Never join a carpool. I know what you’re thinking: “But carpools save you money on gas and mitigate the wear and tear on your own car”. This is true. However, never join a carpool. As you read this from your cubicle, think about how you got to work today. Did you listen to music? Enjoy the silence? Plan your day in your head? Whatever the answer is, you wouldn’t be able to enjoy any of it if you were in a carpool. Below are examples of nonsense that I’ve personally experienced that will keep me from ever joining a carpool again.
1. Dead Weight
The most confusing person in a carpool is…the person who can’t drive! How did they get here? I once worked at a job where someone asked for a ride so often from a group of people that they ended up being a permanent member of the carpool. The first rule of a carpool should be: you must have a car! After getting away with this for a few weeks, the person was asked to contribute to gas and had the nerve to have an attitude about it. Do yourself a favor…if you find yourself stuck with an ungrateful leech in your carpool, leave them one morning without warning. Let them figure out their own way to work. Either they’ll leave for good or fork over the cash. Win-win.
2. Five O’clock Frowner
It’s 5 o’clock. I’m done. I’ve logged out of my computer and I’m ready to get home and unwind. I don’t mind a light, entertaining conversation on the drive home, but there’s always that one person who can’t seem to leave work at the office. They’re still pissed off at their coworker who didn’t say “thank you” at the end of an email, and they’re ready to complain all the way home. Even if you steer the conversation to music or movies, Debbie Downer will find a way to bring it back to his/her insignificant problem. Some days I wanted to tuck and roll out on the highway just for some peace!
3. Morning Moaner
Debbie Downer strikes again. The only thing worse than complaining all the way home is complaining all the way to work. I mean, it’s only 8am! What happened that ruined your day already? “DD” can find a way to complain about anything: he/she ran out of orange juice, the shower got too hot, the alarm clock was too loud, blah blah blah. And if all else fails, they just continue the complaints from the ride home the night before. In an earlier post, I mentioned what a God-send headphones can be in the office. Make sure you have a pair on you at all times in case of emergency.
4. Radio Reign
Usually in a carpool, the rule is: the driver controls the radio. Which is fair. If it’s your turn to drive, you should be able to listen to whatever music helps pump you up or calm you down. However, some people have been known to abuse this power. Even though it’s your choice, you can still be considerate. If we’re all talking about what we’re planning to do on our next vacations, or laughing about what happened on Black-ish last night, it’s a little awkward if you start playing “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan. Especially if you’re singing along…loudly…and off-key. Again, I completely agree with the rule that if it’s your car, it’s your music. But have a little consideration for those of us who don’t want to arrive to work in tears after hearing you belt out “may you fiiiiiind some comfort here”.
5. Lead-foot vs. Slowpoke
One thing you’ll learn is that not everyone has the same common sense on the road as you do. I have, on more than one occasion, found myself with sore toes after gripping them to prevent my knees from slamming into the glove compartment from the driver braking too hard. Or from slamming my foot down on phantom brakes in the passenger seat because the driver likes to ride way too close to the car in front of them. I’ve also had the opposite problem. I’ve ridden with nervous drivers who wait fifteen years to merge because they can see a car coming ten blocks away. If you see little old ladies with walkers lapping you, you may want to consider public transportation.
6. Pit Stop Pain
There’s always one. You can never go straight home because someone always has to make a “quick stop”. I don’t usually mind swinging by the ATM for you, but sometimes people do way too much. If someone asks you to stop by the grocery store so they can pick up one quick item…let me tell you now: it’s a trap. I don’t want to let you run out to grab some milk and end up waiting an hour because you were clipping coupons and planning out your meal for the week. My rule now is: if the place where you want to make a “quick stop” doesn’t have a drive-thru, you’re out of luck. And I shouldn’t have to say this, but I’ll throw it in for free…If someone asks you to “swing by” Target…it’s a setup! Run! There is no such thing as “swinging by” or making a “quick stop” at Target. It’s a myth.
So there you have it. Reasons why I prefer to drive myself into work, listening to my ‘90s R&B playlist with curlers in my hair, with no one judging or annoying me. What are some of YOUR carpool horror stories? Drop a comment below.
– R. Alexandria