Rules of the Road

When you are teaching your child to drive, it’s easy to cover the basics. Stop behind the line. Signal before changing lanes. Look over your left shoulder to check your blind spot. Accelerate to the highway speed before merging onto the highway. Please, oh please! Always do that. And God forbid, don’t slow down until after exiting the highway.

What’s harder are the unexpected situations.

Like encountering a driver traveling the wrong way on the road you are on. That happened recently while I was on my way to pick Daryl up so I made a mental note and used it as an object lesson later on why you have to always pay attention.

Like getting pulled over by the police. Who is ever ready for that? We thought it happened to us recently. I had directed him onto a road after the one we were on became one-way in the opposite direction. Shortly after we turned, sirens started up. We stopped at the stop sign and then the flashing lights came right up behind us.

“Just stay put,” I told him, expecting the officer to go around us. Our street was one-way and we were in the left lane. The road in front of us was one-way as well, traveling from right to left. I guess the officer expected us to go ahead and turn left into some nearby parking spots because he paused behind us. Just long enough for me to draw the conclusion that we were being pulled over.

Just as I began to tell my son where to move, the officer went around us. What a relief. And now my son knows that panicky feeling of being pulled over. Maybe his first real time (you know it’s going to happen), he won’t be quite as freaked out.

Then there’s the matter of stranded motorists. Do you stop to help or not? If you do, do you give them a ride or go get what they need for them? I don’t recall talking to Jane about that 3 years ago when she was learning to drive but she handled it beautifully when it happened recently.

She was traveling into town to pick up Daryl from football practice when she saw a woman standing next to her car trying to wave people down. Jane didn’t stop and she saw the woman’s hands drop down to her sides. She was obviously exasperated that no one was stopping to help her on a section of interstate with no signs of habitation, no businesses nearby.

Jane decided that if the woman was still there when she passed back by, she’d help. And, when she passed back that way, the woman was indeed still there, although now sitting in her car. It was getting dark. So Jane circled around and asked if she needed help.

The woman told her a story of traveling from one place not very close to here, where her mother lived, to another place not very close to here, where she lived. Her car had run out of gas and her cell phone had died. She showed Jane that she had some cash. She said she was a nurse at a hospital and offered to show her ID.

Jane told her that we had a gas can at our house. She’d call her dad and he’d bring some gas. So Jane did just that – called her dad. We paused the show we were watching so that he could go help. Jane didn’t wait for him on the side of the road with the woman. She went ahead and brought her brother home.

“Did I do the right thing?” she asked when she briefed me on the story. “I mean, if it was a man, I wouldn’t have stopped. But. Did I do the right thing?”

“Yes, dear. You did. Running out of gas and your cell phone happens to be dead is a suspicious story. You were right to be on guard. But it sounds like she really needed help so I’m glad you stopped.”

There was so much to unpack there. A young woman and a stranded motorist. What are the rules? Don’t stop if the motorist is a man. Unless you have a man with you. A man, not your teenage younger brother. Don’t approach the car. Or maybe don’t even get out of your car. Don’t let them into your car. Don’t get into their car. Don’t quite trust the story – no matter how vulnerable they seem. But don’t be callous -we are called to help people. But don’t let them get close enough to grab you. Call someone for help. Or call the police? But not 911 because it’s not an emergency.

The story was true, we think. The woman couldn’t stop praising Jane when my husband showed up with a can of gas. She was an older woman. Most of us wouldn’t be on the road without a charging cable for our phone, but an older person? Yeah, totally believable. And the road behind her? It’d been a while since she had been able to see a gas station from the road.

I’m glad my daughter stopped to help. I don’t fault her for not stopping the first time. She was likely too far past the woman by the time she processed what was going on and what she should do. I am disappointed that no one else stopped in the 20+ minutes it took Jane to circle back around.

It has all gotten me to thinking though. Jane heads off for college in less than two weeks. What other scenarios have we failed to prepare her for? Both on the road and in life. How well will she fare on her own? So this is why parents of adults don’t necessarily relax – especially parents of newly-minted adults. Out-of-sight, out-of-mind doesn’t apply to your children.

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Getting the Message Across

We were driving along the interstate in Kansas, returning from our annual visit with relatives in Colorado. My husband was driving. A semi truck came up beside us on the left. He started blaring his horn as he approached and kept it going the entire time he passed us.

I looked up as his cab came even with our windows. He was gesturing wildly behind us and saying a lot of words that, of course, we couldn’t hear.

“Honey,” I said. “I think he’s trying to tell us there’s something wrong with our car.”

We had been traveling along in the right lane with the cruise control set for at least an hour. I could think of no other reason why someone would be honking and attempting to communicate with us. He was obviously trying to be helpful.

“I don’t feel anything wrong with the car,” my husband responded. The semi was not succeeding in getting past us in a timely manner and cars were stacking up behind it.

“Here,” my husband said to the other driver, who had turned on his right turn signal even though he still had most of his trailer to go, “let me help you out.” He released the cruise control and we slowed down sharply, allowing the man to get over in front of us.

Once the other traffic cleared and the semi was still not up to speed, my husband changed to the left lane. Good, I thought. Another opportunity to figure out what the guy was trying to tell us. He was trying to help us with something.

As we pulled up beside him, I looked out the window and up into his cab. He began gesturing and talking again. I wondered how he expected me to catch the stream of words flying out of his mouth. I wondered why he wasn’t pointing at a tire or the back window or whatever. I put my hand up and shrugged, to let him know that I wasn’t catching what he was trying to tell us.

So then he made it clear.

He shot me the bird.

Oh, so not being helpful. My bad.

I’m sure most of my readers saw that coming. I guess I’m just a bit naive. After indignantly reporting to my husband what had just happened, I learned that the driver had apparently been trying to pass us for some time and had been unable to give it enough juice. He was irritated with us for not accommodating him by reducing our speed, I guess. Or maybe he thought we were deliberately adjusting our speed to keep him stuck. I don’t know.

As I mulled this over for the next several miles, frustrated that the driver would believe that I was being a bitch when I shrugged at him – communicating “I don’t care what your problem is – we’ll do what we want” instead of “I’m sorry, I can’t understand what you are trying to tell me”, something struck me.

I don’t drive aggressively. I’m inclined to try to help people out if I can. The gentle honk when the light turns green is just to let you know that it’s green. I’m not expressing anger that you haven’t moved yet. I’ll move over, slow down, let other drivers in, whatever. And so when a driver came up beside us, honking and yelling, I assumed he was trying to help us. Silly me. Assuming other drivers are me.

Then again, that’s exactly what he was doing too: assuming my husband and I were just like him. Surely no one actually expects people in the right lane to slow down so they can pass them. So since he was angry with us, he must have assumed my husband was messing with him. And then when I shrugged at him, he assumed I was being ugly – just like he was being as he drove past us.

Maybe this is why naive people are swindled so much and mean people are angry so much. We keep assuming the people we are interacting with are just like us and misinterpreting their actions as a result. How many problems have been caused by our inability to accurately interpret other people through our distorted lenses? Something to think about.

DWI: Driving While (an) Idiot

I have a new theory about why teenaged drivers are so bad. I know the conventional wisdom is that they are young, inexperienced, and think of themselves as invinsible. Their frontal lobe, the part of the brain that controls impulsive behavior, is not yet fully developed. I think all of these are probably contributing factors. But I can’t help but think that so many teenaged drivers are bad simply because they are emulating what they’ve learned from their elders.

I’ve been driving my kids to school for three weeks now. It’s usually my husband’s job and I’ll be very happy when he resumes the role of complaining about the idiots at the Middle School. I can go back to just mumbling about the ones at the Elementary School I drive past on my way to work. It’ll be a vast improvement.

The road in front of the middle school is very wide – wide enough for a car on each side to pull over and still leave plenty of room for cars going both directions to pass at the same time. It’s also not a major road. The only traffic is comprised of parents dropping off their children.

And many of these parents have no respect for other drivers and some have an alarming lack of concern about the safety of their children. There’s a crosswalk. It doesn’t have a crossing guard but everyone knows it’s there and tend to watch for people walking in it. The sane parents pull over to the curb near the crosswalk. Their kid gets out and uses the crosswalk. Maybe the parent sits and watches until the kid makes it across the street, and then they pull out and continue in the same direction their car was already pointed.

Yesterday, one mom just stopped in the middle of the road, as many are prone to do, but she took the disregard for all the other drivers a step further when she continued to sit there long after her kid had finished crossing the street. I can only assume she was watching her kid walk all the way into the building. If she’s that concerned (or maybe fears the kid will try to skip?), perhaps she should park in the parking lot and walk him in. She could hold his hand for good measure if she’d like.

I was able to pull over and let Jane out by the crosswalk. By the time Jane made it across the street, the other mom still hadn’t left. I had to come up on her right side and go past her while she still sat in the middle of the road. I don’t get it.

The man today took the cake though. He did pull over – I’ll grant him that much. But he did it way before the crosswalk. I was coming up behind him and was getting ready to go past him when his daughter popped up behind his car, preparing to cross the street clogged with parents bringing their children. I sat there wondering if she was going to go and finally decided she was (wisely) waiting on me. So I started to go on by. At the same time, a car was approaching from the other direction.

At that exact moment, with his daughter standing behind his vehicle and cars approaching from both directions, this dad decided to execute a quick U-turn in the road. Of course, he was trying to do it from a dead stop in an SUV and he’s apparently not that skilled at it, so of course, he wasn’t able to complete the turn. That left him stopped perpendicular in the road; blocking me, blocking his daughter, blocking (and nearly hitting) the car coming from the other direction.

We all waited for His Highness to back up and complete his U-turn before we went about our obviously-much-less-important-than-him ways.

Jane thinks there’s no point in us griping about these people. She thinks we should just wait patiently for their idiocy and selfishness to clear out of our way. She’s obviously never been behind the wheel.

As I pulled away from the Middle School this morning, I switched the audio system back from Aux (we had been listening to Jane’s iPod) to FM. We caught the radio DJ saying, “You just have to forgive young and stupid.”

“What about old and stupid?” I asked. Daryl laughed.

A friend who teaches at the High School assures me it’s not just the Middle School parents. She has dealt with parents blocking her access to the teacher parking lot so they can let their teenaged driver extract band instruments, etc. before walking into the building. The teacher friend then waits as the mom walks around the car to the driver’s seat. Nevermind that the front of the school is the intended location for parent drop off.

I guess this makes sense though. If the parents haven’t matured by the time their kids make it to the Middle School, odds are that their kid transitioning from eighth to nineth grade won’t do the trick either.

So, see? Maybe all the bad teenaged driving is related to all the bad grown-up driving.

Lucky Radio Happenstance

“Oh! It’s USA vs. Portugal!” he exclaimed, looking up at the dashboard and putting away the game he was playing on his phone. From the driver’s seat, I gave an internal sigh and retracted my hand from the search button on the radio.

If only I’d found something interesting before we got here. I could have stayed on the Mexican station. That music is kind of fun… even if I can’t understand the commercials. Was the country station really all that bad? Now I’m stuck listening to a soccer game? Groan.

As if reading my mind, he laughed and said, “Do you know what the only sport is more boring to listen to on the radio than baseball?”

“Soccer?” I asked.

“No! It’s golf!” And he dissolved into laughter. “Seriously. It is. Oh, hey!” He turned his attention back to the radio. “We’re tied! That’s awesome!”

I settled myself with the prospect of listening to a British guy and an Irish guy talk about players whose names I didn’t know running up and down the field and absolutely no goals scored. I’m not a soccer football fan. I don’t dislike the sport – in fact, I enjoy watching it. I’m just not a fan. Then again, I’m not really a fan of any sport… except hockey.

Anyway, I was contemplating the possibilities of glazing over mentally and whether that would impact our safety since I was the driver, when the British and Irish guys started getting excited. I didn’t know who had the ball but obviously someone stood a chance of scoring. I didn’t expect it to actually happen but the excitement crescendo-ed and I realized that… someone… had just scored.

And a split second later, I figured out it was us.

My husband and I thrust our arms in the air and yelled, “GOAL!”

Suddenly, I was feeling the World Cup fever. I was excited. Our pastor, a major sports buff, had used the World Cup as the starting point for his sermon that morning. He had jokingly indicated that our chances of advancing were extremely slim.

I turned to my husband and said, “I guess our chances of advancing are a bit better than somewhere between 1 in a million and 1 in a hundred?” (This a reference to the sermon).

He smiled and we settled in to listen to the last 9 minutes of the game. The guys (I enjoyed listening to the Irish guy in particular) kept remarking on how Portugal looked like they had already given up. How great the American team looked. How it was already over and USA was locked into at least second place and thus advancing.

It was exciting. I remarked on the good fortune to turn to the game right before an exciting conclusion, instead of having to listen to nothing happening.

The ref then added 5 minutes to the clock as soccer refs are prone to do, estimating the stoppage of play throughout the game. I sighed but trusted my British and Irish eyes and ears. This game was all but over.

As an Oklahoma State Cowboys fan, I wasn’t relaxing, mind you. I have plenty of experience with teams losing it at the end. Still. There was maybe a minute left. I could hear the crowd chanting “U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!”

And then those dang guys started to get excited again. And with a disbelieving tone. And then. And then.

And then.

Portugal scored a goal in the final seconds. That might happen a lot in basketball. And maybe even in American football. But soccer?

We both sat there stunned. We had lost.

Fifteen minutes ago, I hadn’t even known that the game was going on. Was no more than mildly interested in the outcome. And now I felt like someone had just stolen my ice cream cone.

We listened to commentary for a few more minutes and then I resumed my search for music.

“Well that sucked,” he said.

“Mmm-hmmm,” I replied, feeling down.

And, yeah, the loss kind of sucked. But it feels kind of special that we caught it. And got to be a part of it. I guess it was better than catching a good song. They play those on the radio all the time.

In the Middle of Nowhere

I found myself behind the wheel somewhere east of Albuquerque during what turned out to be naptime for the other four members of the family on our long drive from the Grand Canyon to our home in East Texas.

There isn’t much east of Albuquerque. In fact, you are lucky to have cell reception. And forget data. There’s no checking Facebook or sending emails or anything that you are used to being able to do with your smart phone. (Most of that was discovered while not driving, btw. For the most part, I avoid my phone while driving.)

Radio stations are hard to come by as well. At one point, scanning through all the FM stations presented me with three different static-filled choices. And that’s it. No music.

I even got desperate enough to try the AM band and stumbled across some people talking about the plane that had disappeared just before we descended into the canyon. I stayed, hoping to get caught up, but they soon turned to politics and it became clear that the host and his two “experts” were cut from the same cloth and no meaningful examination of the issues from all sides would happen, so I returned to FM to try again for some music.

I finally hit pay dirt, when Lorde’s “Royals” came through. Yes! I thought. I’ll take top 40 pop. I was a bit surprised when The Beach Boys’ “Help Me Rhonda” played next. And then I couldn’t help but laugh when one of my favorite classic rock hits “Turn The Page” by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band was next on the playlist. I guess when you are the only radio station around, you have to appeal to a wide variety of tastes.

At one point, I asked my Shazam app on my phone to identify a song for me. It churned and churned and churned and eventually responded with:

I’m sorry. I don’t know if you realize this, but you are in the middle of nowhere and I can’t contact the mother ship to get an answer for you. I’ve saved the recording on your device and you can try to send it again when you’ve returned to civilization. Thank you.

Or, something like that.

My husband had told me that he thought we’d have enough gas to get to Amarillo but thought I should keep an eye on it. Judging by the road signs, Tucumcari was going to be my best intermediate choice, should I decide we couldn’t make it. As I drove through Tucumcari, though, we still had four bars on the gas gauge and everyone was still asleep. There was another town big enough to be given distance on the signs so I figured I’d check again there.

San Jon, as it turns out, is more of a village than a town. As I approached the first exit, I looked down at our mileage and the two bars on the gas gauge. I wasn’t sure we could make the remaining 85 miles to Amarillo, even driving a Prius. When I looked up, however, the town was fading behind me. It only has one exit.

I decided to wake my husband to get his opinion and as I did so, the gas gauge dropped to one bar. The next exit claimed a town name that didn’t even show up on our Google Map and there was nothing but fields as far as the eye can see. Still, I took the exit and returned to the sprawling metropolis of San Jon.

San Jon offered two choices for gas: a Valero and an un-branded truck stop that claimed to offer fine Indian Cuisine (dots, not feathers, as Good Will Hunting would say). We chose the Valero and as I pulled into the parking lot, my husband exclaimed, “Is that a dead dog?!”

I looked over, and sure enough, there was a dead dog lying behind two parked trucks.

“Okaaaayyyy…” I said. “I think I’ll take this far pump, away from the dead dog.”

My husband got out to pump gas and I approached the building to use the bathroom. I steered wide of the dog but tried to look for signs of injury. I found none. How had it died? I thought. And why is no one doing anything about it? And how did those two trucks manage to park there without running over it? Or did it die there after they parked? How long have they been parked there?!

I walked into the station and looked around. I thought about asking someone about the dog but it all felt so surreal that I just went quietly to the bathroom. On my return, I resolved to watch the dog closely for signs of breathing. Maybe it wasn’t dead.

I stared at it through the glass doors and kept staring as I walked out of the building. The chest was not rising and falling. Common sense and analysis of the situation had told me that the only logical conclusion was that the dog was not, indeed, dead, so I kept walking toward it. I walked between the two trucks and when I was almost to the beds of the trucks, it slowly lifted a lazy eyelid. The skin sagged and showed the red flesh around the eye. The dog did not lift its head, nor twitch any muscle in its body. The only thing that moved was that one eyelid. The dog then dismissed me and closed its eye.

I exhaled the air I had been holding in my lungs and rushed to the car.

“The dog isn’t dead,” I told my husband. “But it’s still kind of creepy.”

When he returned from the building after buying snacks, he told me that an old man had walked out and the dog looked up before jumping to its feet. The man said, “Come on, old girl” and the dog jumped into the back of one of the trucks.

How small of a town do you have to be in for a dog to be able to just lay in the middle of the parking lot without getting run over? And exactly how old does the dog have to be to lay that still?

Smells Like Candy

When I’m driving long distances, I usually like to have some sort of snack. It’s not because I’m hungry. And it’s not even that it does a particularly good job of keeping me awake. Mostly, it just gives me something to do. I find driving to be insanely boring.

As a result, when we stopped recently on a long road trip, I picked up a roll of SweetTarts, anticipating my turn at the wheel. SweetTarts and Junior Mints are some of my favorite choices because they taste really good yet don’t give me quite the calorie punch of the other gas station choices.

After we had been driving for awhile, as dark descended and the children were told to quiet down for sleep, I quietly asked my husband for them. He dug around at his feet and then passed them over to me.

A little voice immediately piped up in the back, “Daddy? What did you just give Mommy?”

“Something that she eats to help stay awake,” he responded.

I soon opened them and ate one. I placed the roll in the door handle, which was visible to Hal, who sits directly behind the driver.

“That’s candy, Daddy. Did you give Mommy candy?”

“Yes, I did, Hal. Now go to sleep.”

A few minutes of silence followed until he spoke up again. “But candy is bad for you. Why did you give her candy?”

“Because that’s what she wanted, Hal. When you are a grown-up, you get to make your own bad choices.”

The next day, we returned to the road for the final leg of our journey home. About halfway into my turn at the wheel, I quietly unwrapped the SweetTarts roll and ate one.

From the back, “What’s that smell?”

“I farted,” quipped my husband. “Does it smell sweet?”

“It smells like candy” was Hal’s rather suspicious reply.

“Do SweetTarts really smell that strong?” I whispered.

“He’s a four year old boy. He can probably smell candy from forever away.”

Sharing the Burden

I consider myself to be a modern and progressive woman, fully capable of accomplishing most anything. I have a college degree and work in a male-dominated technical field. I am the primary bread winner while my husband is the stay-at-home parent.

I’ve always had the attitude that I can do anything a man can do. In fact, as a kid, I used to try (repeatedly) to pee standing in front of the toilet. As a teenager, when a boy offered his hand as I climbed down off a rock, instead of viewing that as an opportunity to strike up a conversation with a cute guy, I glared at him and haughtily announced that I could get down by myself.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that when I married my high school sweetheart, I married a very capable man. And since I’ve been married to him for my entire adult life, I have become accustomed to him always taking care of certain things.

Driving is one of them. If he’s in the car, he’s usually driving. He’s better, safer, and likes it more. As he’s getting older, he seems to want me to share the burden but I’ve come to enjoy my chauffeured status and tend to resist at every opportunity.

Driving with a trailer or a serious load in the truck bed is a no-brainer. I flat-out refuse to pull the trailer. I find the entire experience too nerve-wracking. And besides, he’s impressively good. He’s had a commercial driver’s license before. He can back a school bus into a narrow parking space with buses on either side. I’m doing good to attempt the same with the Prius.

Tying stuff down in the back of a pick-up truck is another one. He remembers all the right knots and how to tie them. He’s also stronger and thus able to ratchet stuff down better. I’ve become so accustomed to his competency in this matter, that I’ve become complacent, simply standing near the truck and handing him whatever he asks for or holding whatever he tells me to hold.

This had disastrous results earlier this year when we loaded our propane grill into the back of the truck to take to church for a cook-out. He made no move to tie it down. I had a niggling thought in the back of my mind that I should perhaps suggest doing so but then dismissed it. He knows what he’s doing. Less than two miles down the road, I found myself helping him chase down pieces of our former grill after it did a spectacular back flip over the tailgate.

And so we come to today. We had had a very busy weekend, pieces of which will likely be blogged about soon. Since we would be in southern Oklahoma on Saturday, we decided to take the opportunity to run up to the Oklahoma City area with the truck. My mom recently moved into a new house and her old refrigerator (which we love) wouldn’t fit in the new kitchen. She had offered to sell it to us and also give us the grill the previous owners had left behind.

There was just one problem. My husband woke up Sunday morning with vertigo. He then took some Sudafed on an empty stomach and that caused him to throw up. Mom, her boyfriend, my husband’s dad, and I all worked together to get the truck loaded. He spent the day in bed and when it was finally time to leave, it was obvious that he wouldn’t be driving.

I climbed behind the wheel and nervously pulled out of the driveway. My shoulders were tense and I checked the mirrors constantly. I was going to need a good table massage if I stayed this tense for the entire trip.

The first stop occurred before I made it to the highway. The tie-down strap across the fridge had a long loose end blowing around. I hopped out and tied it to itself, feeling a tiny bit pleased with myself.

The second stop occurred a few miles down the highway when I noticed that the grill cover looked like it was fraying. Sure enough, it was ripped to shreds. My husband couldn’t stand so I asked Jane to help me.

First, I retrieved a tarp and covered the grill. Then I grabbed another tie-down and wrapped it as tight as I could around the grill, pushing my feet against the tires to get it tighter. Finally, I found some bungee cords and used them to secure the tarp corners by the grommets. It wasn’t a great job, but it felt adequate.

The third stop occurred very quickly after the second. I had moved the little gas can in the back and forgotten to secure it back down. I pulled over as soon as I saw it fly out the back. My husband seemed flustered about the fact that I was stopping again.

“How badly do you want the gas can?” I asked. “I’ll have to walk back and get it.”

He said he wanted it but we got crosswise with each other. He was sick and weak. I was tense and flustered. Some F-bombs were dropped. Yes, in front of the kids. I trotted back about a hundred yards to the can, moving through tall, itchy grass. By the time I got back, my legs were itching almost as much as my poison-ivy covered arms that had been scratched during the emergency tie-down of the grill tarp (busy weekend, remember?).

My husband took the opportunity to crawl weakly from the truck to check the tie-downs. He expressed a wish for another tie-down to put around the fridge. I pointed to the one around the grill and said that I had used the last one.

“That’s not a tie-down,” he said. “That’s a tow strap.”

“Oh. Well, that would certainly explain why it was so stiff and difficult to work with!”

The fourth stop came after I worried over the loose corner of the tarp flapping on my side. The last bungee cord was put to good use then. I also removed the airport baggage claim tag from the suitcase that kept masquerading as a floppy strap-like thing I should worry about.

The fifth stop was because I noticed that the fridge had slid away from the back of the cab. A folded cardboard box had been used to protect it from rubbing against the truck but it was now flopping around. We investigated but decided it would be ok. At least for now.

By the sixth time I pulled over, he was asking “what now?!” The strap over the fridge had just come loose and I watched the heavy metal ratcheting device plummet over the side of the truck.

“I’m afraid I’m going to need your help on this one,” I said. I never have been able to master those devices.

After that stop, I actually began to relax. We stopped once more, this time for food and a potty break. My husband was starting to feel better. He didn’t get dizzy when he turned his head. He offered to drive the last hour.

I said that surely I was a better choice than someone who might still get dizzy and finished the trip, even though I really, really wanted to sit in the passenger seat and play Candy Crush. Hopefully this trip earned me some credit. Surely he’ll drive all the way to Denver next month without expecting me to spend any time behind the wheel. Right?

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