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All I said was: “Remember there’s a car behind you, one of those low little numbers, so you might not see it.
“And don’t forget the pothole up ahead. Every time we drive down this road, we hit it dead centre.
“Don’t speed, because you never know when the old woman next door forgets to close her gate. Every time she leaves it open, her collie tries to herd the traffic. I’d rather it not be us having to take it to the vet.
“Oh, and the grass at the corner is terribly long after all the rain, so stop dead and make sure the other drivers see you.”
That’s all I said. Really. And now suddenly I’m the world’s worst back-seat driver, ever.
“Anything else? Don’t you want to get the fire brigade on the line so long?” she hissed sarcastically.
“Nope. We’re good to go. I think you can start the car now.”
I wasn’t judging her driving ability. Not at all. I was merely trying to help. After all, she has been driving for 40-odd years, and her record is impeccable. So, it goes without saying that she’s a very good driver.
Thing is, she very, very seldom drives with me in the passenger seat. I’m usually the one behind the wheel. But because of a shoulder operation, I’m the one being chauffeured.
And this role reversal is not an easy pill to swallow, especially not in the passenger seat.
I tried to explain that my comments should rather be interpreted as navigational assistance.
“You’ve seen the navigators who partner the drivers in a rally. Their instructions sometimes sound like a rap song.
“Click-click over the hump and again and again, and left in three two one LEFT!”
From the icy stare, I could tell she wasn’t buying any of it.
I decided the best way forward would be in silence. Silence from my side, but I did increase the volume on the radio. After a few minutes she started defrosting, even humming along to the music.
I was, however, hit by an avalanche when a few kilometres later I pointed out that she’d missed the turn-off.
“Why didn’t you say anything?” As if I’m walking into that trap.
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