An Open Letter to My Carpool Passengers

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an  understanding  of ourselves. – Carl Jung, Swiss Psychologist


Dear passengers,

I love driving. There’s something about being behind the wheel that makes me relax. My daily commute allows me to be just on my own and be in control although every now and then my patience and tolerance of other drivers would be tested. When I’m inside, the car becomes my personal space—my mobile man cave.

Don’t get me wrong though. I also love driving for other people. In fact, I have driven several times for friends or relatives without me charging them. Sending anyone to the airport are my favorite trips—looks like I enjoy sending people away. There were also countless times I offered to help people who were stranded or in need of road side assistance and there were even instances when I have helped people reach the hospital.

The idea of a carpool, however, is a different matter. It’s something I find difficult to commit but it’s also something that seems inevitable. So I think it is about time I set some rules that would make our trip bearable to avoid any awkward moments, especially those I encountered from previous carpools.

Your friendly carpool driver.

Let me make it clear that my car is messy. You may find shoes and socks, blankets, and books in random places. To make it worse, I stopped using car freshener as the doctor advised to prevent our kid’s asthma from being triggered. You are under the mercy of the power of the baking soda that has been around since January. You may use mask, I won’t mind.

My days of reckless driving are over. I drive so slow that I seldom hit 100 kph. And in this era of social media and dashcams, I don’t want to be that one bald guy in a car with a handicap sticker recorded crisscrossing the expressway and be featured on either TopGearPH’s or James Deakin’s Facebook page. I have my own bashers so let’s not add more to it anymore. If we leave late, we will be late.

I am no Uber driver—not yet—so don’t trust me to check my phone for your whereabouts. The rules making it illegal to use the phone while driving was also recently approved and I don’t want to get a ticket just because I picked up your frantic call. If I don’t see you around, I go. I bet you’ll find friendlier jeepney drivers to drive you to work.

Contrary to popular rules of riding shotgun, I prefer my passenger to be less chatty or better yet stay asleep. The AM station feed should be enough to keep me up. I warn you though that I sometimes sing along when I hear my favorite song on FM stereo so deal with it. Try to stay or pretend to be asleep nevertheless. Don’t sing along, you’re not in James Corden’s show.

Sick people will not be allowed. Please don’t show up if you have any hint of infectious disease. Do not add up to the existing molds inside the car. I may have become immune to these but not to the common cold. Don’t worry, it’s more likely that your seatmates at work would likewise appreciate your absence.

My ageing sedan sits only four people, me included. Extra baggage will not be allowed entry. If you plan to bring bulky stuffs to sell in the workplace let me know so we can go through the process of Big-Brother-like eviction of people in the carpool. Bags of herbal supplement or whitening soap will be reconsidered but talks about me joining your multilevel network will evict you out immediately.

Lastly, if you don’t see it in me, I’m also broke. The only difference between you and me is that I have my own car and you don’t have one for now. Maybe your networking business will get you one soon but until then I would be very glad if on your way out you leave something monetary. My car has several compartments and cup holders where you can place your bill discreetly.

Like any other, driver or not, I know you understand that feeling of resentment when your personal space is intruded. Come to think of it, this must be the very reason road rage happens when people feel that someone crosses that line into what they perceive as their own space or comfort zone. I would love to give you a lift but if you find any of these carpool rules hard to follow please let me know. Driving alone is always an option.




Electricity was out yesterday so I took the opportunity to practice backing in and out our very tight parking space. Wifey was my coach. Of all people.


Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Cool and gloomy Sunday.)


Author: crisn

I'm Cris Nacionales from the Philippines.

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