Practice makes Perfect

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of being transported about town by my new Personal Chauffeur. If only it was as glamorous as it sounds. A limo, Movie Star sunglasses…

My new ‘driver’ is my teenage daughter who last month got her ‘temps.’ The vehicle is my 11-year-old Honda, equipped with manual windows and door locks. When I bought it last fall, it was the first time my children had ever used a handle to roll down a car window. They had great fun with the novelty of it. This is NOT a deluxe vehicle, but it does run surprisingly well for an older car.

Our new family bonding activity is for my son, Rocky the family dog and I to pile into the ‘trusty’ Honda to be carted around. We sometimes manufacture ‘errands’ to run and places to go. After all, my little girl must ‘practice.’ It would be better if the practice could happen without all of our lives hanging in the balance. But we do want her to be a Perfect driver. So we drive around a lot.

Rocky expects to go with us, because he likes to ride in the car. He barrels through the front door and takes his place in the backseat, before anybody realizes what has happened. This is not an intelligent dog. I know this because I have had intelligent dogs. Though he is a wonderful companion to the family, he has failed every ‘doggie intelligence’ test ever administered to him.

Ever heard of the blanket test? A small blanket is tossed over a dog. Smart canines will be out from under the blanket in a heartbeat. Rocky walks forward, until his head makes contact with (slams into) the ground. He then backs up, spins around and generally gets so tangled that he knocks himself to the floor. His tail thumps wildly under the blanket because he is such a happy dog. We feel sorry for him, so we free him of the blanket and give him lots of treats.

In his virgin car ride with my daughter, he looked at her behind the wheel and at me riding shotgun. Then  back and forth a few more times. As we began to ease backward out of the driveway, his whole body began to tremble with terror and his eyes were wide as saucers–I was seeing more of the whites of his eyes than anything else. He quickly learned to wedge his 85 lb. body onto the floor between the front and back seat to secure his position in the vehicle, while burying his head to hide his eyes. It is the closest thing I have ever seen to a ‘doggie tornado drill.’

It annoys my daughter to no end that we allow the dog in the car. But he really does like to go for rides, even when she is driving. She also isn’t keen on listening to her little brother and I snicker, as we try to stifle our giggling at the dog’s antics. I remind her that she shouldn’t complain, as I am mostly willing to instruct her AND let her drive the car that gets me to work. My only car.

To my daughter’s credit, she has done very well behind the wheel. Just one tiny love tap with a metal pole so far…And really, it is only the dog that isn’t keen on her driving. And he isn’t very smart. Or is he?

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