2013.04.24 World's Neediest Driver makes a return visit

Written by David Green.

When I arrived at the Observer office very late Monday night after attending a very long Finance and Legal Committee meeting on the 2013-2014 budget, David immediately said to me, “You’re running an old column this week.” 

He knew that I didn’t even have an inkling of an idea what I’d be writing about this week and that getting started near midnight meant I’d be contributing to missing our printing deadline. 

So, here’s another repeated column...from early March, four years ago. I hope your memory is as bad as mine, and, except for the part about Maddie being a sophomore in college (she’s now 24), this seems as fresh as ever.


I am the World’s Neediest Driver. 

And after Googling that expression, it appears that I may be able to lay claim to this designation: the World’s Only Needy Driver.

It’s the reason Maddie didn’t want me to drive to Ann Arbor on Sunday, I think. Except she didn’t remember how needy I am until we got started.

Before returning her to Ann Arbor, she and I went back and forth on who should drive. We settled on me—so she could text and do some homework on the trip back to school and I could get in driving mode since I would be driving back home alone.

But as soon as she pressed the button to heat her seat and I recalled that it’s the passenger seat, not the driver’s that is heated, I regretted my offer.

And, as soon as I asked her to reach in the back seat for the gloves in my coat pockets (“You put one in each pocket?” she asked, slightly incredulous.) and when I next asked for my lip balm, located in my front right pocket, she wished she were driving.

“I’m not going to get anything done,” she said. “I should have driven.” 

“Here,” I said, ignoring her comment and handing her my sunglasses. “Put these under your armpit to warm them up.” 

And she started to until I laughed and said, “I didn’t really mean armpit...just inside your coat will do.” 

I store my sunglasses in the car, but I hate wearing cold sunglasses. They fog up and I have to keep taking them off.

And then it was a request to move the tissue box which, on Saturday, had slid on top of the accelerator pedal at a stop sign, inhibiting David from being able to press it. That was a scary little episode that made me glad I was sitting in the heated seat.

I probably asked for lip balm again before Maddie strategically laid the pocket of my coat within hand’s reach.

Twice I had her take notes for me—creating a “to do” list I am only now remembering to act on.

Is there a trophy for the world’s neediest driver? I could collect that hands down. But, I’m a pretty strong candidate for the world’s neediest shotgun rider, too.

On family trips, no matter who else is driving, I’m the designated front seat passenger. It used to be that I would feel sick when I rode in the back seat. I think I’m getting over that now—as long as I look straight ahead and don’t try to read, I’m OK. 

Too bad for my kids that my stomach is only now coming around—they were constantly fetching stuff for me, usually food from the cooler in the wayback, Maddie said. Paper towels, tissues, water—I was always in need of something—which seems kind of crazy since I always had (and have) so much stuff around me.

But when I’m driving alone, I get all my ducks in a row before setting out. I make sure everything I need is within reach. I hate fiddling, trying to find stuff when I’m driving. 

So, on the way home, I lined up my little bag of chocolate covered ginger and my chocolate pecan cookie and put my slice of bete noir cake nearby. I didn’t expect to eat the cake since I had forgotten a fork.

But I wanted to be prepared. I’ve been fighting off some kind of intestinal bug all weekend and I made the loveliest discovery—as long as I keep eating, I don’t feel barfy.

I was still on the outskirts of Ann Arbor when I realized my water bottle was tucked deep in my tote bag. I figured I’d retrieve it at the next stop light. 

But, because my world always works this way, it wasn’t until Clinton that I encountered a red light that lasted long enough for me to dig down for my bottle. The timing of red lights—it’s one of the great mysteries of the universe.

And here’s another: Why does “world’s neediest driver” get zero hits on Google, but World’s Worst Driver gets nearly four million?

I’d say I’m in pretty good company, anyway.

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016