Thursday, July 18, 2013

"No Longer a Stranger"

Sunset at Big Sur
I'll be on the road today for 4 hours with people I have not yet met. Zimride matched me with a driver going to where I'm heading, in exchange for a reasonable fee agreed on in advance. In addition to my slightly lighter luggage (I had fun giving things away the last few weeks), I will be bringing along trust, patience, and gratitude for this rideshare. I'll let you know how the internet hitch-hiking pans out.

A very long drive later, and I'm happy to report that Zimride brought me to my desired location! I suggested to the driver (a mother with her 10 year old son) that we take the scenic route. She agreed without hesitation and off we went. To our unplanned surprise, it turned out to be a much longer trip then calculated. We marveled at the sunset in Big Sur, and then tried to comprehend the many hours of driving still ahead. I heard her son muttering from the back seat, "I don't think this was worth it."  I was in silent agreement, as I remembered quite suddenly about my tendency for car sickness. The motherly instincts of the driver, noticed my discomfort, and graciously offered me the driver's seat. This helped only somewhat. Luckily, conversation flowed easily. It felt amazing to meet people that I may otherwise never have know, and share an experience together. I noticed all of my preferences and aversions arise (radio stations, perfumed hanging trees, air-conditioning temps), and then found comfort in a remembered Lao Tzu quote, which I repeated in my mind; "The road is not difficult for those who have no preferences."
The boy later confessed that he had been nervous about hosting a stranger in the car, adding that I was "no longer a stranger." We had bonded over the discomfort of car sickness, counting artichoke stands, lengthy alphabet games, and more. Summer vacation with strangers had shown me, we really are all related.

1 comment:

Frederick Hill said...

Love big sur! Should have stayed a week!