I was actually excited about this “date” (thanks, Tinder…) but sitting in the passenger side of this stranger’s car, listening to the Deftones, has me totally unenthused. Maybe this person’s lack of simple manners stems from the fact they went to Rush-Henrietta and don’t trim their beard enough. Beards are fine, but there’s a limit. I haven’t made eye contact with him once, nor has he tried to make eye contact with me. He inhales his cigarette really sharply and exaggerated and I expect him to say something each time. He’s boring. Or maybe I’m boring.
Sitting in the passenger seat, I know why men die younger: because they drive like lunatics. I keep thinking, I don’t want my parents to see my mangled corpse in the wreckage of this strange man’s car. On sharp turns it takes all of my muscles working together to keep myself in the seat. He changed the music and turned it up even louder. As if I’m not deaf enough as it is.
His lack of manners come even more into play when we reach the reservation. He doesn’t wait for me to get my cartons, or wait for me to pay, or even wait to head back to his shit-mobile. Again, no eye contact. On the drive back he plays some terrible punk-metal-teen-angst-sounding band that I hate. Commercials via Spotify keep coming on, either advertising beer or sex or both. I watch the sphere of the sun in the reflection of the window. It’s silent. My mind wanders.
I think about how getting an 8.5 out of 10 on a poem isn’t good enough. I think about how I need to participate in my classes more, and that project that’s coming up that I need to email my professor about. And that paper on Orlando which I really need to start writing. I think about the possibility of being raped, and I think about how I’ve never thought of that before. I think about how I need to buy booze but I have so little money and I really hope my paycheck is decent this week but I know it will be mere pennies. I think about how dry my mouth is and how cold the inside of the car is.
I have nothing to ask this person.
There’s not even a handshake on parting, which would have been weirdly formal but I’d take anything over him scuttling back into his apartment, which, only God knows what that looks like. It takes me a minute to back out of the small, snow-choked driveway and I head back toward 490, toward home, with a cigarette between my fingers. I took a chance. I took a chance, and I only wasted two hours of my life. But at least I got a free ride to the reservation. There is that.