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Family butts in to make a few observations

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For today's column I would like to share the following observation: People who have been married to each other for a long time should not be allowed to drive together in the same vehicle.

The reason for this is that couples feel just a LITTLE TOO FREE to tell each other (a) what to do and (b) how to do it.

Take what happened to us recently, for example.

OK. I noticed as we were getting ready to leave my mother-in-law's house in Provo on the Fourth of July that both my husband and I were feeling a little groggy after eating so much potato salad. My husband, however, was deeper into his potato-salad-induced coma than I was into mine. That's why I volunteered to drive us back to Salt Lake City.

Now I need to make something perfectly clear here. I do NOT enjoy making the drive between Salt Lake and Provo ever since UDOT turned 1-15 into a luge run for the 2002 Olympics. So for me to offer to drive us home after our Annual-Fourth-of-July-Provo-Potato-Salad-Binge was (I'm sure you'll all agree) a very generous (even noble!) thing to do.

So anyway, we waddled (full of potato salad) to our car and took off, and before we reached Orem, my husband was telling me how to drive home, even though I took driver's ed (hello!) from Mr. Moon at Provo High School almost 30 years ago. I even passed the class. Not with distinction perhaps. Not even with a "C-" or a "D+" perhaps. Still, technically speaking, I passed, SO WHAT ELSE DO YA WANT?

"Stop telling me how to drive," I said, and I meant it.

To his credit, my husband totally closed his mouth. However, he could NOT resist the temptation to point whenever he thought I needed to do something, such as shift or make a lane change, which was about every 30 seconds or so. In fact, he was so busy pointing that you would have thought he was a flight attendant for Delta Air Lines pointing out the safety features of a Boeing 757.

MY HUSBAND: Excuse me. But I feel a very serious need to interrupt this column for a minute.

ME: Hey! Hold on. I thought you were busy changing television channels in the other room.

MY HUSBAND: Fooled you! And now that I'm here, making an unplanned guest appearance in your column, I would just like to point out (since you seem to think I'm so very fond of pointing) that I have my reasons for worrying about the way you drive. Remember how you got off the wrong freeway exit last night? AGAIN!?

ME: Ha! Silly freeway exits! They all look the same after dark!

MY HUSBAND: Here's the other thing I'm worried about. People only get YOUR side of any given story when you write about us.

OUR SONS: That's totally true, Mom! Not that we actually read your column, because that would involve, you know, READING!

ME: Look, I was just trying to tell everybody how your dad was flapping his arms around in the car when we were driving home from Provo the other night. My gosh. You would have thought he was trying out for pep club.

OUR SONS: She's right, Dad. You looked like a girl!

MY HUSBAND: I did not look like a girl!!

ME: Knock it off, you guys, and show some respect!!! Stop calling your dad a girl!!!!

OUR SONS: Hey!!!!! We were just sticking up for you, Mom!!!!!!

MY HUSBAND: Oh, no! Look at all these exclamation points!! I feel another public fight coming on!!!

OUR SONS: Sort of like that time all of the brothers in our family started beating each other up in the parking lot at Bryce Canyon in front of a busload of senior citizens.

MY HUSBAND: (sighing) I suppose your mother thinks that would make a good column, too.

ME: No lie.

MY HUSBAND: Well, get used to it, kids. Living with a writer is like living with a hitman. You know you're going to take it in the kneecaps one day. You just don't know when.

ME: Oh, sweetheart! You say the darndest things!