From the Passenger's Seat: what goes through my mind as my daughter learns to drive---

1.    Not bad, not bad. Maybe she could be a decent driver.
2.    Watch out for that assneck pulling out of her driveway.
3.    That abrupt stop did not help my headache. I might hurl.
4.    I would classify that as a California stop. Unequivocally.
5.    Weren't you just 7 dressed in a pink tutu?
6.    I should turn on the radio to distract me.
7.    Don't turn on the radio; you'll distract her.
8.    She needs to learn to handle distractions. Radio on.
9.    Mailbox, mailbox. Don’t scratch the car. Mom will kill us.
10.    She will never drive on Old Las Vegas Highway. No F-ing way.
11.    Kate and Alyssa. Kate and Alyssa. Jenny and Alice. Eli.
12.    Who ever thought any of this shit up?
13.    Maybe she will be the sober one who drives drunks home.
14.    Turn signal, turn signal, turn signal.
15.    That turn: way too wide, yo.
16.    Don’t stop in the middle of the road. Check your rearview.
17.    Leaves are turning yellowish-orange. My knuckles are white.
18.    I got into a near-fatal crash in the fall of 1983.
19.    A station wagon was going too fast and slid on wet leaves.
20.    I should show you the scar along my hairline.
21.    I shouldn’t show you the scar. What would you learn?
22.    No way to avoid the collision.
23.    My girlfriend had just gotten breast-reduction surgery.
24.    None of it was pretty.
25.    Truth: I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt.
26.    If I ever catch you not wearing a seatbelt…
27.    If I ever catch you texting or talking on your cell…
28.    What would I do?
29.    Hypocrite.
30.    Truth: I got a citation for using the cell in the car.
31.    OK, I talked the judge out of a ticket.
32.    OK, I stopped being the assneck who talks while driving.
33.    Let that driver go. You need to wave her on. Wave her on!
34.    I want: her driving on some country road with her best friend.
35.    No narcotics. This is not Fear and Loathing.
36.    Freedom.
37.    We are all mortal.
38.    Please don’t let her die.
39.    Please don’t let her kill anyone else.
40.    She will drive her little brother. Oh no.
41.    That was a much better turn.
42.    She’s very careful in her own way. Let her have her own way.
43.    She has moved beyond my conception of her.
44.    She is so little.
45.    She is so old.
46.    Watch out for that guy with the toupee; he looks wasted.
47.    Drive like everyone’s drunk, all the time.  
48.    I am so proud of you.
49.    Are you riding the brake? (Mechanic’s bills forthcoming.)
50.    Insurance premiums double soon.
51.    I know someday I will cherish this…
52.    Slow down. Slow down. Slow down!
53.    OK, OK, OK, we’re fine.
54.    This car is automatic. How will we ever survive manual?
55.    Put it in park. Nicely done. Exhale.

Robert Wilder’s most recent book is Tales from the Teachers’ Lounge. Daddy Needs a Drink appears the first Wednesday of each month in the Santa Fe Reporter.