Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Backseat Driving

While on our recent vacation in Disney World, my friend and I decided to go with the kids ( two teens and two 8 year-olds) to the Boardwalk near the hotel. As we sauntered down in the blazing sun, the kids caught sight of the Surrey bike rental place and were all clamoring for a ride.
"Drivers must be at least 18 to steer and control the brakes", said the rental guy.
"Good thing that I'm 19, I can definitely be a driver", averred S loudly, as my friend A filled in all our correct ages in the rental form. It was all I could do to not grin at his chagrin as his bluff was called.
I took the controlling seat, with the all important brake, being the only adult with shoes adequate to the task- A had her sandals on, not having anticipated the bike ride.
We started pedalling our way around the backwater, while I watched carefully, ready to brake at the least sign of a pedestrian strolling casually ahead.
Soon enough, an elderly couple came into sight as we moved along at a dizzying pace. I braked.
"You're so slow, Amma. We're driving like elderly people", yelled S. His friend concurred, loudly indignant: "What's the point of having all of us pedal if we are going to go so slow?"
"Did you know that teens are better drivers than 80 year-olds?", chimed in S again, attempting to impress us with their credentials. We harrumphed at the idea: "Teens have zero judgment. Elderly drivers, zero reflexes. We're neither."
"OK, guys, here's the time to show off your pedal-power, we've got an upslope to conquer", said A.
The bike came to a total halt, as the two rebels behind decided to reverse pedal and cause the front pedals to lock up.
After another round of altercations, we finally made it up the slope with much huffing and puffing, passed easily by another more harmonious team of bikers, all adults and evidently not arguing among themselves.
"When we get our driver's licenses, we won't drive like you. Cars are meant to be driven fast", this while attempting to get our speed up high enough to crash into the family in the swimsuits about 10 yards away from us.
"That's not going to happen anytime soon, if you behave like this. At this rate, we won't let you get your student driver's licenses until you reach the age of 30."
Only a threat to stop after one round elicited some grumbly cooperation and peace from the incessant backseat driving tips. I was never so relieved to set my feet down on firm ground as when our half-hour rental was up!
Some day, I'm sure S is going to be scolding me for driving too fast, but I'll be a 'little old lady' by the time he catches me at it, and he a nagging 40-something.


Sujatha said...

Your turn at the back seat will come soon enough, right?

Sujatha said...

Soon enough? I'm thinking more along the lines of another 14 years;)