Sure, it can most often be a mindless, "auto-pilot" part of anyone's day: turn on the ignition, punch in the CD, put it in gear, and your vehicle practically takes itself on the seemingly ceaseless rounds of drop-offs, deliveries, and pick-ups.
But, every now and then, it pays to turn down the music and tune into the back-seat conversation....to wit:
Miss Cee: "Mommy, guess what happened in school today?!"
Moi: "Oh, at my advanced age, I don't think I have any original guesses left..."
Miss Cee: "Well, you can't guess anyway!"
Moi: "Probably true..."
Miss Cee: "Well, we learned about the Al - a - elm--no, that's not it."
Miss Cee: "NO, John-Jo!! It's in Texas!! You're not listening! Mom, Johnny's not listening, but he's guessing anway!"
John: "I'm not-not allowed to guess...am I? I can guess, right Mom?!"
Miss Cee: "Mommy- we're holding up the line of cars--we're making them all wait."
Moi: "Why do you think that? Do you see any cars out of our back window?"
Miss Cee: "Well, no, but..."
Moi: "If there aren't any cars back there, we cant' be holding anyone up now, can we?"
John: "Ha-ha! Cecily, YOU don't even know what you're talking about!!"
Miss Cee: "WELL, John-Jo, YOU don't even know it's NOT Elmo, it's the Ala-ali-"
Moi: "The Alamo?"
Miss Cee: "Bingo, Mommy!"
John: "Oh, well, everyone knows THAT....sheeeesh...."
Miss Cee: "ANYway, we also got CARDS today!"
Moi: "What kind of cards?"
Miss Cee: "Well they would have been really cool cards except Mrs. G. forget them at home."
John: "OK, if there's no story, why are we talking about this?"
Miss Cee: "ANYway, we had red, yellow and green cards; I mean, we will have them."
Moi: "Hmmm, sounds like a traffic light...."
Miss Cee: "Yes! And you get a green card if you don't do any uh-oh's or yellow for a warning."
John: "What does RED mean?"
Miss Cee: *scowl* "Red? Oh that means at the end of the day you get an Uh-Oh Gram. But I don't get those."
Moi: "Really? How refreshing!"
John: *eyeballs orbiting wildly*
Moi: "So, you would not have gotten a red card today, is that right?"
Miss Cee: "Yes, I did not get a red card."
Miss Cee: "Mommy, are you listening? Because Mrs. G. forgot to bring them."
Moi: "Right. But if she HAD brought them, would you have gotten a red card?"
Miss Cee: *displaying a poor imitation of patience* "No, Mom--see--she--FORGOT--them--at--home---today."
Moi: [private musing- 'I'm just SURE there's a market for a coffee bar drive-thru that offers the option of distilled spirits...']
STOP NUMBER 2: Ben and Alina are now 'en vehicle'...
Alina: [matter-of-factly] "Mom, Cecily's shaking her bottom at us again."
Miss Cee: "I did NOT!"
Alina & John: "Yes, you DID!!"
Miss Cee: "NO! I shooked it facing the other way!!"
Alina: "She calls it her Boppin' Mode."
************ It's at times like these when that Auto-Pilot/Brain-Drain capacity comes in quite handy.**************