One day we could write a book on the subject..

Posted: October 24, 2006 in Uncategorized

“Driver Tales” or “Chauffeur Stories” if you will….

How many times have I seen at parties, the chat veering off to driver idiosyncracies! About how one’s driver is funnier than others’, and how much one is bearing, with one’s driver! And yet, how “he’s an okay guy, so we tolerate him…”!

Often we hear elaborate stories about one’s driver. The extent of observations that one makes about the driver, shows a phenomenal level of interest in that chap that we take. Sometimes more than what we take in our spouses or children!!

So what prompts such thoughts?
I think, most of us are fundamentally, ‘back seat drivers’. And where we CAN help it, we want the car driven exactly as we’d like to drive, even if its someone else who is doing the driving. We do not feel like that at all, when we are in a taxi or in a bus. Somehow the mind adjusts to the fact that, here, we are not going to be able to dictate the way the vehicle is being driven. But as soon as we are in our car, and there is someone else driving, we want to comment on the style, on how to brake as you near the signal, about how to take to the left lane at certain times, about how to avoid the pedestrians, etc. etc.

Driver Tales..

Yes, I think we could actually compile a book with everyone’s experiences. Each of us has so many to recount. We just need to have the topic started and we can make our several contributions to it.

A deeper philosophy behind this?
I think the car is just a symbol. Its our life. We may give some part of the so-called control to someone else. Like we may entrust say, the responsibilities of our finances to someone – perhaps our spouse or an advisor. But we still do not like to give up control. We want to keep telling that person, to do this or do that, etc. And yet, there are times when we realise that this part is out of our control (we are in the cab or in the bus!), and we are relaxed to let that time pass.

In terms of drivers, I have been there and done that (backseat driving, I mean). However now, I have a different attitude. With my current chap, I just made it clear at the outset that I want him to be safe, never to be in a rush, drive comfortably, let me take care of my reading or other work, as I sit at the back, and don’t give me tension on account of the driving.

Many times, I feel that ‘why doesn’t he do this or that?’ as I observe his driving. But I quickly let that thought move out and pass. And resume my work or my other thoughts.

Does my own philosophical analogy carry through in my changed attitude? Perhaps, it does. I have realised that some things HAVE to be delegated. While delegating, you specify your priorities (“I don’t want you to cause tension to me, as I sit back”), but beyond that, you need to have the task get handled by the person to whom you have delegated. Undoubtedly, it will be done somewhat differently than what you would have done. But that you have to accept. It has freed you to do other things – more important to you at the time. And for that, you have compromised, in not having the ‘car driven, the exact way you would want to drive’. But thats a fair swap. He may actually take a better or more efficient route, he may take care of the car better – perhaps your own confidence with your own car might have pushed the car to some dangerous zones. He being an outsourced party, is generally more careful about your car, than you are yourself.

I think the analogy works. And works well.

But nonetheless, there is room for the book, Driver Tales, even if it turns out to be a funny piece, after all!

P.S. Speaking of analogies, with regards to car driving, I have an elaborate theory, perhaps justifying a Doctoral research level work, to relate the style of one’s driving to one’s character or personality. Maybe, I will get to that at some point of time. Meanwhile, if I see a person driving, I do pick up my own pointers about the person, just from that. I have been bang on target so far, in my assessment of the person, as per his driving style… !

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