Gary had the pleasure of driving his parents today. Karen had back surgery a week ago and was deemed strong enough to tolerate a visit from her parents in the hospital. The elder S_______'s have been worried sick about their daughter and the situation is out of their control, so they control everything else they can. That means the usual S_______ backseat driving control issues would be amplified. Gary knew this was coming and prepared himself. He put peaceful CDs in the Mini. He plotted a course that would give them a rest stop at the peaceful Butterfly House. To no avail.
The in-laws do not drive well.
One year my Mom drove with the in-laws to our house, which requires going over a river, which requires taking the interstate. Mom and in-laws walked in (forty-five freaking minutes early for Thanksgiving, which is a whole 'nother story) and she pulled me aside and said "What's the story with the trucks?" You would think the in-laws parents had been flattened by an eighteen-wheeler. If you can't avoid taking them on the highway, you have to somehow avoid driving on the same highway as a truck. "TRUCK!" they scream. "Don't get by the truck! No! pass it! No, in the OTHER lane! Whew...that was close." It's like Rainman. The only thing they ever hear about trucks is "An eighteen-wheeler jackknifed on 270" and that just reinforces their belief that every truck ("TRUUUUUUCCCKK!") jackknifes once a day.
Gary said the truck alerts on the visit to the hospital were welcome since they punctuated his mom hyperventilating in the back seat. Things didn't help much that Gary took the Mini. The Mini has a giant speedometer in the center of the dashboard, plus a digital display, so his reckless speed (read as: studious adherence to the speed limit) was obvious.
He has been shrieked at to keep his eyes on the road so often he was afraid to glance at his parents when he heard them making a clicking/muttering noise. Are you Catholic? Then you know. They had the beads out and were praying the rosary. He said at one point he felt like a kid riding a bike with baseball cards in the spokes. The clicking got faster the faster he drove.
They finally got to the hospital (Karen looked great) and stayed for ten minutes before asking Mr. Wonderful if he could drive them home instead of Gary, in the Cadillac SUV, because they just couldn't take another minute in that death machine Gary drives.