I’ve spent the last 20 years driving to work on my own, until I recently offered a lift to a colleague who’s just moved in to the next street.
Well, I couldn’t just head off to work every day while watching them standing in the pissing rain by the bus stop or leave the office with a jovial “cheerio” knowing full well it would take them three times as long to get home.
Now I have inadvertently found myself sharing my personal time and space while trying to ensure I don’t make any etiquette faux-pas. This also has its drawbacks.
I have to make polite conversation. I don’t want to make polite conversation at 7am, even with my own family. Silence is very uncomfortable in a car with a relative stranger.
I can no longer sing along to the Radio at the top of my (very poor) voice, although I did find myself almost bursting into the chorus of Florence and The Machine this morning, before hurriedly muting myself.
I, like many other drivers sometimes pick my nose. It is a disgusting habit, I know. But who was I offending before – no-one. Now I have to be sure that little scratch of my nose, doesn’t lead to a wayward digit entering my nasal cavity.
In the mornings, I may be partial to occasionally breaking wind. In my own little environment, it would only be me suffering from last nights chile con carne. Now if I feel something brewing, I have to hold it in for 30 minutes.
I have also found my morning commuting time very useful for running through scenarios in my head, talking to myself and orating examples of how I would introduce meetings etc. Now I will arrive for morning meetings unprepared or without my usually polished and pre-planned quick witted ripostes to the bosses demands.
On the return journey I quite often called my wife via the built in blue tooth system, to check if milk or bread was required on the way home. However, I’m very wary of this now as to be honest there have been occasions where cross words may have been exchanged. Can you imagine my passengers thoughts if on phoning home my wife starts ranting at me for leaving my boxer shorts lying in the bathroom or has a hissy fit about the fact I’m running late?
I like my music. I have good if not eclectic taste but appreciate that not everyone may share my passions. Do I just play Echo and The Bunnymen’s complete back catalogue all week regardless?
At this point, I should also probably confess to being particularly aggravated by others bad driving which usually results in me swearing at the dickhead doing twenty miles an hour in front of me to hurry the f*** up. Do I just enrol in an anger management course now – or buy one of those car machine gun accessory buttons to reduce my use of expletives?
I could be at risk of being misconstrued as a nose picking, foul mouthed, unsociable, wife hating, bad tempered bloke who farts, talks to himself and listens to thirty year old music.
Shit....Was that the sound of a penny dropping?
By the way it’s only day three of the car share. Wish me luck!