Write of Way by Mary Lou Sanelli

Wednesday, September 04, 2019 4:39 PM | Debbi Lester (Administrator)

Lyft Share, Yes Please

Some of my worst days lately have been the ones that I thought driving across town was a good idea.

So, I’ve decided to sell my car.

And here’s why. Now that we have the Lyft share option, I can no longer justify owning a car in the city.

Now, I’m not preaching the gospel of not owning a car; if I believed that, I’d have sold mine years ago. 

One friend says that since I’m from New York, I’m more cut out for public transit. “But I’m from Seattle,” he said.

“But Seattle is the most forward-thinking city about transportation,” I said.

I don’t remember much else about that conversation, just that the real differences between us were highlighted in the collection of odd shaped mirrors above the bar at Tavolata where they’ve been brought to light before. Last time he said that my apartment reminds him of a bento box.  

Granted, I live in Belltown, where parking is more of an issue. But the fact that I can ride to just about anywhere I need to go in the city for under five dollars if I’m willing to share feels like a gift.

It is a gift. “Thank you!” I cried the first time I tapped the share option, as though I’d just unwrapped one.

Many of my Lyft drivers have been surprisingly enlightening. My last was from Afghanistan. He wanted to know all about Velocity, the dance studio he was taking me to, because he loves to dance but under the Taliban he was not allowed to. He had a regal presence with brown hair and eyes and a white dress shirt. I wore workout sweats. But the rider we picked up was so covered with dog hair and what looked like dog slobber that this put a lid on my feeling frumpy-American.

He was nice though.

Our driver said he was grateful to be in this country. “I wish Americans had just helped us more, not invaded.” I found his comment refreshing. I no longer want to hear what journalists think Afghans think. I want to understand from Afghans what they think.

Once he cleared that up, we talked about other things. Like the last mass shooting, though, sadly, I don’t even remember which one. He said—I’m paraphrasing, but only slightly—“he had so many rounds, that crazy shooter! He shot and shot! I really don’t think our forefathers had an AK-47 in mind when they thought about the right to bear arms. I don’t think they ever meant that.

What really got me was the way he said, “our” forefathers. I mean every time our government pisses me off lately, I’m more than happy to call myself an Italian again.

Not every ride is as interesting. One driver picked me up at the Fauntleroy Ferry and for the entire drive I was on the receiving end of a nonsensical monologue. Before driving off, he thanked me for the great conversation. “Is that what that was?” I said. And slammed the door.

Yet, all of these people make me get up from my desk and look out the window at the street beneath my fifth floor window. And I think, that driver, in his grey Toyota Prius, who is he? 

Mary Lou Sanelli

Mary Lou Sanelli, author, speaker, and dance teacher, lives in Seattle. Her forthcoming novel, “The Star Struck Dance Studio (of Yucca Springs)” is to be published in September,  (Chatwin Books). Please join her at Village Books, in Bellingham, 7 P.M.; at Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, Saturday, October 12, 6 P.M.; at Watermark Book Company on Thursday, October 17, 6 P.M., on Bainbridge Island at Eagle Harbor Book Company on Sunday, October 20, 3 P.M.;  or at the Rose Theatre in Port Townsend, Sunday, October 27, 1 P.M. For more information, visit www.marylousanelli.com.

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