Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Chinese Fire Drill*

(Is the title PC?)
I backed the car out, loaded my stuff, and opened his door (passenger’s side) so he could hop in and we could drive away. He walked around the rear of the car, looked about, reached for the handle of the back door.

Me: Nope. Move forward a bit. The door is standing open.
He steps back and walks toward the trunk.
Me: Wait. Come on back along the side of the car. The door is open.

He walks along the side of the car and then around the open door, bumping into wet tree branches on the way. He crosses in front of the car and arrives at my (the driver’s side) door. He doesn’t know where to go.

I get out and walk him around to the open door.

*A Chinese Fire Drill is a pejorative expression usually referring to a prank, or perhaps an expression of high spirits, that was popular in the United States during the 1960s. It is performed when a car is stopped at a traffic light, at which point all of the car's occupants get out, run around the car, and return to the car (not necessarily their original seat). Chinese fire drills are sometimes executed when one needs to get something from the trunk of a car. Occasionally, if one of the participants is late to get inside the car, the others might drive off without him or her. Thus the expression "Chinese Fire Drill" is the act of a group of individuals accomplishing nothing. (


  1. I find it so sad that you feel the need to define Chinese Fire Drill:).

  2. This younger generation... what do they know:)

  3. Just let the record show that both of your born-in-the-late-70s daughters knew what you meant! Give us a tad more credit!!