311. That’s how many “trips with strangers” we have taken so far. That’s a lot. Any hope I had of this just being a casual hobby has officially been dashed. Apparently “child support” causes people to go to great lengths to make extra money. In this case the great lengths being driving people around until 2:30 in the freaking morning!
So one of the many observations I have had the unique opportunity of taking lately has to do with all of the questions the passengers ask. The first few weeks it seemed like he embraced these questions with enthusiasm but lately I can tell they are weighing heavily. Even though most passengers cannot pick up on the subtleties, I can tell when he is annoyed by a question or is tired of telling the same story all night long. He does his best to be gracious but the party line never seems to shut down the barrage that peppers him as he speeds down the highway.
“How long have you lived in Nashville?” always leads to, “So where did you move from?” So my esteemed driver is constantly faced with a dilemma. Either he lies and says Alabama (which is not technically lying, it just skips 7 years) or he tells a story that almost every single passenger is shocked to hear. I can see the apprehension on his face and his knuckles turn white from gripping the steering wheel. He lets out a ever so tiny sigh right before, “South Korea.” If he does the latter (which almost always happens actually) questions fly at him so quickly he barely has time to answer one before the other one is hurled his way. It’s like a conversational game of dodge ball. Well so I’ve heard, I mean I am an automobile so I have clearly never watched a game of dodge ball – that would be absurd.
Roughly 300 passengers: “Oh wow! South Korea! What in the world were you doing there? Oh wait let me guess – Military?” – *Thinking their guess is a good one judging by the buzzed hair I suppose. (Either that or pretty much all the people they know that have lived in Asia have been a part of the military)
Driving Partner: “No, teaching actually.” – *Thinks: Not every single American is deployed to Asia, some actually go there on their own to do other things.
Passenger(s): “Oh I see. Teaching English, that’s cool man.” – *They figured that one out easy enough.
DP: “No I didn’t teach English. I’m a social studies teacher. I taught at an international high school.” Brace for impact – massive dose of stupidity coming your way!
Passenger(s) *after about 10 seconds of dumbfounded silence…”Oh. Uhhh but you were teaching English too, right?”
DP: No dumbass, I just said I was teaching social studies – how many people do you know that teach Social Studies AND English at the high school level? “So I didn’t teach at a local school if that is what you were thinking. I taught at an English speaking school full of English speaking students. These students were from all over the world but they were fluent in English.” Please for the love of God understand what I am freaking saying to you. The next dumb question is costing you a star in your passenger rating.
Passenger(s): “Oh cool!” – *still a little confused, gathering by their facial expressions.
<DP nervously shifts in his seat praying to God that the barrage is over.>
Over half of the 311: “So what brought you back to the U.S.?”
Here we go…
Until next time,