Traffic Slugs Get Personal Details of Lives of Strangers
Many drivers follow the unspoken rule, besides to confirm their destination and maybe bid farewell to their passengers at the end of the ride. But every once in a while, slug riders will encounter a chatty driver.
Considering most slugs who ride together are complete strangers, it can be surprising how much people will divulge about their personal lives.
Phone calls can be the most telling about a person, especially when taken on speaker phone. Many times, I’ve been able to tell a person’s marital status, how old their kids are, and evening plans, just from a simple phone call. And it’s not that I’m so interested in who these people are or what they do, but it isn’t really hard to figure out.
Alright, and maybe sometimes I do get a little curious.
Once, I rode with a driver who took a call from a friend during the ride. Though he wasn’t using a speaker phone, my interest quickly peaked when I heard him start discussing something really personal – he started telling his friend details about his divorce!
At first, I thought, clearly I must be misunderstanding the conversation. No way would someone talk about something of that magnitude with strangers in the car, right? But as the conversation continued, it became more and more clear that was exactly what he was talking about.
Last week, a woman I rode with one morning took a phone call from the principal at her daughter’s school. No big deal at first, until she started to argue with the principal and talk about very private things that had been going on at home.
She referred to her daughter’s teacher as immature, and insisted that the teacher be punished for her daughter’s troubles in class. Clearly, this was not a quick phone call, and being in the front seat, I was pretty uncomfortable – especially once she hung up the phone and wanted to complain to us about it afterwards. Awkward!
It’s not just the conversations that are overheard in the car that can be revealing. Occasionally, drivers are very open about their personal lives with their slugs, regardless of not knowing each other. Sometimes I wonder if it is because the slugs are unfamiliar that they feel more comfortable opening up. Maybe it’s knowing that the chances of running into the same people again are slim that makes people feel safe discussing their private matters? I’m honestly not sure.
Just recently, I got into a car with a lady who was very talkative. Although I’m usually not one to talk much early in the morning, she was so animated that I couldn’t help but chat with her. She started by chastising herself for running late again that day, and saying how hard it was to get out of bed any earlier. I know that feeling all too well.
“Thank goodness I don’t have any children!” she exclaimed. “If I did, I’d never make it to work!”
I laughed, and she asked if I had any kids. I told her that I don’t, but that I’d probably have to quit my job when that time comes. I have enough trouble getting out of the house in the morning!
Quickly, the conversation transitioned to whether or not we were married, dating or single, and she began to tell me how much she hated dating. She had just separated from her boyfriend of one year, and was getting back into the dating scene. She went on to tell me in detail how they had broken up, and about the guys she had been out with since. She talked about text conversations, their dates, and what they did for a living. It certainly wasn’t anything that I needed to know that morning, but still, the conversation was flowing so easily that it felt like we were old friends.
It wasn’t until I started to get out of the car that I considered that I may not ever see my new pal ever again. I might never know which guy she chooses, and how it turns out for her. And if I did run into her again, we may not even recognize each other. That’s just how slugging works.
To me, it’s fascinating that people are willing to share so much with their unfamiliar passengers, but when they do, I have to wonder why. I have to think that sometimes, people just need someone to talk to. And hey, I have no problem being that person. Though the odds are that we won’t be BFFs, I don’t mind providing a little slug therapy every once in a while.
As long as I can take my nap on the way home!
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