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Ever since we were kids, The Mom has had a special term for bad drivers she encounters. It’s a funny term, and used only when driving. I don’t know if she ever made a conscious choice on the name, but it’s withstood the test of time and a lot of bad drivers.

Say she’s out, on a routine trip to the grocery store. From her house, this involves a maximum of five turns and takes all of three minutes in the car, regardless of how fast you’re going. Guaranteed either on the way there, in the parking lot or on the way back, she’ll encounter someone whose driving manoeuvres drive her, pardon the pun, to the brink.

Such poor driving skills might be evidenced by, say, driving too quickly (ie the posted speed limit) near the pool, or not following her too closely, or possibly even someone who changes lanes at pace without signlalling properly and for the full length of time.

Now, I must stop here and point out that I have nothing against The Mom’s driving. When I’m home visiting, I let her drive as often as possible. I hate it. Hate everything about it. And am also not the best driver, a bit too absent minded for proper driving, though I can do it when properly motivated (ie she won’t drive me and I actually have to get somewhere because if she won’t drive and I don’t absolutely have to be somewhere, chances are good that I just won’t go.)

The thing that is hilarious is what she shouts at bad drivers.

Picture the scene: a tiny woman, who is barely five feet, behind the wheel of a big truck/SUV thing, peering over the steering wheel, shaking her tiny fist.

“You stupid idiot!” she’ll shout, from behind closed windows, Michael Bolton CD turned up to maximum volume.

If you are in the car, witnessing such things, she’ll then turn to you and say, “What a stupid idiot! I can’t believe that stupid idiot!”

There are many things that are hilarious about her terminology here. The first being she can swear like a sailor when she really wants to. She might not drop the F-sharps the way the rest of us do, but it’s not as if the word isn’t in her vocabulary. The other thing is that only bad drivers ever get to be called stupid idiots.

In fact, I do believe we’ve tested the moniker. There were teenage kids that used to live across the street from her, and when they had parties, which was too frequent for her liking, they’d keep her up all night.

“Bunch of stupid idiots, right?” one of us would say hopefully, just to see if she’d say it because the rage contained within those two fairly benign words is a thing of beauty.

“Disrespectful bunch of little shits,” she might reply.

We tried anything we could think of (and granted, we didn’t give it that much thought, but still, I’m sure it occupied us for a day or two), but she wouldn’t call anyone but a bad driver a stupid idiot.

I imagine this title came to be when we were kids and she knew she shouldn’t actually swear in front of us, lest we get kicked out of nursery school. When questioned on it, she gets a bit flustered, which leads me to think that maybe in her mind, she’s not saying stupid idiot at all.

But she’s heard me swear a blue streak, at the slightlest provocation sometimes. And she’s not letting on about the true meaning.