Here’s a fun fact about me that you might not have known: I didn’t really start driving until I was 22 and had a job. Sure, I got my license before I left for college, but I didn’t like driving nor did I have a car, so I put it off as much as I could. Now that I have to drive regularly, I am definitely more comfortable with it, but I still refuse to drive long distances or over bridges.
As a “perpetual passenger” who is actively choosing to not drive myself and potentially inconveniencing others by doing so, I recognize that I have certain responsibilities to the driver as well as fewer rights than the driver. I know my place, and as long as that place isn’t in the driver’s seat for a 3-hour road trip, I am happy to stay in my lane, so to speak. I have compiled these rights and responsibilities into the below oath I take every time I plop my butt down in the passenger’s seat and grab the aux cord.
So if you’re a perpetual passenger like me, put your right hand on whatever holy book you use (I’ll use my autographed copy of “Twilight”) and say the oath with me:
I will not side-seat drive.
As someone who is choosing not to drive myself, I vow to refrain from making comments, noises, or sassy movie quotes with regards to your driving. This is your domain, and I will show deference for you and your position. Only in cases of dire peril or when I really think that you might be distracted will I insert myself and scream for my life (and possibly curse you out).
I will make sure that there is always music pumping through the speakers.
However, I will only take 100% control over the music if given explicit directions to do so, and I will respect your music veto for any song that comes up.
Unless it’s Toxic by Britney Spears (aka my jam), then we’ve gotta let it play. Some things are just more important and therefore above your jurisdiction — I don’t make the rules.
I will navigate for you if you don’t know where you’re going.
As the person in the car who can vigilantly watch the GPS, I promise to pay attention to where we’re going and give you the best directions as possible as frequently as you need.
Well, I’ll probably pay attention most of the time, anyway. It can be pretty boring just watching the road and the GPS. But I agree to fully take the blame if we miss a turn because I was checking to see how many likes my picture got on Insta (it was less than 20…so not worth it).
I will do my best to stay awake and keep you company.
I know that it can get lonely driving while the other person is asleep and that you sometimes feel like falling asleep yourself. I will try to make sure that that doesn’t happen. But once it starts getting late and dark out, I’m not going to make any promises…sorry!
I will join in on your road rage.
I promise to jump in on any cursing, name-calling, or any other general insulting that is initiated by the driver. Or at the very least, I will just chime in that the other person is a moron (even if I don’t necessarily agree).
I will hold your snacks/drinks and feed you if need be.
I vow to hold onto any snacks or drinks that you are eating or drinking and hand them over to you periodically so that you can take a bite/sip. In the event that you are dying of starvation or thirst and are unable to hold the food/drink item for yourself, I will feed you or hold the drink to your lips. A fed and hydrated driver is a happy driver!
I will make a reasonable effort to not have us stop a lot for bathroom breaks.
This one is especially difficult for me due to my tiny bladder and almost compulsive need to stay hydrated. I promise to (at least try to) take small sips so that we are not stopping too often for bathroom breaks. I will keep the diuretics to a bare minimum and drink only water when possible.
I will be prepared for any car climate so that you can be comfortable.
Since it is much easier for me to add/remove layers, I will be prepared for any temperature that you find cozy. You prefer the car to be cold? I’ll bring socks and a sweatshirt! You prefer the car to be hot? I’ll wear layers that I can strip down. If the car gets too hot, however, I can’t promise to remain decent if I’m sweating with clothing on, so turn up the temperature at your own risk.
I will be your second set of eyes when you need to see and will disappear if you need to see around me.
I promise to check your blind spot for you when changing lanes and check traffic coming from the right when you want to make a left turn. If you need me out of the way for visibility, I will shrink down and make myself as tiny as possible so that you can see around me with ease. It will be like I’m not even there…
Drivers/Passengers, did I miss anything? I would love to hear about your car-travel rituals!