December 23, 2012

I Need A Ride

Lissandra Melo / Shutterstock.com
Lissandra Melo / Shutterstock.com

I need a ride. I don’t have a license or a car, you see, and that constantly puts me in the position of “needing a ride.” I am like your child. Yes, if you have signed on to be my friend you will henceforth only be able to hang out with me, chill, or go to social gatherings if you come to my house and pick me up. I will make it easier for you, though. Sometimes I will get my real parents to drive me to the location at which you are. Sometimes they will take me half way. Sometimes I will give you gas money. Sometimes I will say I will give you gas money and then I “forget.” I am not a bad person. Right?

This not having a car thing would not be a problem if I lived in a bustling metropolis like NYC. But alas, I live in the slowly dying countryside of rural PA. Don’t worry, you haven’t heard of it. There is no public transportation; the mere idea of having a bus system come here is laughable, ha ha ha. No. You must drive. Or you must walk, which is actually impossible, but I sometimes will do to go to the general store three miles from my house to rent a movie (I am not pathetic). Otherwise, you must come pick me up. It’s not easy for me either. The crippling social anxiety and diminishment of self-worth runs through me as I pace around deciding whether or not to pick up the phone and call you.

I am at work and I need a ride home. My parents have decided to abandon me by doing things like “going to work” and cannot come get me. I Facebook message my friend, though he is not online, in the hopes that he will see it by 5 p.m. I could call him, I know his number (without having to look at my cell phone, shocking I know) but modern-day socialization has taught me that calling someone will be the death of you. The thought is chilling. Looking at my office desk phone makes me break out in a cold sweat. I think I’ll just wait for him to respond.

All is not lost, however. I am no longer an embarrassing mush of a person: I got my license. I am 22, it is two days after Hurricane Sandy, and after five professional driving lessons, I pass my test. I am elated. My friends are even more elated. Stupidly, I announce my “impressive” accomplishment on Facebook. If you have been relying on your friends for rides for the past six years, do not do this. It will be met with comments like “Come pick me up at my house” or “yeah right” or “the streets just got a little less safe.” This will make you feel bad as a person. It will also make you realize your friends are not the completely selfless people you thought they were. They need repayment. They were not giving you rides out of the goodness of their deeply loving hearts. No, no. You will realize that no one is selfless, probably. Is there anyone, including yourself, that does favors for someone without expecting some tiny bit of compensation?

Anyways, I have my license now. Yay! But, no car. My dad has taken it upon himself to find me a car. I try to convey the urgency in this task. The week before my driver test I say, “Dad, I am going to pass this test. And when I do, I want a car waiting for me.” (And just to emphasize that I’m not spoiled, I’m paying for the car.) It’s been over a month since I passed the test. My dad thinks he has some kind of psychic power in finding a car, not unlike a ghost whisperer. “It takes time,” he says.

My dad tells me he cannot pick me up from work today because he is going to the city. I get to work and call my boyfriend to solicit a ride. He says yes. I think, what if I didn’t have a boyfriend? Who would I call? No name comes to mind. This scares me. I never want to rely on one person, even if that person is really cute.

Sometimes I forget that I have my license. Having a car seems like a far-off prospect. That car is a tease. I fantasize about doing crazy things like driving myself to work, and having more options as to where I buy lunch instead of just those eateries within walking distance.

When I get my car I will give rides to all of my friends, I will be their personal chauffeur. I will roam the streets picking up any passerby, like a benevolent child molester, except in something chic like a Volvo and not a giant white van. I will actually have candy inside my van (car). I will have totally awesome mix CDs that the passenger can choose from. I will always be the designated driver, and I will actually be a real one and not drink. I will even take you to the airport. I will overflow with goodness. I will take pictures of my car and pictures of me driving my car (though they will be posed because actually doing so is not safe) and post them on Facebook. They will get “likes.” So many “likes.”

Until then, can you pick me up? TC Mark

Isabel Braverman

Isabel is the Editorial Assistant at the newspaper The River Reporter. She lives in a small town in Pennsylvania, but …