Thursday, June 08, 2006

Is it July 4th yet?

I want my independence! Not being able to drive is driving me insane. These days, people often comment how great it must be to have a hired driver to and from work.
"You don't have to battle traffic!"
"You get to ride in style!"
"Do you make them play your music and ignore them for an hour?"

Well, let me tell you all that anyone who knows me should realize I am way too much of a control freak to enjoy being in someone else's car, going the route they want to take, sitting in their choice of climate control bliss. Yes, of course I can have them change all of this. After all, these guys are working for me and will listen to whatever crappy music I want, wind through the canyon roads I like, and damn well enjoy that fresh Los Angeles air rather than keep the AC cranked to 66F, anytime of day.

However, these drivers are in their cars all day, putting up with people who may even have a right to be snooty, who definitely feel superior to this person in charge of your timeliness and safety, and who don't hesitate to treat them like dirt. How do I know that? 'Cuz I'm the one who schedules my bosses to take this car service. So, I really feel like if it is hot outside, the guy in the black hat driving me should be comfortable and cool. That guy who has to sit in the driver's seat all day, except when gallantly opening my door should get to listen (or not listen) to whatever he chooses. When he chooses the freeway over a quicker moving route, well, if wants to sit in that crap that's his choice. I don't feel comfortable changing someone's entire environment to suit my whims when I am only there briefly.

I have started requesting the canyon roads though. It just makes sense for everyone. I get to where I'm going quicker, it's prettier, and the driver has more time to either relax or pick up another passenger, making more money. I did comment on one driver's very aggressive, dangerous and all out asshole move blazing through an "orange" light, cutting to the right of a grid-locked intersection and cutting back over. "Um, that was not cool!" His response, "well the intersection was full." Yeah, maybe that means to heed the red light and stay put for a minute.

Ok, and I did kindly offer another driver that if he usually listens to the radio, to please go ahead, I don't mind at all. He took the hint, turned on the radio, to smooth jazz. "Is that what you normally listen to?" "Yeah, sometimes." Yeah, sometimes when you think it is more professional to play that instead of the Latin disco you were bumping when I got in. Please, go back to that! I crave the edginess of rock, whatever culture it comes from. I'm not so sophisticated to want smooth jazz. Maybe traditional, big band jazz with some brass, some Satchmo or Miles Davis. Not smooth jazz which takes otherwise great songs, and substitutes a flute line for vocals, adds a sax and snare and calls it a day. Really, Carlos Santana got it right the first time with Oye Como Va. That's good stuff. A flute can not stand in for Santana and there is nothing smooth about a cow bell. I was actually thrilled to hear Terence Trent D'Arby's Sign Your Name, with vocals. It's got a great melody woven through those syncopated rhythms. One morning, Fillip sent me off in surprise when the tinted black surburban was thump-ing some sort of Persian House music. Please...keep it on!

Even the crazy extreme political talk show is welcome over the option of uncomfortable silence, or amateur psycho analysis coming from the driver's seat. No, I will not tell you on meeting you a) who I voted for in the Presidential election or b) if I am Catholic. Just because my still sleepy husband in his bathrobe doesn't greet you effusively, doesn't mean he needs to work on is interpersonal skills. Everyone has a story. I totally respect that. I'm just not that friendly. In the mornings I am used to my own isolated vehicle, with my own thoughtless radio shows droning on and on and on. They never request and answer from me.

I want to drive myself to the market, to the mall, to my friend's house, to the preschool, to a birthday party, to all the things that compose my busy life. I want the freedom to run out to the beauty supply store to replace my hair gel and avoid scaring small children with my freakishly big hair. (Picture me on rainy days, circa 1989 and you'll get the idea- not pretty.) I want to pick up Starbuck's if I feel like it. I want to compulsively change the radio station in that way symptomatic to a society of sound bites. I want to drive myself! Isn't that one of those inalienable rights?


Cari said...

I feel for you! Although I don't love to drive, I hate making small talk...and to have to do it every morning???? I'd have a book in hand as soon as I get in the car. It's what I do on airplanes and at hair salons.

mi said...

Unfortunately I get carsick when I read or do anything requiring me to focus while moving. I tried knitting thinking I could at least make productive use of my time, but didn't feel so well. There have been days when the driver asks if I am especially tired, meaning, "you aren't so friendly today." It's true, I'm not.