The Road to Misperception?

Isn’t it funny how we see ourselves one way and others might see it another? Even when the difference in perception is brought to light, we still might not view things the same. And when you have children past the “Daddy is God” age, they love bringing a fault or two to your attention. It seems that this is their primary job, at least until they have to pay their first rent check.

I say this because it has recently been pointed out to me that I may have a misperception of my driving competency.

This being the last summer before our oldest graduates college, we’ve tried to spend some extra time together and I’m one of those people who feels like if I’m going to be in the car, I might as well be driving. My insurance company loves me and my driving record. I also think of myself as a good driver and this is where the opinion between me and my daughters diverge. It’s me vs. them.

How I view myself behind the wheel:


How my family sees it:

Evidently, I am a raging lunatic who brings my family one step closer to death every time I touch the wheel.

I don’t think anything has changed in my driving, I just think they notice things now. I liked it better in the days when they were oblivious – when they would watch videos in the backseat for hours and never look up to see daddy maniacally tailgating the Ohio driver doing forty in the left lane. Now whenever I meander over the yellow line, I see them in the rear-view mirror giving each other that knowing look. I feel like they already have a plan in place and are just waiting for evidence.

My first reaction is to tell them to shut-up. To explain in no uncertain terms that I taught them to drive and have damaged fewer cars in my thirty plus years than they have in five. But then… then I see clearly that these three will take my keys away someday and if it matters, right now the vote is 3 against 1. They have a lot of goods on me and with the right judge, I’m not sure where I could end up – a senior home? A padded cell? Certainly somewhere without a car!


We took a little trip to the zoo last weekend. I don’t think I’m afraid of them, but I did find myself subconsciously minding my lane and swallowing aggression against other drivers. Oh, and I also have found a very clever hiding place for my keys… just in case.

15 thoughts on “The Road to Misperception?

  1. i love this so much. once, when i was driving a gaggle of family up north, and everyone got in on the backseat driver thing, i exited and everyone shrieked as though i had almost killed them. it still comes up.

  2. Whenever us kids taunted each other, argued or fought, my father’s arm would sweep across the back seat like the boom of a sailboat as it changes tack – knocking heads together. Eventually, he merely had to glance back at us with THE LOOK and we behaved. Years later on the way to church, when we were grown and he was old, someone in the back seat commented on his driving – and he gave them THE LOOK.

    1. I got that swat of justice many times. But I can’t reach all the way to the third row. And it would probably make me veer out of my lane which would add to their angst about my ability.

  3. That’s such a great scene from PT&A. I’ve had a few awakenings myself as a parent of a teenager learning to drive. Actually parenting in general forces me to be more aware of how others see me which is often unflattering if completely wrong 😉 Good idea to have a backup plan re: keys. And hey, a good driving record speaks for itself.

    1. I know. After I taught three to drive, I was much more patient with other drivers because I saw people get angry with my daughters as they were learning. It adds a whole new perspective.

  4. What is it about drivers in the passing lane feeling entitled to drive the speed limit or, gasp, less than the speed limit? Dont they know that the speed limit signs are just a suggestion for those of us who use that left lane? Sheesh. So, then, you slip into the right lane to pass them only to find yourself behind a tanker with 87,000 gal. of highly inflammable liquid. In the meantime Mr. Entitlement has sped up just enough that the narrow gap between him and the truck is now too small for you to sneak into. Makes me nuts. Can you tell that this has happened on more than one occasion to me?

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