Sanelli
Sanelli

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

And so, I’ve decided to sell my car.

The early days of Uber and Lyft were less expensive than a cab, certainly, but now that we have the share option, I can no longer justify owning a car. I’m not preaching the gospel of not owning a car; if I believed that, I’d have sold mine years ago.

I haven’t downloaded Wingz. I’ve been meaning to, but I’m satisfied.

Imagine: Satisfaction.

Brand loyalty is one part of life I really do miss.

One friend says that 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 (New York vs. Seattle) 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 kidded that my apartment reminds him of a bento box.

More than once I’ve left that restaurant thinking that I am smart enough to know that there are some friendships worth putting up with the occasional slight. And there are ones that are not. Luckily, he backs off when he sees the look on my face, so I’ve not had to draw the line.

Granted, I live in Belltown, where parking is more of an issue. But the fact that I can ride to dance rehearsal on Capitol Hill for under $5 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. And since I’d been hoping for a miracle ever since my bus stop was moved to Third Avenue, I felt like I’d received a miracle, too.

One problem I foresee, because I work in Everett once a month, is dreading the long bus ride. Bottom line is that looking out the window still sounds better than driving I-5, where every lane change is an ordeal. The moment I have to make my way over to the exit lane always turns me into a complete bitch.

Although I like to say that frayed nerves and using profanity has never made me crash into an oncoming car.

Oh, sure, I also ride the bus. But forced proximity on a bus feels like the greatest downside. I don’t know why there is such a difference. I wonder about this a lot.

On the bus I had to learn to deflect many of the forced-upon-me exchanges. And I know this sounds prejudice, bias, or whatever, but my imagination, which is seldom politically correct, thinks “3-D” describes her bus-riding days: Detached, disheartened, dismal.

In contrast, 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. He wasn’t allowed to under the Taliban. 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.

He was nice though.

So we got to talking. It’s not hard to break through. It’s like airplane chumminess, except we share the same city and have more in common. But it’s our differences I find compelling. I rarely leave my ride in a deeper state of ignorance.

Our driver said he was grateful to be in this country.

“I wish Americans had just helped us more, not invaded.”

Once he cleared that up, we talked about other things. Like the last mass shooting. 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 Faultleroy 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 is an author, speaker and dance teacher who lives in Belltown. Her forthcoming novel, “The Star Struck Dance Studio (of Yucca Springs)” will be published in September 2019 (Chatwin Books). For more information about her and her work, visit www.marylousanelli.com.