***Disclaimer: when the Wayward Daughter was 20, she was a lot more tender-hearted. The events in this blog with today’s Wayward Daughter would have never happened because…I don’t give broke people rides.
When I was about 20, I had a friend. I had a car. She didn’t. One day, she asked me to take her to the grocery store. “Sure!” I was an enthusiastic 20yo who hadn’t figured out that most people are annoying and should be avoided at all costs. I didn’t mind taking her to the store because being 20, away at college, and having my own car was the bomb dot com. Plus, at 20, I was too stupid to know that driving sucks and the quicker you can get home and stay there, the better.
We set off to the store. Once she got what she needed, she got back in the car and asked if I minded a “quick stop” to her cousin’s house to pick up “something.” The cousin just lived about “5 minutes away.” No prob, Bob! Off we went to the cousin’s house. My friend was the GPS. Next thing I know, we were getting on the highway. Um…that ain’t 5 minutes away.
Finally, we arrive at her cousin’s house where she goes inside while I sit outside the house waiting for her to retrieve her “something” and come back out. Well, 20 minutes later, she re-emerged…with the cousin in tow. Apparently, he needed to “run up to 7-11 real quick” for some soda or something and wanted to know if I minded taking him. “Um, yeah,” I said through my teeth. The cousin was a little…street…so I decided it was best to play it cool. Take him to run his quick errand, drop him back off, and get the fuck out of there.
We get to the 7-11 where, apparently, the cousin knows every single person who works there, hangs out outside of there, used to work there, and thinks it his duty to greet and chat with them all. A quick “run up” turned into a good 45 minutes because, “no, you can’t smoke in my car” and if that’s the case, “Imma’ smoke one out here real quick before we leave.”
Finally, we make it back to the cousin’s house where his two friends are waiting on him. He gets out, I start up the engine (remember, I was 20 and knew not the wiles of hood living; otherwise, I’d never have shut off the engine and given myself whiplash booking the fuck out of there as soon as his 2nd shoe hit the ground; I could count on physics to shut the door) as he was walking up the walkway. I put the car in gear just as my friend yells, “Hold on! He’s asking me something.” Yeah…he was asking her for another favor. He was asking the person who did not own and was not driving the car for another favor.
This time, it was a trip to WalMart to get something for his mama. His friends start walking towards the car because apparently, their mamas needed shit too. They all hop in my backseat. I have to repeat my “no smoking” warning and one of the little pissants decides that just rolling down the window and propping his cigarette-holding arm on the door is the same as “no smoking.”
By this time, I was fuming on the inside. Maybe an hour later, we get back to the cousin’s house where I stopped him mid-sentence while trying to ask me to cart him and his friends to a party further across town. Absolutely not! It was dark. I didn’t go to college in my hometown; not even my home state. This nonsense had begun at around 3pm that day and we were bordering on 7pm. I was pissed, tired, and HANGRY!!!
I sped back to the campus, dropped my friend off, went to my dorm and never spoke to her again.
By the way, I received no gas money for any of these “errands” I helped people complete.
All that because I was being nice and taking my friend to the store.
From that day on, I decided that I would never again give broke people rides. You see, we know a few things to be true:
- Broke people are broke. If you aren’t broke or less broke, you probably have more than they do; or at the least, you likely have something they need.
- Broke people know how to survive.
- Survivors survive by using (operative word) anything at their disposal to get what they need and they don’t really give a damn if they have to go rogue, or in this case, rabidly impolite and shameless to get it.
See, my friend had needed to go get “something” from her cousin’s house probably all week. I’m sure her cousin and his friends could have been gone to WalMart for their mamas if there was a true need. But, nobody had a car. By virtue of me being a car owner, I was a target from jump. Could the cousin have walked to the 7-11? Of course. I’m sure he had many times before. I’m sure that they’d all taken the bus to WalMart and wherever else they had to go hundreds of times. But when the opportunity arose to more easily get their needs met, they took advantage (operative phrase) of it.
They didn’t care that I may have had other shit to do (I didn’t). They didn’t care that I may think them classless individuals who needed to take a course in etiquette (I did…and still do). They didn’t care if the gas they used up was the last gas I had for another week (it wasn’t). All they cared about was themselves. I wasn’t a person. I was a device for them to use for as long as they could.
And there it is. My rule against giving broke people rides has nothing to do with elitism or classism. It has nothing to do with thinking I’m better or above anyone. It’s about the fact that we all need to practice rogue self-preservation like the 5 individuals I was unfortunate to encounter that day.
Since that day, I have been very selective of to whom I give a ride – in the name of self-preservation, of course.
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