She: (cheerfully) Don’t forget, we’re going to Girsh Park today.
Z: Cheerfully? Seriously? You’ve already biased all three of our readers by painting yourself as the cheery one and me as grumpy. How is that fair?
She: (cheerfully ignoring childish outburst) Don’t forget, we’re going to Girsh Park today.
Z: (petulantly) Petulant? Now you’re starting my lines for me, and with petulant? I’m not going to play along, if you insist on being the cheerful one while I have to be the petulant one.
She: (patience of a saint) Don’t forget, we’re going to Girsh Park today.
Z: OK, fine, I’ll play along. Yes, I know we’re going to Girsh Park today. How could I forget? We go there every weekend along with seventy-thousand other soccer parents.
She: You just missed the freeway exit.
Z: Oops. Yeah, well, that’s your fault for talking to me. You know I sometimes miss freeway exits when you talk to me.
She: Sorry. I know how hard it must be for you to do more than one thing at a time.
Z: Oh, please. Multitasking is just a fancy word for ADHD. I could do a bunch of things poorly, or one thing at a time brilliantly.
She: And that one thing would be …?
Z: Not missing freeway exits.
She: Here’s what I don’t understand. You miss freeway exits sometimes, but you get mad at me when I remind you of where we’re going, or when I tell you where to turn.
Z: Are you driving?
She: Do you want me to be driving?
Z: If you’re not driving, then you don’t get to tell the driver where to go or how to drive. This is a simple, primal rule of driving. This is so basic a rule of driving, that I’m pretty sure it even trumps the don’t-run-over-people thing.
She: I have no illusions about my driving skills, but just because I’m a certifiably bad driver doesn’t mean I can’t be a good coach.
Z: Follow my logic. Your father taught you how to drive. The man who taps his brakes on a completely empty freeway, he’s the one who taught you how to use the accelerator like an old woman at a loom, pumping up and down as though that’s how the car is powered. This is good coaching? This is who I should be listening to?
She: At least I’m not as bad as my mom, “GPS Joan,” who would have given you the heads up about Girsh Park hours in advance, like maybe before you took your shower this morning.
Z: I’m guessing that stems from years of experience in getting lost. Now that your dad actually has a GPS, he almost always makes it home.
She: But what if I can clearly see that you’re going to space out and miss the freeway exit?
Z: Then we miss a freeway exit. Maybe we’ll learn that the next exit was actually a better or more picturesque exit. Maybe the Publisher’s Clearing House Prize Patrol has broken down at the next exit, and we can help them, and they can give us $10 million.
She: You’re claiming this is why you miss exits?
Z: We have to have some kind of retirement plan.
She: What if a big SUV was swerving right toward us and I was only 97 percent sure that you saw it?
Z: I think you generally communicate that quite well by slamming on a fake brake, death-gripping the arm rests and gasping loudly.
She: I can’t fight my instincts. It’s all that great driver’s training I had.
Z: Sometimes I wonder if it’s all just an act on your part, to make sure that you always have a chauffeur. That would be brilliant; almost as brilliant as someone who has the uncanny ability to focus on only one thing at a time.
She: You just missed the exit again.
Z: Stop talking to me!
She: (cheerfully) Yes, dear.
Don’t try to follow Zak and Leslie anywhere, unless you don’t mind getting lost. However, you can e-mail them at email@example.com.