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You know what really grinds my gears? When people that sit up front don’t fulfill their duties as a copilot. Whatever happened to “calling shotgun” and being the second set of eyes on the road?
I pride myself on my copilot abilities. Over the years, I’ve saved three friends and family from hitting deer they didn’t see, a few red lights and stop signs that we would have run and a pedestrian or two. Sometimes, you just don’t see stuff, and the duty of the copilot to bring these things to the driver’s attention.
Back a few years, a friend of mine was driving us in his brand new 350z (yes I know it’s a girl car) when a deer with a death wish and a big rack darted out of the cornfield. We were on a pizza run, and you know damn well not only would his car have been totaled but we would have lost the ‘za in the process. Luckily, I notified him and he bought me a 12 pack of beer for my underage 20-year-old self as a reward for what would have been a shitty situation.
Being the drivers right hand man isn’t just important to avoid pitfalls, it’s a lot of responsibility. Not only are you on watch duty for idiot drivers and cops, but you’re in charge of music, the driver’s cell phone, navigating if using some form of GPS, giving the driver food/water and other duties as assigned. It’s not supposed to be a fun job, but it is necessary to help out get where you’re going. Many times when I am riding up front, I’ll give the driver the “you’re good” or “no good” from my side because it is a courtesy and helps so no one pulls out prematurely and gets creamed.
Nothing makes me madder than when someone falls asleep at their post. Drink coffee, pinch yourself, or open the window; the copilot should do whatever it takes to stay awake. I went to go see a concert in a nearby city. Great show, solid dinner and overall wonderful time. Unfortunately, as a weekday concert goes, we don’t leave until after 11:00 p.m. with approximately an hour and a half drive home. My copilot, Mrs. Madoff, was giving me sleepy eyes. “I know you’re going to be asleep as soon as we hit the interstate. If you do, I am going to swerve erratically to wake you up.” She was out within five minutes of being on the interstate. Consequently, there was a lot of dry lightning, multiple shitty drivers riding the lines and a ton of late night road work. But most of all, it’s a lonely drive with no one to talk to at 12:30 a.m. As it always is, she woke up when we were basically pulling onto our street. Thanks.
I hate driving, especially long distances. I’ve been burned out from years of commuting to the last exit before the George Washington Bridge for years as well as having to drive six hours to get to college, long vacation drives and being the go-to person for getting my group of friends to and from concerts due to being the only one whose car can fit seven people (thank you based Ford Explorer). I’ve put a lot of miles on cars and seen a lot of shit. Anything from people reading the newspaper, to road head, to putting on makeup at 85 MPH. Having someone to talk to makes long drives infinitely better and more enjoyable. It makes the time go by, and honestly, I’ve had a lot of good heart to hearts on road trips.
Next time you ride shotgun, think of this. You are partially responsible as the copilot to getting everyone in the car to the destination in one piece and this duty should not be taken lightly. There’s not a lot of glamor and it’s a thankless job, but it is both necessary and important even if it is the job of an unsung hero. You are the grease to the well-oiled machine, so act like it. As Uncle Ben said, “With great power comes great responsibility.”.
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