It’s uncommon for someone to commute 62 miles from their home to their day job, I think. (And perhaps I would like to believe I am special and unique for my commute so I feel the validity to complain about it.)
Regardless, I was thrilled to find out my new apartment is exactly two blocks away from one of my favorite coworkers and his wife. He offered the idea that we carpool to work as often as possible to save on some dough and provide entertainment (we think we are hilarious) for the otherwise quite boring, long drive. We were additionally thrilled to hear that carpooling means HR offers us the bonus of specialized parking spots AND we get entered in raffles for giftcards as an incentive to carpool. Cheesecake Factory, here I come!
The first couple weeks of carpooling were filled with excitement and fun, even at the ungodly hour of 6:50am. We would greet each other with Dumb and Dumber quotes, which is divine confirmation we are meant to be friends, as we clinked our coffee to-go containers to cheers the day ahead.
But mornings started to feel much too early and uninteresting. As any sort of relationship, it got to a point where the performance nature of our morning rituals waned. It is just too damn early for cheeriness some days.
We have grown to a new state of comfortability and mutual respect that can only be rendered by trust built over time. I am learning something about vulnerability and presentness with our carpool relationship. Outside of his spouse and my partner, we experience the rawness of each other directly. First, we see each other pre-caffeinated and I can’t fathom of a more vulnerable state to be in. He sees me without make up. I see him frustrated and worked up over situations at work on our ride home. Sometimes we talk; sometimes we listen to music (driver’s choice). We allow each other to feel whatever we feel in the moment – happiness, anger, and anything between. Often times we laugh and encourage each other, and we kick each other’s ass when we’re clearly just being Mr/Miss Cranky Pants and indulging self-pity.
This is essence of authentic relationships. No performance. No perfection. No pretending. No bullshit.
I only realized this situation has been a profound learning opportunity for me this week. I’m grateful for it. It’s teaching me how to be human and imperfect. I’m trusting others again, learning that I don’t have to try to be my best version of myself to be liked and accepted. Who knew carpooling would end up being my own personal classroom.