46. CHECK IT OUT! We've just posted a Breaking News Headline at the beginning of the blog...


  47. Here in rural NC no one uses their turn signals--drives me crazy. When I asked a local why no one lets me know when they're going to turn, he said:
    "They know where they're going!"

  48. Marni, that's too funny! And true, I guess...It's like when people turn on their signals AFTER they turn. Thanks a lot, bub.

  49. Side note: Steve and I are long-time, virtual pals (meet face-to-face at Bouchercon this year, Steve?). He's blogged with me and Simon Wood ... and anytime you want to talk racing more, Steve, let me know. We'd happily make it Three For The Road.

    Steve would leave me in the dust, but Kate would take on Conway any day.

  50. When I was growing up, my father had to have absolute silence in the car so he could concentrate on driving. My sisters and I had to be quiet. We were not allowed to talk, and God forbid we should fight, because we'd get the over-the-seat thwack from my dad.

    Point of this is, I am not a yeller...either at cars or as a passenger. If I am not driving, I am in la-la land. (although my son, who recently got his license, would beg to differ.)

    As a result of this silent car thing, I am the most easily flustered driver in the world whenever there is noise in my car. I did not manage to subdue my kids as well as my dad did. With 4 boys, there is constant noise. I am the person you all are cussing about.

    There is a family joke in our house (which I don't think is all that funny, btw) about the time I was driving, and we heard a siren. I thought it was on the movie the kids were watching. According to my hubby, I was THIS CLOSE to hitting the fire truck and the whole car is screaming, "Mom, Fire Truck" and I'm panicking, saying "Where? Where?" and slamming on the brakes. Now whenever I do something stupid in the car, everyone says, "Fire truck". Bahahaha, they think they are so funny.

  51. Hank, why oh why would my passengers ever be less than sanguine with me at the wheel? Here, come along for a gentle Sunday drive:

  52. I’m not a bad driver: I use my turn signal, I obey the speed limit, I stop at red lights before turning right; all the same, I hate, hate, hate to drive. But being the passenger is not all that great, either . . . . the roads are jam-packed with [dare I say it? are there any little ears around?] idiots who should never, ever be allowed behind the wheel of a car.

    My really frustrated, “What, do I have a neon sign that says cut in front of me?” [and make me stop all in a heap so I don’t smack into you] rant to drivers who didn’t have enough space to pull out in front of me in the first place --- and then proceed to drive slower than the pedestrians strolling along the sidewalk --- is about as nasty as it gets when I’m behind the wheel . . . but the vocabulary can become decidedly more colorful when I am the passenger. Others, it seems, have absolutely no problem telling off all those stupid drivers.

    My family is used to my “passenger behavior” by now and has learned to pretty much ignore the squeaks and squeals coming from the passenger seat because I think they are going too fast . . . or getting too close or . . . . I alternately pray that we get there in one piece . . . offer wise advice [which the driver blithely ignores] . . . and remind myself that my husband never, ever crashed the police car when he drove it [and he taught both girls how to drive] . . . .

    I have perfected the “bite the inside of your cheeks to keep your mouth shut and pray really hard” response in order to preserve some small bit of sanity when riding on roads filled with raging, me-first, inconsiderate drivers. If we’re doing any distance driving, I tend to go to sleep, thus avoiding any knowledge of all the vehicular evils around me. My daughter has perfected her own “Relax, Mom” tone of voice; my ever-calm husband believes it’s okay to vent frustrations by yelling at the other drivers [and thus preventing road rage], but actually tends to be a pretty unruffled driver. [Must be that police department driver training . . . .]

  53. I've already posted once today, but I just had to drop in again to say one quick thing.



  54. I am afraid to drive. I'm also afraid to be in the passenger seat because I see the other cars making stupid mistakes that may impact me and the driver of the car I'm in. Why don't people use their turn signal? If you're switching lanes, let us know. But I do know how to use my imaginary brakes.

  55. This made me laugh. I become unladylike behind the wheel and i have the same complaints-no signal in brand new cars, tailgaters, using phones even though it's now illegal. My favorite story was when I was a young mother, and got my first car. I drove my VW everywhere with my little 18 month old in her carseat, and when another driver would bug me. Son of a b----,I would say, and beep the horn. Then came the day when I beeped the horn, and I heard this little voice, piping from the back-summabich, summabich. I tried to be more careful from then on. And a great welcome to Kaye.

  56. Steve! Yikes! I'm holding on to my desk...

    Lora--fire truck! Is priceless. But not funny. NO. Not at all.

  57. Wow, Steve! What fun! Except I really wanted those guys in front to just GET OUT OF YOUR WAY!

    And YAY, KAYE!!!! We are so excited to have you!!!!!!!!!

  58. I know--it kinda does make me want to DRIVE FAST. Hmm.

    Lil, that's so cute... Unless you're the mom, of course.

  59. "Is there any reason why we can't go the speed limit?" "I'm going with the flow of traffic. If I go the speed limit, we'll cause an accident."
    Lucy, could it be we're married to the same man? My husband's exact words! Sigh...
    Any of you who are familiar with PBS's British comedy featuring Hyacinth Bucket ("Bouquet!"), will know that Hyacinth has perfected the front seat driver role, of course from the left side of the car. "Richard! Watch out for that man!" "I see the man, Hyacinth," he says patiently and wearily, "he's on the sidewalk two blocks ahead." "Good! I just wanted to make sure you saw him." Great post today!

  60. I;ve got to be the one driving. No question about it!


  61. I am hyper-protective when I have young relatives in my car, but also careful with my vocabulary. When I muttered, "Nice signal, mister," my niece, picking up on tone of voice, asked, "Is 'mister' a bad word?"
    Mr. Rogers saved me on that one . . .

  62. As Jan's almost perfect brother, I can only say that my certification as a Washington beltway-qualified driver requires a certain amount of road rage in order to transit to and from work. Besides, if Freud were alive today he would be leaning out of a German luxury car shaking his fist while spraying the roadway with outrage and spittle.

  63. I am a nice driver most of the time but I do say bad words and make obscene gestures occasionally. I am rarely a passenger so who knows what I would do!

  64. Bob--I am totally picturing that Freud thing. You think he'd choose a car with fins? (And I'm sure you are quite perfect.)

    Mary--that is hilarious. And I can just hear the tone..

    Shirley--the passenger things is..never a dull moment!

  65. Not only do I "help" DH drive, I like to tell the GPS lady what to do. Recently, my DH asked me if I was fighting with the GPS lady and I told him that yes I was because she was wrong. Now DH has two backseat drivers..Yeesh.

  66. I take the bus. I never learned to drive. My dad's driving isn't the best. He's in his 80's. One time recently when I was with him he was going straight but he was in the turning lane (arrow painted on street so even I could figure it out). Then later there were two lanes but it must've narrowed to one because the car that was in the other lane (when there were two) was near us trying to get into the lane too.

  67. I know, MArie. Does your say "recalculating?" I now say that all the time, in the GPS voice.

    Oh, gosh, driving with Dad. I inherited my dad's driving genes. More I will not say..

  68. First of all ...Hurray, Hurray, and welcome to Kaye!! I keep trying to remember to read your blog regularly. Now that you will be here on a regular basis, it will be a reminder to me to let my fingers do the walking(NOT driving) over to your blog!

    Ramona, I believe your mother may be the younger sister my own mother never had. I thought you were talking about my dear mom when you described yours. I HATED to have her as a passenger! My siblings all felt the same way. And my poor dad! I'm surprised her backseat driving didn't drive him (sorry!) over the edge! If any of us had to go somewhere that Mom was also going, we let HER do the driving. It saved everyone's sanity that way. Except that she would not drive on I-95 or any road where trucks were allowed. If I had the misfortune to be the driver on such a road, she constantly complained that I was following the next car too closely. "Mom, there is room for three and a half tractor trailer trucks in front of me." "Yes, Deb, that is exactly my point! You need to leave room for at least four of them. You never know what will happen."

    A nun friend of hers told her, after about four years of carpooling to a meeting with her that "your passenger skills have improved so much; you hardly ever try to brake from the passenger side any more!" I don't think Sister ever noticed Mom hanging on to the door handle with both hands. Or maybe Mom only did that with ME.

    Mom did not get her license until I was in fourth grade,and she did it only because my dad insisted. Once she started driving,I think she didn't trust anyone else's driving but her own. She was the dearest, sweetest lady you could know...but so neurotic as a passenger! And she would be the first to admit it!

  69. Passenger skills! I didn't know they had a name..thanks, dear Deb!

    And now I realize I should have titled this blog "Driving Ms. Crazy." Rats.

  70. I don't know what Deb says when she's driving by herself; she's always a perfect lady and skillful driver when I am her passenger. I will say, however, that every once in a while we both head the same direction at the same time in separate cars and then, even though I drive a fairly fast car, she and her respectable Honda can leave me in the dust. Yowzer!

  71. Gigi you leave us smiling! And good night, all. Tomorrow, book reviews. Eeeesh.
    But we have someone who will tell ALL the secrets.

  72. passenger from hell according to DH, but only because he doesn't know how to drive properly LOL

  73. I didn't read every word of every comment, but I didn't see my favorite, "Hang up and DRIVE!!!" (This is sometimes shouted as I see young moms rounding the corner in front of my house on the wrong side of the road.)

  74. I swear occasionally when driving. My husband is certain every other car on the road is an idiot and tells them so in great fury using detailed colorful language that would make a sailor blush. This drives me crazy and I scream at him for screaming at other drivers. (We only do this if there are no other people in the car.)

    I used to be able to block him out by reading, now I have to listen to my iPod with earbuds.

    Oh, and he can't stand it if anyone else drives because he gets car sick.

    I dread long trips.

    Cathy AJ