Among the many varieties of spectator sports — babe-watching, net-surfing, and working — nothing comes close to backseat driving.
Popular among spinster aunts, grandmothers, and mothers-in-law, this activity allows participants to sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenery while whining about the airconditioning, the music, and of course, the car’s speed.
Unfortunately, to the detriment of cabdrivers and friends who occasionally agree to drive me around, backseat driving is just one of the few skills I am good at, besides the inclination to develop athlete’s foot.
This skill — such as it is — was cultivated through years of plain old bad luck, pessimism, and the inability to distinguish my head from well, my other less-savory body parts.
But this never got in the way of my drive to drive.
Before I developed any serious interest in starlets, I was already weaving in and out of traffic, beating jeepney and truck drivers at their own game.
Unfortunately, all this changed shortly after I, the self-proclaimed Mario Andretti of Metro Manila, turned 17.
It was at that age when I almost ran over a little old lady who was crossing a deserted intersection.
This convinced my father, who was seated beside me
at that time, that I was a road hazard.
Immediately, he revoked my driving privileges.
This incident also taught me something I would never forget: third party liability coverage.
And since then, I have been relegated to the backseat, making snide commentary regarding the subtle and complex undercurrents involving the operation of what may well be humankind’s favorite mode of transportation.
My interest in backseat driving was renewed about a few weeks ago when my supervisor grudgingly agreed to become my friend.
After work, my new-found friend has offered me and another co-worker a daily lift to Quezon City, where all three of us live.
Recognizing the potential savings and convenience that this arrangement would give us, my co-worker and I decided to give the offer a try.
After all, if the boss has every right to drive me crazy at work (which he does every single day, including Sundays and holidays), why shouldn’t he be entitled to drive me home as well?
Happily, this question has been rendered moot and academic.
The complimentary limousine service has become a neat, structured arrangement.
As soon as work is over, we move out of the parking lot and head off to Quezon City, during which time I lounge about in the back seat, listening to jazz music, and admiring the unique landscape that make Manila’s port area not a very good tourist destination.
While the passengers are only too happy to forego transportation expenses, the boss, for his part, enjoys the support, camaraderie, and good cheer of two of his hardworking subordinates.
This experience only goes to show that the best things in life are, indeed, free.
I really couldn’t ask for anything more.
Except that sometimes, I’m thinking that it wouldn’t hurt if we could cut down on the waiting time while at the parking lot.
But then again, that might be pushing my luck.
After all, I wouldn’t want the car to leave without me.
From the And the Credit Goes To Dept. This piece was published in the Manila Times in August 2005. Picture, which has very little relevance to blog entry’s subject matter, is from www.allmustangs.com.