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Ron Nagasawa

Driving Me Crazy

I think fathers with daughters have two primal fears when it comes to their little girls. The first and most scary is boys, the second being when they want to learn to drive. I won’t even talk about the first one unless I am heavily sedated.

Earlier this year, our 16-year-old daughter received her driver’s permit and recently invoked the parental obligation of driving instruction.

Since between my wife and me, I am the calmer one, it was determined that I would be her primary instructor. So last week we decided to take our K9, Buddy, to a dog park and our daughter asked if she could drive. I said sure, but I had to set the ground rules for the car. I would sit in the front seat next to her and be her instructor.

My wife would take the backseat with Buddy, in the hope that Buddy would distract her from the daughter-driving process. The plan looked good on paper, but in reality it sucked big time. Our daughter barely had reversed out of our driveway when my wife said in rapid succession, “Make sure no cars are behind you, slow down, check behind you, slow down!”

Our daughter, not wanting to upset her mother and lose the driving privilege, complied and replied in a melodic tone, “Yes, Mother!” Of course, she looked at me and rolled her eyes. As we entered the main road, I was about to impart some instruction, but my wife intercepted the opportunity by blaring out, “You’re too close to the side of the road. Slow down!”

I turned around and told my wife, “Honey, I got this. Let me be the one to tell her what to do.”

No sooner did she agree when she instinctively shouted, “Put on your turn signal and slow down!”

I had to put my foot down: “Listen, we agreed that only one of us would instruct her – me. Backseat driving is going to confuse her.”

My wife obviously was upset and explained that she couldn’t help herself, but promised not to say anything to our daughter. Maybe 30 seconds passed when I heard my wife say, “Buddy, don’t you think we’re going a little too fast?”

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