Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Driving Miss Daisy? I'm not driving that bitch anywhere unless she asks nicely.

I have always had a car. When I turned 16, I used my parents' cars - my father conveniently was gone most of the time, so there was always a car for my use. And I am a pretty good driver - despite what you may have heard. Plus, I always drive nice cars. Safe cars. Better cars than I can really afford to be driving, to be honest.....but it's worth it to me, to have reliable transportation. Cars where everything is in working order and is preferably covered by some sort of warranty - I have AAA for chrissake. I take the whole car ownership/driving thing very seriously, and I love to drive. That's not just the control freak in me (though I am sure she has something to do with it) - I genuinely enjoy it.

As a result, since I was of legal driving age and maybe even a bit before then, I have been driving other people around. When you first get your license in high school, lots of your friends haven't gotten theirs yet, so you are the only option - you gotta drive everyone, or no one goes anywhere without their mom. And that is how it begins: you start by driving your friends because they aren't old enough. Then you are driving friends because they don't have a car of their own, or they have to share it with a sibling. Or because your car is nicer. Or bigger. Or has gas in it at the moment. Or because you are the only person sober enough to drive. Your car is an extension of you - and never more so than in high school. Especially in the suburbs with no public transportation.

And then you are an adult, and there is more of an even playing field.
Some people, even as adults, do not have cars. Or drivers licenses. Or money for gas. Or insurance. Or a passenger's seat. Or their car is a broken down piece of shit. Or maybe they just hit a tree/cow/pedestrian/Ford F-350 (hey, it happens).

And so you have to drive. And that's OK. It is. Like I said, I love to drive. And I love to have company when I drive. And I don't even mind being the designated driver. I don't care about mileage, or gas money, or wear and tear on my car. You want to smoke? Go right ahead (as long as the kids aren't around, of course.) You want to drink a beer? Road sodas are A-OK.


I don't like it when people just expect me to drive them places day after day, time after time. There is a small, isolated group of folks that not only need a ride to get anywhere, but expect one. They don't ask. They just assume you will drive them. They may even demand it. Perhaps make a fuss if you are not able to. Or behave as though you have just failed them by not giving them a lift. They may say things like "I'll just catch a ride as far as you are going."

There is no gas money. There is no reciprocation. In fact, even if they DID offer you a ride when you needed one, you sure as hell wouldn't want them driving you anywhere. Nor would you want to ride in their piece of shit with a seat back that is propped up by a 2x4 and a window made up of a black plastic trash bag, with your feet in a puddle of indeterminate origin and WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT SMELL?

And here is what I have to say about people Like That:

Get a fucking job and buy a decent car. It doesn't have to be pretty, but it's gotta be reliable unless you have the option of walking to work or taking public transportation (And if I could I would. Well, maybe not - I do love my car. But maybe.......) I work my ass off to pay for a car and a house and I make it a priority to have those things. If you don't want to make those your priority that is cool - but that means you should expect to be doing a lot of walking.

Here's another thing I have to say about it:

If you need a ride, you should ALWAYS ASK NICELY AND OFFER GAS MONEY. And by "ask nicely" I don't mean ask someone where they are going, or when, and then assume they are willing and/or able to give you a ride. Maybe they don't WANT to give you a ride. Maybe they are sick of driving you places. Maybe you smell awful. Maybe they don't want to be an enabler. Maybe they don't want to listen to your drunken ramblings for 20 minutes. Maybe they just want to go straight home and climb into bed, or smoke a cigarette in peace and quiet while they drive. Maybe they need to make a private phone call. Maybe they need to stop for groceries.

Maybe they're just not in the mood.

Maybe it's not their fucking job to drive you places.

So if you are the driver, or the driven, take note. No one has to drive anyone anywhere. No one should take it for granted. And no one should feel obligated.

And no one should be afraid to put one foot in front of the other and get their on their own steam - physically or metaphorically. You are steering your life. Take the wheel and drive.

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