Riding With The Top Down (if that's allowed)
If you have ever been on a lonely road trip across the country, you realize having someone to share the ride can benefit your wallet and your sanity. Although hopping in a car with a complete stranger doesn't sound completely sane, there are some safe ways to avoid the sometimes axe slaughter ending.
The desire to travel is compromised by money and transportation, however the workings of Craigslist Internet ads offer a service called "rideshares." This service works like a carpool. Strangers can either look for a ride to a certain destination or drivers who have extra room may opt to connect and take the trip with the extra person. The purpose varies but overall, helps the environment, and both parties spend less gas.
To make this awkward situation a little more comfortable, there are manners that do apply. Every rideshare experience is completely different from the rest, so assumptions and expectations should never be made. Always find a post that is planning a trip around the same dates as your trip. It over complicates things if you're asking the driver to change their plans to meet yours; they are doing you a favor giving you the ride in the first place.
This past weekend making my way from Los Angeles to San Francisco, I found an ad posted with the title, "Halloween in San Francisco! I'm leaving Thursday night, and plan on returning Monday afternoon. I'm a college student and I drive a Toyota Corolla. I do not smoke, sorry not 4/20 friendly, do not bring it in my car. I like most music, so you can disc jockey the ride. I'm asking for $30 to cover gas both ways. Also, I'm not a psycho killer but I do love the Talking Heads. If you're interested call (310)-###-%$#@."
After reading the ad, I immediately called the number. It ended up being a woman who spoke with quite a high-pitch. I couldn't put an imaginary face to the name except for one of a 15-year-old pre-pubescent girl. We confirmed a meeting place and time, and made the agreement that no one would be backing out (This happens frequently, even as you arrive to pick up the extra rider.)
To my surprise she looked to be 22, somewhat conservative, and outwardly friendly. She immediately gave me a hug and announced how excited she was. She laid down the rules for her car as we started off on the road and made clear she would only be stopping once for gas.
Always be straightforward with the person. This will make for a successful rideshare on both perspectives. Be smart and do not travel alone unless you know you can fend for yourself. Along with those tips, here is a list of helpful hints for your rideshare.
Do's, Don'ts and Mannerisms:
1. Make sure you have the cash squared away at first. Don't make them drive around looking for your ATM.
2. Ask before eating, in the person's car. Maybe they are vegetarian and don't want to breathe in the smell of your Big Mac.
3. Make sure they have enough room in the car for your belongings. Don't plan thinking that the driver will take your dog and 2 duffle bags.
4. Don't plan on making multiple stops. Bring snacks and go to the bathroom right before.
5. Keep up a conversation, don't just listen to your ipod and talk in the phone. Unless of course the driver doesn't want to talk.
6. On top of that, don't discuss politics or religion you should have learned that with your dinner table manners.
7. Do have good taste in music, if you can't name all four of The Beatles, then let them pick the music.
8. Do not make an unwanted sexual advances, unless that's the driver's preferred payment policy.
9. No playing with the windows or heating system. Ask before you turn the A/C system to the same temperature as the Antarctic.
10. Before you start packing community bowls, ask if they are 4/20 friendly. They might not want their car turned into a hotbox.