1. The back seat.
As a bad driver you’re usually ousted to the back seat and thus get to know it pretty well. You’re used to contorting your body into uncomfortable positions when you have a go at a nap. You know the feeling of asking for something from up front, and then having to reach for whatever it is you asked for because sitting in the front seat apparently gives one’s arms very little range of motion and god forbid a front-seater should have to turn their entire body around to hand you something. And you find yourself emitting untimely laughs and saying “wha?” a lot because you can never quite make out what those pretentious front-seaters are saying.
2. How it feels to be expected to endanger your life.
Since you were demoted to the back seat, you’re now the resident reacher. Any time someone needs to fetch something from the way back, you’re called upon to do it. There’s just something about an expansive-looking back seat that warms people up to the possibility of your head going through the rear windshield.
3. How to be a servant.
Because that’s pretty much what you are: a servant. And honestly, thank god you’re here, or else our precious driver might be forced to steer with one hand as he or she grabs a handful of chips with the other. But no — you’re here and so you will heed the driver’s request to feed him or her, and obligingly so. You’ll even open up a seltzer bottle and pour it into the driver’s mouth with a handkerchief in hand, ready to wipe off any carbonated water that may have fallen onto his or her chin.
4. How to sleep in cars.
There are some people who sleep in cars and there are some who don’t. You are of the former camp and have even broached the idea of writing a manual on it (you won’t, but you could). Like Pavlov’s salivating dogs, the mere sound of an engine starting up is enough to make you drowsy. And it’s all for the better, honestly, because all drivers are better off when you’re asleep.
5. Map duty.
It’s a longstanding misconception that poor drivers are good map readers. I’m sorry, but at what point did we imply we’re good with directions? Was it that time we turned down a one-way street the wrong way? Or no, it must have been that time we drove in seven circles and had no clue. Just because we’re bad at driving, does not mean we can read a map. In fact, bad driving skills should suggest a poor sense of direction.
6. How it feels to love tap another car.
You call it being rear-ended? I call it a love tap. Probably because that’s what it felt like to me — a love tap. Which reminds me: the only thing on the road that’s more hazardous than a bad driver is a bad driver in an SUV. Because the size and height of the car give the driver a false sense of security and, if ever in an accident, the bigger car is always more likely to escape unscathed.
7. Having to take two driving tests.
Get it? Because you failed the first one? You are one of the few people who know the paralyzing feeling of being shouted at by the driving instructor. And what’s more, you’re familiar with that sense of doom that comes with being asked to parallel park, managing to get the car perpendicular to the curb, throwing up your hands and reluctantly saying “…done?”
8. How it feels to almost hit a man.
There’s an ilk of stress that’s reserved for one moment and one moment only and that’s the moment you almost hit a man with a car. Suddenly it dawns on you that perhaps your cute baby voice would not have gotten you out of this one, and your awful driving is no longer “charming” or “hysterical.” The feeling is enough to shock you into being a severely alert driver for at least the next ten minutes.
9. Being ostracized in Los Angeles.
In LA it’s neither funny nor cute to be a bad driver. I know, I know…lighten up, right? Except no — I would definitely not recommend telling them to lighten up about this. And so what ends up happening to bad drivers in LA is that they’re ostracized. They’re constantly cut off, not given a chance to turn, and blocked from changing lanes and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.
10. Others assume they’re driving your car.
At this point it really doesn’t matter if the car is yours — you’re still not driving it. You constantly find yourself pleading your case to your friends as to why they should let you drive YOUR car. You think it’s unfair, but really, it’s all your fault; you shouldn’t even own a car in the first place.