30-Day Challenge Day Thirteen: The Daily Ride

30 Day Writing Challenge

Day Thirteen: Your Daily Commute

Between work and ferrying my child to her various activities, I am on the road driving six days a week. In the fall, my daily commute consumed so much of my time that I refused to drive anywhere on Sundays. And though I was anxious when I was first laid off, the change in employment worked out in our favor. My new workplace is barely three miles from my daughter’s school, which allows me to drop her off and pick her up from school. As the quintessential hovering and overprotective parent, this arrangement suits me quite well! Trusting others with her can be difficult for me, so taking her to school myself helps calm my nerves.

Our reduced commute time has also had significant financial and social benefits. Since I no longer drive as far for work I’ve cut my monthly gas costs by 50%! My daughter and I also get both more sleep time in the morning and quality time together in the evening. Our biggest issue with our daily commute/schedule became deciding on a playlist.

I vividly remember the first time it happened. “These Are The Times” by Dru Hill was streaming via Apple Music, and I was in the moment, singing along:

These are the times we all wish for,

The moment when less means so much more;

We don’t have to do a thing at all,

We can take our time and talk

Suddenly my late 90s R&B karaoke session came to an end, replaced by some EDM song I wasn’t familiar with.  My child had stopped my song, replacing it with one of her choosing! Momentarily shocked I regained control and asked her if she’d lost her mind.

Me: What are you doing? Don’t ever touch a Black man’s radio!

Daughter: But Mom that doesn’t make any sense. You’re not a Black man!

Me: That’s not the point! It’s a line from a movie, “Rush Hour”! You don’t touch the music in a car that’s not yours, and you really can’t change a song after it has started! You violatin’ shorty!

Daughter: Okay I understand…but you play the same song all the time. Can I get a turn sometimes?

While I didn’t like her stopping my song, the little one had a point. So I came up with an arrangement that was equitable to both of us. She serves as the DJ for our drive to school/work, and I curate the playlist for the drive home. In the morning, we listen to a mix of grime artists like Lady Leshurr and smooth it out in the afternoon with Janelle Monae.

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A native Seattleite and East Coast transplant, I have been interested in politics, religion, and race from the day I saw “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” on the bookshelf belonging to my BFF’s mom back in 1991. While my zealotry has thankfully diminished with maturity, I remain the deep thinking, passionate, and humble woman I have always been.

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