Saturday, 8 August 2015

Dan's View on Back Seat Drivers

Ella from Ella Ever After recently made an excellent meme which a great many of us completed. It was great fun, but there was one question that caused me to think.

"What is the submissive action or inaction of which you are most proud?" 

Many bloggers mentioned sitting next to their husbands when they were driving. It seems this is like being in the "hot seat" and the risks of extremely unsubmissive behaviour are very great.

I know that over the years we have had more incidents due to me opening my mouth when Dan is driving, than any other time. To a certain extent we still do, but I am hundreds of times better than I used to be in this respect, and mostly manage to keep quiet and not make disparaging remarks. If I do say something Dan either dislikes or disagrees with, he will suddenly land an extremely hard spank to as much of the inside of my right thigh as he can reach with his left hand. 

I usually jump a mile, give a loud squeak and clamp my thighs together. This spank hurts, the inside of a thigh is very tender, and the effects can be felt for a very long time even through jeans. So far these spanks are the most effective means of shutting me up. So effective that even Dan has noticed my lack of back seat driving these days. 

But he had another lesson for me.

So, fast forward to yesterday. It was a day that would have tried the patience of a saint, and believe me, Dan is no saint when he's feeling irate.

The problem started a week ago with him bending down to pick something up in our yard, and his mobile fell from his breast pocket and down on to the concrete. Dan stared at it in horror. Mobile phones are one modern techno item that Dan has fully embraced. He has one of these all singing all dancing models. Alas, the screen was smashed into an intricate spider web. Dan nursed the poor thing back into the kitchen and lovingly taped it up with sellotape.

(This could be Dan, only it isn't.)

It was pretty hopeless, and although he coped with it for a week, the poor thing virtually needed mouth to mouth resuscitation to survive. 

So yesterday Dan decided enough was enough and he needed a new screen.

We made the journey into our nearest big town. I needed to visit the dentist and Dan strode off down the hill to the shops. He investigated several mobile phone outlets, his hair turning greyer and greyer at the price quoted for the repairs, until he at last found a dear little shop, half hidden away in what we call a shopping centre and most of the rest of the world call a mall. They promised to have it repaired like new by 4pm, and for less than half the price all the other shops had quoted him. 

I finished at the dentist and asked Dan to meet me just around the corner from his repair shop as I wanted to go and look around the i-store as I was interested in purchasing a tablet. All my friends have i-pads and I was feeling very left out. As my computer is playing tricks on me all the time, due to its antiquity, I have been secretly saving to buy my own i-pad. They are very expensive in the UK and certain large stores are advertising a considerable chunk of money off them, so I thought I would go and get all the info from the proper i-store, and then buy elsewhere. Ha! Can you feel an "Ami" adventure approaching?

By the time Dan had told me the benefits of the Galaxy tablet, my ears were numb. But although I was not disrespectful, I held my ground. A determined Ami is very determined indeed! And by the time the nice young woman had shown us all the things an i-pad is capable of doing, Dan had done a U-turn in his thinking. But he did agree that we ought to buy elsewhere.

We had a leisurely coffee sitting in the garden of a pub Dan frequents when he is in town for football matches (the season starts on Tuesday and I shall once more become a footy widow) and then we went home.

We only had around three hours before Dan would need to return to collect his mobile, so I busied myself with little chores like laundry and watering the plants, while Dan marched backwards and forwards getting underfoot and driving me up the wall. He was like a smoker who has suddenly found himself without his nicotine fix. I had never realised he checked his phone so often, or did so much with the blessed thing. I even offered him my phone, but he was a bit scathing about that. I wonder why?

By three o'clock he suggested to me that I went with him and that we would stop en route at one of the aforesaid large stores and see if they had the model of i-pad I was interested in and if they were still doing the deal.

He drove quite fast. He swore at several drivers and when a woman in a silly little Fiat undertook him and nearly took off the side of his car at a roundabout, I thought he was going to explode. (I wonder if they have a remedy for mobile phone withdrawal symptoms?) I made the odd comment about his speed, but on the whole I thought I did quite well.

He swept into the car park near the store and immediately had a loud altercation with another individual who tried to take his parking spot whilst he was trying to reverse into it. I did a lot of teeth gnashing.

We found a charming assistant in the store who was very keen to sell us an i-pad and took us (once again) through all its most desirable features. Finally we left the store with me clutching my precious purchase to my chest.

(Well, you didn't really think I'd insert a picture of that did you?) 

Our trip back into the town centre went smoothly and we collected Dan's phone, together with a smart little leather case to keep it in (Dan hates this, but I said that it would most certainly prevent any further mishaps and he felt obliged to agree with me) so that the next time he bends down in the yard it will bounce and come to no harm.

We drove home and I immediately sat and unwrapped my new tablet. I had a grin from ear to ear.

The grin vanished in the twinkling of an eye when I became convinced they had sold me the wrong tablet. I showed it to Dan and he suggested I rang the service helpline. It luckily wasn't in India, but it was hundreds of miles from where we live. The gentleman the other end agreed with me and even Googled the box. He, too, thought I had been sold the wrong one.

What to do?

I suggested we return the next day, but Dan was adamant we go back as soon as we had eaten dinner. (So a quick Chinese stir fry for us!) It didn't take too long to prepare and we ate it quite quickly as with all the toing and froing we were starving.

This time Dan drove much faster than the speed limit (I know, because the little computer thingy kept going "ding"). The car park at the store was nearly empty as they were near to closing time. We anxiously approached the customer help desk. Yet another young woman (they are simply everywhere these days and they all have size D bosoms!) looked Dan in the eye, quickly scanned the i-pad box, and told us smugly that indeed we had the correct item. Dan scowled at me and I smiled lovingly back.

He asked if I would drive home. 

Every inch of the way till we got on the dual carriageway, Dan told me which lane to drive in, when to indicate, how fast to drive, and which way to head.

As we approached the fast road I put my pedal to the metal, the twin turbs kicked in, and I plastered Dan back against his seat, overtaking three large trucks just coming from the docks, and several stupid dithering drivers out for an afternoon stroll.

We then had this little conversation, around half way back to our home, when we had both calmed down, and we laughed at ourselves for behaving like obstreperous teenagers.

"Is this how I used to act?"

"No. You were far worse."

"Was I really? Surely not. You were so awful today."

"Yes, you really were. Remember the time in France?"

"Oh, yes, I remember."

(How could I ever forget? It was the summer before we started dd/ttwd. Just before I keyed in the famous word spanking on my computer. We were in some small unassuming town in the middle of France and I had a big strop because Dan was driving the wrong way. He stopped right in the middle of a roundabout - it was early morning - got out and ordered me to drive. He made me drive for the next four hundred miles!)

"Don't think I can't see your foot go down on the floor. Don't think I don't notice your hands holding the sides of your seat. Don't think I can't see your mouth set in a line and your lips sealed in pain." Dan's eyebrow lifted.

"But I try my best not to say anything. You must have noticed how quiet I am these days." I kept my eyes to the front.

"Oh yes, you're quiet enough. But you could cut the tension with a knife."

"We've had several comments on the blogs about this back set driving and it seems that most wives feel it is quite hard to just sit there, but they feel it is important to do so."


"But Dan? They were saying that they even sit and keep their mouths shut if their husbands go in the wrong direction. I told them you would be mad if I did that."

"Well, I would. It would waste both time, effort and fuel. If you knew the way, and I didn't, and you let me end up getting lost or driving 50 miles out of our way, I would be furious with you. But..."

"But what?"

"You can tell me I'm going wrong without yelling at me, or constantly telling me how to drive."

"So what do you think I should say? You do have a tendency to get very defensive."

"You could say something like this - I know you disagree, Dan, but I think you are going in the wrong direction. I won't say any more, but I thought I would just let you know I think we took the wrong road."

"And would you listen to that?"

"If I don't listen, I only have myself to blame. If I end up lost, or 50 miles from where we should be, I only have myself, as the driver, to blame. I was the one who made the decision."

I sat for a minute digesting this.

"So back there, the way you were picking on my driving...?"

"Was how you used to act all the time."

"You nearly did my head in, Dan. I could hardly concentrate on what I was doing. You made me feel really angry."


"I've never known you to be like that when I drive. You usually sit and don't say a word about my driving. On long journeys you even fall asleep."

"Exactly. See how much better it is not to keep digging at me?"

"But I didn't say anything today, even when you shouted at that man when you were trying to park. I just sympathised with you. And all I did when you went faster than the speed limit was to ask you what that little "ding" was."

"As I said, you are much better than you used to be. But you need to relax more. You were the one who always used to fall asleep the minute you set foot in my car. I used to drive hundreds of miles every week. I'm quite capable you know."

"But you do have a way of nipping off down side turnings."

Dan chuckled. 

"Yet in all my years of driving I've only ever had one speeding ticket, and I've always kept you safe, Ami."

"Good point, well made, Mr Grey."