Tag Archives: car

A Car And A Cute Old Man

9 Dec

Today, I met a cute old man. He was not by default cute because he was old. I have met a lot of old men, and many, many of them are not cute. A lot of them are crotchety fuckers.

But this old man, he was cute. He barely had any hair left, just a brush of white and wiry remnants as his eyebrows, and a U around his head. His skin has the yellow tinge of an elderly Philippino. He could have been stern, if his mouth puckered more. But it didn’t. He was not stern. He was not intimidating. He was like a really old uncle, maybe a grandfather. Something non-threatening. The sort of old relative that would call you dear and not mean it demeaningly.

Oh, I met him because he was my Lyft driver.

So I got into the car, and we made chit chat as is opening procedure for taking a Lyft. I asked how long he’d been driving, he told me he’d been up since 6 am. I commented on how early that was, and he mentions, nonchalant, that he’s hoping to make enough fare to head home early and take his wife out to a nice dinner.

Okay, this dude is like seventy. That’s already frickin’ adorable.

So I try not to making squeeing noises out loud and merely respond how that’s sweet. I ask how long he’s been married. He answers – 44 years.

Holy. fuck.

I ask how they met. He tells me that they both worked in the same government agency, back in the Philippines. “We met in the office and… that’s how it all got started.” His voice winked, even if he did not.

He launches into his whole story. He tells me how he and his wife, they worked at this agency for 25 years, but before they retired, his wife wanted to pursue her real profession for a while. They moved to Chicago and “were trapped there in the snow” for twenty years, so she could be a chemist.

Finally retiring, they moved to Florida. He tells me how, having saved up a fair amount, they gave their remaining assets in the Philippines to their daughter, which he pronounces further endearingly as duo-ter. But… he stumbles over himself, for a few seconds. He’d started to explain how he has a daughter, but… the stumbling and backpedalling came to a stop, and he tells me, “I had a son, but I lost him when he was nineteen.”

I don’t want to ask what lost means.

My driver, he pushes on and tells me about his duo-ter, now 44 (my innuendo-center starts cheering internally and wink-wink-nudge-nudging the man), lives in Okinawa with her eight-year-old son. She’s serving as a pediatrician in the air force – they paid for her school, she works for them the same amount of years. She’s got two left.

My mind immediately starts praying that Okinawa stays quiet for the next two years.

The old man’s talk meanders back to him and his wife. He tells me how they tired of Florida’s weather, so they moved to Los Vegas instead. It was cheaper there, anyway. They rented a three-bedroom house for just $700 a month. My roommates and I are renting a three-bedroom apartment for more than that.

But… the old man, his voice becomes closed and quiet, “Los Vegas was my downfall. I had never gambled before in my life. But I got myself stuck at the slot machines. I lost all our savings. I… I squandered everything.”

I can hear the shame in his voice. I would not have been surprised if he’d started to cry.

“But I told my wife,” he goes on, “I told my wife, it’s not too late, I can earn it back. Well, not all of it, but some, enough…” He spends several more minutes reciting a litany of “I did a bad thing” and “I needed to make it better” and “I was contrite, so I could do it.”

They moved out to Santa Clarita. He started driving for Lyft. That is why he is a driver, to try one car ride at a time to rebuild the life he intended for his wife – and himself – to have. To make good on his statement that he is contrite. He tells me how sorry he is for what he did, how grateful he is that his wife is with them. “I think she still loves me,” he said in a small voice. “I love her very much.”

We reach my street, and as we pull up to my curb, he turns to me and with a somehow beaming face tells me enthusiastically, “I hope all your ventures are successful!”

I tell him that I hope he has a nice dinner with his wife.

The Golden Rule

12 Sep

I wish I had not learned the Golden Rule so well. Then I would not let fuckers like you be so blatantly rude to me while I turn the other cheek, look the other way so that you might laugh in the other side of my face too.

I would not let you get away so easily with your attack on my sense of contentment with my value as a person. I would make you atone for your attrition – or else do it for you. I would pull a gun on you, as you sit there in your drop-ass car with your backwards hat, jeering at me through your rear view mirror like the fucking scum you are. Who fucking raised you that way? Who fucking let you become what you are? People like you, people who go out of their goddamn way to make somebody else’s day worse, to flaunt their privilege just to get in other’s way, to fucking get off on causing another’s misfortune – people like you, they don’t deserve to pollute the population on this earth. I would shoot you, if I had not learned the Golden Rule so well. I would be someone who carried a gun in the first place.

Sure, I might not have been there for you to inconvenience in the first place. But at least I would not have been the only one to carry that risk.

If I had not learned the Golden Rule so well, I would not have walked through my front door minutes ago crying, because once again, I let another person, another man do what he wanted to me while I sat there, silent. I would not be sitting here on my bed typing this in my bra and underwear, because I must be naked to allow myself this much raw and quivering rage. This is my rant. This is my anger. This is me.

But you, man with the backwards hat in that car on the road, you will never know this.

Keep calm, carry on. Seek justice, but only for those others, and never for yourself. This is the way that peacetime works.

Let the man push you. Let him threaten you. Let him prevent you from leaving. Don’t kick his car door in. Don’t fling the car door out, sucker punch him to the gut. Don’t pick up your bike and walk in front of the goddamn prick. Don’t show him any resistance.

Keep calm. Stay quiet. It’ll pass. Then you can leave.

But there’s no justice in that.

I wish I had not learned the Golden Rule so goddamn well.