Driver Dilemma

What do you do when the limo driver goes the wrong way?

It was his appearance that threw me off. The schlumpy look. I know drivers are underpaid, that they buy their suits at a discount, but suits they usually wear and they do not look like they were called away from band practice and it makes me feel…

Bad about myself. Because my wardrobe looks like I got it from Goodwill.

I didn’t used to be this way, my mother dressed me well. And then I went to Middlebury College in the middle of Vermont where there were no nice places to go and the rich dressed in chinos and worn-out Weejuns and if you wore nice clothes you were an outcast. Who you were inside was what counted, and if you bragged about your intelligence and achievements you were a pariah.

Oh, how the world has changed.

I’d like to say these scions of the wealthy won the game. But nobody I went to college with set the world on fire. Nobody is excoriated in the press for flaunting their wealth. And so here I am, with a bedraggled appearance and few assets, and I wonder if I played it wrong my whole damn life. And I wonder where the turning point was. Growing up in a female-dominated household? Skipping a grade? Having a renegade father who hewed to his own instincts but was never a member of the group? Or was it Middlebury College or was it all of it?

Speaking of my dad… He was all about breaking the rules. Kinda like today’s techies. Which is why he managed to take a mediocre profession and turn it into a gold mine. My dad was a real estate appraiser, normally a schlepper in a bad sport coat. But my dad fancied designer duds, and he was a legend in Connecticut, I heard an attorney general say they should have paid him a million dollars to go away, because he was so damn good at his job, getting money from the state in eminent domain cases.

But as much as my dad could rant and rave, he knew when to hold ’em and he knew when to fold ’em, his policy was to be nice to the service people. To utilize a charm offensive, until that failed and he had to bring out the big guns.

So the driver was going the wrong direction on the 5. Now one of the great things about being an adult is you’ve got direction home, you know where you live, you know how to get there, and in L.A. it’s not that complicated, until you hit the hills, but in the Valley…

Felice mentioned she’d never gone this way. Her mother said it’d been a long time since she’d been on this side of the hill. And the driver must have been a fan of Supertramp, he was gonna take the long way home.

Kinda like going from Philly to New York via Atlantic City, literally.

So, we said something, we got him to turn around.

And then he missed an exit. He went the wrong way on the 101.

What do you do?

Take over, tell him how to go.

But he was beholden to his GPS, you know the kind stuck to the windshield with a suction cup. It was descended divinely from Rand McNally and no human being could contradict it.

Until it said to make a wrong right blocks before Felice’s house. We heard the clicking of the turn signal. But we didn’t dare say anything, his temper had flared.

But not like it did when he passed Felice’s abode.

And I was flummoxed. Don’t we live in a service economy? Weren’t we paying, handsomely, shouldn’t he be beholden to us? And what were we asking for anyway, to go our own way? Fleetwood Mac let us, couldn’t he?

But it’s New Year’s Day and he probably doesn’t want to work but then he left Felice’s in the wrong direction and I implored him to turn off his GPS. I used the magic word, “please,” I did not lose my cool, I felt it was my job, to take control, I’m 62 years old, I’m an adult now, and it’s finally time to grow into my shoes.

At least I thought it was, I thought I was succeeding, until he blew his top again. Going to Ginny’s house. And after missing her building and having to make a U-turn upon our instruction and finally pulling into the parking area he lit into me.

Now let me tell you, I can lose my cool. I learned it from my dad. But I’ve had decades of psychotherapy, I can control my outbursts, if not my feelings, I can play to win. The driver accused me of yelling at him, which was untrue, and kept defending his mistakes. What to do?

Try to be nice. Ingratiate yourself. Express sympathy for having to work on a holiday.

And that’s when he got in my face and told me he was right and he wasn’t going to sacrifice his safety record no matter who I was and how rich I am.

Ain’t that a laugh.

But he was inches from me, and my instinct was to light into him, but I thought he’d hit me, because when people get wound up there’s no telling what they’ll do, the law be damned.

And that’s when it hit me, was I a wimp? Had it hobbled me my whole life? Had I been letting things slide in the name of getting along to my detriment? Because the big swinging dicks don’t tolerate no nonsense, I’ve seen them in action, they’re ranting and raving and having it their way and they own the damn Burger King, even though they never eat there.

Do the bullies succeed? Is craziness tolerated? Look at Trump, the press gives him a pass because he sells advertising and the public supports him because he’s a billionaire, even though he’s a flash in the pan who will be forgotten in months, at least when it comes to the Presidential election. But everything’s momentary in our society, it’s a pinball machine of b.s. Everything’s trumped up and if you’re not fighting for your piece you don’t get none.

And so many get none. They were taught to obey the rules and look what it got them.

And those who took matters into their own hands…

And then he said he knew I was going to report him. Actually, I was gonna let it go, but Felice thought the driver was a psycho. I’m afraid he’s gonna lose his job.

And then Ginny comes back from her building to argue the directions. A nonagenarian versus a punk. And he doubled-down. Why should he do otherwise? That’s what all the rich and famous do, maybe he learned it from Bill O’Reilly.

Ginny asked me if I wanted to call Uber.

I figured I was invested this much, I was not that far from home.

So I sat in the back, meek, like a second-grader, even though he was supposed to be serving me. He took the wrong exit, went the wrong way, does it have to be his way?

But I didn’t say a word, because I was afraid. Because I felt it was too small an event, I’d be better off just letting it slide.

But now I’m thinking I let too much slide, in the desire of getting along, I didn’t fight for the big piece of chicken, I let others go first.

And now where are they and where am I?

I’m not saying I want a do-over, but if I had one I’d do things differently, because the truth is it’s every man for himself and if you’re not getting ahead you’re being left behind, and the warfare is between us while the rich get a pass, laughing as they live a lifestyle we can’t even dream about because we haven’t been exposed to it.

So I’m saying to myself I’m home, I should forget about it.

But is that what I’ve done my whole damn life?

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