Riding Shotgun

Just Shoot Me Now

Did you know where that phrase originated before now?

I’ve begun riding shotgun, but not by choice. My daughter Tory is in the driver’s seat of her little yellow VW Beetle, whom (yes. It is a ‘whom,’ not a ‘what.’) she’s named ‘Sunny.’ She finished her required six hours of professional (paid, as required by the great state of NJ) on-the-road driving instruction on Monday. Now my husband Mike and I have to sit in the passenger seat while she drives us around. We have to do this for the next year. Until she turns 17 or I die of fright, whichever comes first.

Having been in a couple of auto accidents (not my fault, I might add) and living in NJ, where rules and laws are rarely followed, has made me a very nervous passenger, even when someone who is really competent is driving. I mean, my Mag 7 friend Ginger is a great driver. She hardly ever does anything that makes me clutch the armrest or stomp my foot onto an imaginary brake on my side of her shiny red Jeep. And with its kick-butt hemi she has always, always, always been able to outrun a swerving idiot who is texting down the road. So, okay, I will get in the passenger seat sometimes. But never by choice with a new driver, not even my daughter.


I keep needing hits off my inhaler when no one is looking.

Tory has to learn to drive, and drive well, and I know I have to help her as I’ve helped her learn a myriad of other skills, but my asthma kicks in every single time I’ve gotten into Sunny and she’s already in the driver’s seat. Oh, don’t get me wrong.

She buckles up, turns the radio to low, adjusts her mirrors, releases the hand brake and all that just fine. Really.

She hasn’t ruined another boxwood as she’s discovered she can pretty much idle backwards and forwards to get out of the driveway.

She’s careful as she s l o w l y idles around corners and straightens the wheel so we haven’t hit the curbs toward which she always seems to be heading.

She never takes her eyes off the road as she zooms up to the rear end of a stopped car, hits the brake then eases up just enough on it so Sunny begins to idle toward the bumper in front of us.

She doesn’t act like driving an extremely steep, curvy road is an Xbox game challenge as Sunny weaves from side to side and sometimes over the solid yellow line into oncoming traffic.


Tory tries really hard to do everything just right. And she’s getting better every day. It’s just that she’s a new driver. And I’m a bad passenger. Maybe this weekend my husband Mike will let her drive him around.

Sunny + Tory = Perfect Together



Filed under The Magnificent Seven, Transportation, Uncategorized, VW Bug

6 responses to “Riding Shotgun

  1. Cindy

    Oh, I remember it well. When Lys had her permit, and I was her passenger. Not good memories. My saying was “I would rather swim in shark infested waters than get in the car with her!” I feel for ya Sis!

  2. Ruth

    Be glad you don’t live in Virginia. Parents have to do 45 hours of accompanied driving with their teenager in addition to the high school course. You can elect to pay a regular driving school to teach them instead of the high school, but those 45 hours have to be done by someone.
    We always started our kids driving in the church parking lot. An hour there was enough for the first day. The second time behind the wheel the child usually could manage to drive slowly home.
    When I taught the two sons I learned how to NOT show emotion. I just pressed my foot HARD on the floor and gripped my hands together TIGHTLY. Oh how they objected to my fright.

  3. Ginger

    Call me when it’s time to learn to parallel park!! I will always remember my ride with Max to get his license…along with the cloverleaf turns to enter the Parkway…and his desire to “know what type of gas” the car in front of us was using because he was practically in their tank!! Unfortunately, I did yell at him when he tried to merge onto the Pkwy and answer his ****** phone!! BTW – Racketman has improved his parallel parking skills in my “learn to park” seminar!!

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