As I mentioned in my last blog, I found a rideshare on Craigslist with a guy named Gary. He was a cute little old man and he was willing to drive me straight to the boat up on Vallejo for only $50. We were going to stay in a hostel for one night and I was going to see some cool things along the way. Good fun, right?
Well let me tell you about the real Gary… Gary was a little old weirdo. I may sound harsh but you don’t know what harsh is. Gary has his own agenda and doesn’t understand why anyone else would do anything different than him. And he isn’t afraid to ask you why. For example, I didn’t want my waterbottle in the cooler so it could be at my feet and accessible while driving. Well that didn’t make any sense to him and he argued with me about. He wasn’t going to let me keep my waterbottle at the front of the car! And then he complained that I didn’t put my bottle in the fridge overnight and so it was warming up everything else in the cooler. Now I know what you’re thinking. That’s just a tiny and ridiculous thing to get upset about, I’m just being anal or sensitive. Correction! If he’s willing to fuss about something so minuscule, he was certainly willing to fuss about everything else in the world… And to no prevail, he did.
So let’s walk through what I’ve gone through with Gary so far. He first picked me up at 3 saying it was very important that we left at 3 on Wednesday because we needed to best LA traffic. I was understanding of that and while I still had more errands I’d like to take care of before the big trip, I rushed out and left the boat a mess and with my dinghy in the water still. But I was on my way to San Francisco to sail away for awhile and so I was too excited to ever look back.
If I heard correctly, which I know I did, Gary lived not far from mission bay. So when we found ourselves near Oceanside, I would have been a fool to think we weren’t on our way. No, we were driving to pick up some boxes to ship. You see, Gary was shipping some blinds and an exercise chair up to Seattle for some people he met randomly at the UPS store. They gave him $50 and he’s driving these huge piece of crap all the way to Seattle. So we pick that stuff up and then make our way to San Marcos where Gary actually lives. Nowhere near mission bay!
So Gary lives in a seniors home and he hates everything about it! Especially the trees and the elevator! We make our way up to the third floor, which is the safest floor according to him, and he hates that too, and I’m assuming we’re there to grab something he forgot. No, Gary starts making dinner and when I ask when were leaving he responds with 4:30 in the morning. So there was absolutely no reason for me to be there so early and to leave without completing my errands which I stressed to him. But I was where I was and I decided to make the best of it and just sat back and read every time magazine that was printed between 1932 and 1956.
So I went to bed early on the living room floor and awaited for the adventure to start in the morning. Well 12:30 in the afternoon rolled around pretty fast and Gary still wasn’t finished packing. I wasn’t too concerned and so I sat back and watched CNN with the volume on full blast. It was then that I realized how happy I am that I don’t watch the news anymore. Just watching it is literally stressful. So much negative energy there alone! Anyway, we finally get on the road and Gary is appalled that we hit traffic and it was totally not okay! It was unlike anything He had ever seen before in all of his 80 years. Traffic around lunch time! Who would have thought! Who did they think they were?!
This is when I learned about the nuisance of horns. Gary liked to use his horn a lot… At everything!!! It didn’t matter what the person, or even object did, Gary would lay on his horn for no less than 10 seconds! Go ahead and take a second to slowly count to ten. Seriously go ahead…. That’s a long time to honk your horn. Maybe if it was a cow laying in the road I might understand. But let’s say someone was sticking a little far past the line at a stop sign with with clearly enough space for a car to speed through the intersection at 150+ mph, Gary would screech to a hault and lay on the horn just looking at the guy at the stop sign before moving again. Not a single person would understand what was going on. I would bury my face down in embarrassment and just die a little each time. And if it was windy and the big rigs had trouble staying still, Gary was there to let them know for an excessive amount of time and I just prayed they didn’t “accidentally” slam into us while he was honking.
Now let’s get to the music. Gary brought about 7 CD’s which he specifically chose for me because they were nautical themed. I wasn’t going to complain and I actually liked most of the songs and was interested in hearing most of them if not all. Well Gary certainly was not interested. He only wanted to listen to one, maybe two, songs from each CD and refused to listen to any of the remaining song because they weren’t his favorite song from the album. So after 1 song on every CD he made me switch them out and when I suggested giving track 2 a try he made it clear that track 2 was certainly not his favorite track on the CD. So we listened to about 8 songs and that was the end of the music for the trip. He even said he wish we had more music to listen to. Now most of these sailing songs all had stories and I wasn’t listening to the 10 minute songs about how these guys went sailing. But Gary would stop the radio after every song and ask me what each song was about and said it was really important for me to be following the songs and that I might learn something. Well if anyone saw the video that I posted, this music sounded like sailor music for pre school kids… If you haven’t seen the video yet the follow this link here.
Now Gary was a slow driver. He refused to drive over 60 mph at any point. And I don’t know how he did it but he managed to make the drive to Monterey Bay from San Marcos, a 9 hour drive ! I have the slightest clue what he’s been doing to be so wrong but I just know he’s messing something up the entire time. So I’m now at a hostel. A hostel that was only suppose to be $15. Well it turned out it was $40 to stay a night eand I was required to buy a membership. Because of this surprise and after already going through everything I did earlier in the day I didn’t want to spend any money that wasn’t going to help me get closer to San Fran. So I asked if it was okay for me to sleep in the car which was a huge deal that I even asked such a thing. I was ready to sleep outside now but then it began raining so I payed for the $40 bunk.
So with $90 spent already, I could have been in San Francisco in about 2 hours and before yesterday’s sunset via plane. Instead, I’ve wasted money, almost jumped out of a moving car, and still have 2 full days apparently before I make it to my destination which is about 3 hours away. Normally I would have already left and figured something else out but he’s got my money already and so I’m going to take advantage of the ride and get my money’s worth. I definitely have not gotten my money’s worth yet that’s for sure. Maybe I have too much pride or I’m just stubborn. Well see how thing pan out though.
It’s morning now and I managed to get my money back out of the guys wallet while he was sleeping. I’ve shared my story with everyone so far and I’ve managed to find myself a ride with a dude named Hugobind. Totally down to earth dude who’s making his way to Berkley University and is willing to drive an hour past his destination to drop me off at the boat. Really excited and thankful that I will be there in only a few hours instead of a day and a half.
Just to really put into perspective of how bad this experience has been, I wanted to share a piece of advice that my mother sent to me. These are her words and I honestly believe she meant every single word of what she said.
“Sean, I’d say Fuck it! It’s over. You didn’t agree to go on vacation with the guy! You can’t pay him for gas and 3 days to stay in hostels, or whatever. You still have to eat, and pay to do whatever the hell else he plans on doing the next couple of days. The Aquarium isn’t going to be cheap. I’m pretty sure you could get to San Francisco by tomorrow afternoon if you guys left. Here’s my suggestion. When you get in the car tomorrow, pull out your knife and tell him you’re driving. Now Sit down, hold on & shut up. We’re going to San Francisco. You can make all the stops you want on the way home. Turn up the music. Drive. When you get there, don’t stop at the Marina but somewhere close enough for you to walk. Hand him his keys, pay him his money, and thank him kindly. You can even tell him you wished it would have worked out better. Then disappear, into a store or something. Call your friend and/or get running before he calls the cops. Your other option would be to make a sign that says San Francisco and sit at the freeway entrance . This isn’t normal advice coming from ANY mother, let alone your own but hell what you’re doing isn’t any less dangerous! Driving & sailing with people you meet on CL! He’s going to have to compromise. He can’t change the rules and insist you pay him. Yet if you can’t afford to leave, he can’t kidnap you either. Tell him your mom is gonna fuck him up! She’s an angry bitch! Okay I feel better now. Hope you do as well. and that I didn’t embarrass you. Now do you remember why we don’t want to be friends on Facebook and why I NEVER come here?!? I love you! XOXO Be Safe. I’ll be praying for you.”
– Nancy Hall
I am aware that this is one of my poorer written blogs and I hope that what was written doesn’t represent me or my writing skills. It was more of a ranting post. One of those times where I have blood on my hands and no one understands why nod without a way to fully explain it. I have high hopes that the owner of the boat is a much more laid back guy and I never have to write another one of these posts!
I hope that my one bad experience of using rideshare doesn’t discourage anyone from using rideshare or traveling with strangers in the future. While it’s something that can be miserable, it’s almost always an enjoyable experience and a great way to meet new travelers and share stories. This is my first poor experience out of the many times using rideshare. Besides, like I’ve always said, it’s not an adventure until something goes wrong!
To see a regular update from the car ride up, click here and be sure to read all of the comments! A lot of humor to be found there!