Monday, May 28, 2012

Where there's a wheel, there's a weak heart

Too much has been said about bad drivers. I wish more were said about bad passengers or navigators.

Now if you are someone who has had to drive around a new city or an unfamiliar part of town with an absolute waste of human flesh sitting in the passenger seat trying to give you directions, you’ll get my drift.

Take my mother, for instance. As I approach a busy intersection, I ask her (well in advance) “So do I turn right or left here?” She answers with “meep” or some other sort of sub-human noise until I find myself having to stop in the middle of the busy intersection, blinking in absolute confusion, as she swivels the old head around 360 degrees and then says, “Stop…. I think you have to go back”. By this time, of course, the traffic cop is clicking my picture, annoyed male drivers are yelling unkind things about my gender and a fruit seller is having a minor meltdown trying to convince me that the thing I need most in this dire situation is a pineapple.

Then there are the finger pointers. “Take a left here” they say while the alien hand confidently points right. Or there’s a confident gesture saying “straight ahead”, which wouldn’t be a problem if I wasn’t at a sodden T-junction.

Now, let’s not jump to conclusions and figure that only directionally challenged women make bad navigators. My friend G2 could prove you wrong in a jiffy. Before setting off on our recent road trip to the coast, we picked him up from a part of town only he was familiar with.

- “Which way now, G2?”
- “Just go straight ahead.”
- “But it’s a one way!”
- “(Gasp) Where did all these one-way signs come from? They weren’t there last night!”
- “Now where do I go? This says ‘no entry, roadwork ahead.”
- “THOOO! Just go through this. Idiots simply put signs up for nothing.”

Two minutes later, we found ourselves in the middle of what was once a road with mounds of mud and open storm water drains all around us. There was nowhere to go but back.

Once we finally made it to the highway with G2 still holding onto his place in the navigator seat, I instructed him to warn Cheddar, who was driving, about any upcoming speed breakers. “Of course”, he said matter of factly before jamming his peak cap down firmly on his head and donning his aviator sunglasses. I kept quiet for a reasonable amount of time after we unceremoniously hit our heads on the roof when Cheddar failed to see a few speed breakers. When I was certain my cranium was about to split open after a third bump, I voiced my protest. “G2! You are a useless navigator. You cannot sleep! Warn Cheddar about the speed bumps!”

“Ok.” G2 turned to Cheddar, “Hey, just look out for those dark patches on the road. Those are bumps. Try not to hit them.” And with that, he was asleep, awaking only to ogle packets of buttermilk being hawked on the road and to argue with Smitten that the mini-truck with carrots was, in fact, carrying papayas.

That brings me to the sleepers. On a road trip, I insist that everyone stays awake throughout. It helps keep the person driving alert, while the constant conversation can break the monotony of a seemingly never-ending highway. Easier said than done. Case in point: KO, who thinks nobody will notice she’s asleep even if her only contribution to an ongoing conversation is “Zzzzzzz.”

The sleepers, however, are a tad better than the shriekers. The aforementioned mother is a prominent member of this group. While I carefully make my way through a crowded goods-laden street, my heart leaps into my mouth as I hear a piercing scream from the backseat.

- “Oooooooh, wheeeeeee wheeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!”

I slam on the brakes, clutching my chest where my heart used to be, fearing that I might have run over that little lost puppy that was in the middle of the road.

- “What?! What?! What happened? OH, GAD! DID I KILL IT?!”
- “Blue potterrrryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!! It’s soooooo pretty!!!”, she trills back in response.

I’m throwing in my keys, I tell you. I am not driving anyone anywhere. I am being driven up the wall.


  1. Months of eagerly waiting for your post and then to read this! I wouldn't mind waiting a year for such an awesome post :)

    Loved it! Message with the characteristic blah humor :)

  2. @SEPO: Thank you :) I wish I could blog more frequently, but I have a serious dearth of humourous inspiration at the moment :-/

  3. Let sleeping passengers lie. At least ones who aren't in the front seat. Their sleep is well deserved you know.

    Or do you want us/them to sleep on the floor maybe?

    Also - this SEPO girl has a crush on you.

  4. @NG: Yep, and supply them with 20 goosedown mattresses too may be?

    Get with the bourgeoisie, you know.

    Leave her alone. She and who else?

  5. Lies, lies, lies - KO was meditating. Her third eye was wide open the whole freakin' time. Humph!

  6. @Sleeping Beauty: Of course, she was meditating. The only thing open wider than her third eye was her mouth.

  7. Following you now :)..

    Loved your writing style.

    Happy Writing !!

  8. What you're saying is completely true. I know that everybody must say the same thing, but I just think that you put it in a way that everyone can understand. I'm sure you'll reach so many people with what you've got to say.


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