Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Drive-time dithers

A buddy at the office who lives nearby asked me if he could ride into work with me on Friday.

Of course, I told him he could. This guy has performed a ton of kind gestures over the past year of my infirmity —including taking me to the hospital one morning and staying there as I underwent surgery, and hauling eight cases of Isosource from his car to my kitchen— and I have barely done squat for him.

He's moving to New York this weekend, so this may be my final chance to do a good deed for him.

It'll be about a 30-minute commute, depending on when we get started. And now I'm freaking out about how I'm going to keep a conversation going with him that long.

If it's illegal for every Californian except Maria Shriver to text-message while driving, it surely can't be legal to make small talk in a note pad with your passenger while behind the wheel.

I've got two days to work this out. I think I'm going to write out a bunch of questions and comments on index cards and let him work his way through the stack while we head over the hill to work.

The cards could say things ranging from "I hope my car doesn't smell funny" to "Gee, that color looks good on you" and "When you get to New York, try to avoid accepting a job working for David Letterman."

The playoffs may be still be under way on Friday, so I can ask him who his picks are for the World Series. One team comes from his current home town and another team comes from his future home town, so he might have a lot to say on the topic.

If traffic is moving slowly, I could hand him a card asking him to read the funnies to me, or the forecast for highs and lows in cities across the nation.

On the other hand, maybe I'll scratch the small talk altogether and play him a song celebrating his move to the Big Apple.

"New York, New York" is an obvious pick. But at 6:30 in the morning, can anyone really stomach Liza Minnelli?

Better play it safe and go with Sinatra's version.


  1. Was he able to get the seatbelt to work for him?

  2. Just as I handed him a note saying that the seat belt was broken and that there was a set of rosary beads in the glove box for him to use instead, I saw that he had gotten the belt fastened. I guess the seat belt healed itself over the past year or so.