Driving Down MacArthur Blvd. Full of Pride.

He arrived on time. At the end of a 14-hour day. I’m bushed.

This day, which was preceded by five hours sleep on an alien mattress, which was preceded by a late night dinner, which included one oversized slice of home made peach pie (à la mode of course), and this was chased with a s’more. Yes, a S’more, you read right. With a home made golden graham cracker at its base, topped with a thin slice of Swiss chocolate, and a giant, home made marshmallow, with the waiter cautiously holding the blow torch as the sugar crackled and blackened into a light char.  Three bites, and it disappeared. A sugar addict with his fix, floating lightly above the table, abstaining from my dinner guests’ chatter, floating higher, higher, up and up in his delirium.

I slide into the back seat.

“How was your day Sir?”

I’m not in the mood for banter. Please, please, get me to the hotel. A long hot shower. Room service (sans S’mores). And early to bed.

“Great, thank you.” A.K. Benjamin’s passages dripping in and out of consciousness: “Studies have shown that your generation, our generation, lies on average two or three times every ten minutes, men to make themselves look better, women to feel good.” And he’s right.

I did not counter to ask him about his day. A direct signal that this door was not open for chatter.

“Would you like a bottle of water?”

“No, but thank you for asking.”

I pull out my smartphone, drop my head, emitting another direct signal of non-engagement. I glance up and see his eyes in the rear view mirror.  Tension rises in the cabin. He picks up on the body language: This guy is shut down.

He has a teddy bear on the console. Rainbow colored.  Odd.

On the passenger side vents, 2 large paper clips attached to the flaps.  A pink duck. And a picachoo looking thing. A wee bit odd.

There is a string of tiny, multicolored beads dangling from the rear view mirror. They swing to and fro as he turns the car left at the light. The car in front of him stops suddenly, he breaks hard and we both swing forward.

“I’m sorry, Sir. Are you O.K.?”

He offers a smile that’s a bit too wide, someone that’s trying a bit too hard. A. K. Benjamin is back: “countless micro-expressions that register everything; more liminal than a blood test, less decisive than a lumbar puncture, but meaningful all the same.” I’m making him uncomfortable.

A black ring on the ring finger on each hand. The left band looped with micro diamonds. My eyes pan right.  Four large silver chains on his right wrist, topped with a rainbow colored bracelet stenciled with P-R-I-D-E. Ah, yes. Got it now.

He catches me again in my surveillance, and tension escalates in the silence. How many episodes in his life has he faced a non-friendly, in the back seat, in high school, on social media, ugly taunts….

I set my smartphone in my bag, and lift my head.

“Not a lot of traffic this evening.”

“No Sir. We just missed rush hour.”

“Do you like driving for Uber?”

“Yes, Sir. I do.”

“Well, you certainly know your way around Dallas.”

“Thank you Sir.”

The tension lifts from the cabin. A few words, peace offerings. His shoulders seem to soften.

I check his profile, 4 years with Uber. 4.73 rating.  Bit low for a clean car, friendly driver, who knows his way around Dallas.

I punch in a 5-star rating. Offer a 25% tip. Look back at him as he pulls away. And Benjamin flies back yet again: Look at you: You are no accident.


Photo Credit

Comments

  1. Sometimes you just don’t feel like chatting. Sometimes you should anyway. Well played.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Your writing always pulls me in–I’m hurting for this guy…who wants a job where he “can be with people”…now I’m ready to cry! Love it that you turned your sugar sotted corner, and could now share this with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post, David. From abstaining from the dinner chatter to chatting with the Uber driver, I felt I was with you the whole way.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You were a bit slow to pick up all the signs, David! I knew it right from the word GO. But you made up for it afterwards….. So, thank you for treating another human in a human way.
    Great article! Great quotes. Great Dave.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Anonymous says:

    Loved your post! Amazing how much we learn & give, simply by chatting when we’re not in the mood & driving to our destination,

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hard to make an effort sometimes, but then when you do, you feel better and so does the recipient. Well done.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. ❤️💚💛💙💜

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Sometimes one feels like Sisyphus with that damn boulder, engaging in a conversation that ya just really don’t feel like having. But you listened to your gut and followed your heart and in a brief encounter, showed another soul a kindness. Love this, DK.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. No matter where we work, who we are, where we live in the world; who doesn’t want to be validated, loved or acknowledged? A perfect example of how little it takes to help someone feel this. A sweet story DK 🍥🎂🍰

    Liked by 3 people

  10. it’s all about connection and seeing outside of ourselves

    Liked by 1 person

  11. These are my favorite posts of yours David. I love this one. The ones where you are flying, driving, walking, and its the all business Dave until he makes that shift. Truthfully, it amazes me how long it takes you sometimes to make that shift. I recognize it, because I do the same thing. It just doesn’t usually take me as long.
    But then, I’m not nearly as busy as you are.
    http://srevestories.blogspot.com/2019/06/pay-attention.html

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I don’t care how much you try to hide it. You, David Kanigan, are a wonderful, smart, empathetic human being.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Well played. I am very familiar with the paradox of wanting to be left alone and the apparent need of another to connect. In my next life, I will go to the massage planet where I can just lie there and get worked over without having to feel obligated to respond in kind. But until then … 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Funny how a few kind thoughts can turn your night around….

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Christie says:

    Loved the post…and the way you expose your human-ness…Perhaps you might request him as a driver another time? We all learn from each other…you could write a book on your experiences with your Uber drivers…I love your out and about offerings…///So tell me sugar man did you forget to mention the choc. molten lava cake? to the dessert list…guess my email started the sugar rush…

    Liked by 1 person

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