I thanked my driver for finding me. The first thing I noticed was that she was super pretty. I mean super pretty. And so nice. But I could tell she had a little bit of edge to her.

I asked her how her morning was, and she said it was pretty good. But then my driver said that yesterday was a different matter. She had a passenger who had requested a ride but she couldn’t figure out where he was – he looked like he was in the middle of South Mountain. My driver asked me if I knew where the lookout was and I explained to her that my house was at the very base of where the drive up was, and she said, “Good! I don’t have to explain why this is crazy!” I did forget to tell her about the issue with the cell phone towers being so powerful that they basically knocked out everyone’s phones and that’s why she couldn’t call him when she tried to reach him to confirm.

So she did all of the winding back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, up and up and up and finds this guy dressed in shorts and flip flops and absolutely red in the face. He really isn’t dressed for being out there and it’s 2 pm, the hottest part of the day, directly in the sun. He gets in and my driver cranks the air conditioning. After he cools down for a bit, he explains that he is from Miami, and he has never hiked in his life. He just wanted to try it.

The problem with people who haven’t spent any time in Phoenix is that they don’t realize you should do everything either very early or very late, and really, it should be very early. Otherwise you die. Literally. I used to train people in Miami and it can be laid back, but you just go bar hopping or whatever, and everyone has air conditioning and misters outside. In Phoenix, if you are going up a mountain, you had better be done by 8 am. This guy was very lucky, although he was still probably very dehydrated and two steps away from a mountain rescue and being on the evening news.

Since my driver knew I knew the neighborhood, we talked about her kids and schools around there. She told me her niece and nephew lived with her and her son. The kids used to go to school in Scottsdale at a charter school because in Arizona, kids can go to charter schools no matter where they live, as long as their parents/guardians get them there. But her house is about a 40-50 minute drive each way, so she enrolled them at the Cesar Chavez school down the road. I was very familiar. And her niece got into a physical altercation with another girl. And her niece said in front of the principal, “BUT YOU SAID IF THEY PUT THEIR HANDS ON ME, I COULD FIGHT BACK!!!” My driver said that the kids think that since they are going to Cesar Chavez, they are all hood now. She doesn’t want them getting into fights.

My driver said that her niece and nephew are with her now because her sister passed away. I told her I was sorry. I didn’t ask her how or why, as she didn’t say and my policy is that people will tell me as much or as little as they want to. My driver said that her niece and nephew were quite spoiled by their mom and had things like Michael Kors backpacks from their mom, and it was going to get their asses beat at their current school, so they weren’t allowed to bring that stuff with them. She hoped it was sinking in. She was just trying to keep them intact.

My driver said she moved out at age 17. I told her I moved out quite young too. She said she felt like she had a lot more common sense at that age than these three kids in her house, no matter how hard she tried to make them be responsible and use critical thinking. We talked about the asshole years; nearly every kid goes through them, where they think they know everything. The good ones grow out of it.