I thanked my driver for finding me. It was kind of funny because she was driving a Tesla, and thanks to my previous exposure, I knew how to open the door. However, she figured I was like 99% of her other passengers and rolled down the window to tell me how to open it. I beat her to it, so she tried to cover it up by asking if I needed to load anything into the trunk. My purse is pretty light, so I asked her if she was going to tell me how to open the door. We laughed.

I asked my driver what she had planned for the holidays. She said that on her mom’s side, there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 people that get together at her aunt’s house for Christmas. The tree is set up very close to the front door in a small-ish room for some reason, and so by the time everyone arrives and the presents are stacked, they have 300-400 gifts every year. There is no monetary limit. (My heart – or my bank account? – gasps at this!) I asked her what she is most looking forward to, and she said that her favorite thing is the opening of presents, but this also takes about 3 hours, and it can last until 3 am. They do each gift one by one, and they each take turns and whomever is unwrapping is sitting in this huge circle of people and everyone is watching and they clap at the end. OMG. I just….I don’t know if I could handle that. But if they have been doing that all their lives, obviously they are fine with it.

One thing my driver’s family just started doing in the past few years is also including the dogs for various holidays. She does not enjoy that. An aunt has two very well-trained Huskies who are so good that they actually look at adult humans for permission if they want to play with something. And then there is one floppy, sassy, delinquent poodle retriever mix who does NOT CARE, he is going to mess with everyone and everything. All my driver could say over and over is that he is a mess and an instigator. Besides those three, there were about 7 other dogs that were brought over by family members. So now there’s about 100 people and 10 dogs (so far). I asked if the house was big enough, and my driver said oh yeah. [Just as a matter of perspective, I used to own a 2,200 sq. ft. house that could fit up to about 50 people because of two living rooms. I cannot imagine owning a house twice that size or having to clean it.]

I asked my driver what she did besides driving. She said she was working for a large airlines company (I am not saying which one) as both a trainer and a recruiter. My driver said that in the beginning she actually fell into the job and hadn’t planned on staying or even liking working there. However, it quickly grew on her. In the meantime, she had taken a year off of school, which for her meant the beginning of her first year of law school. She had been convinced that was her life path for as long as she could remember. But after a little amount of time with the airline, she decided that she really wanted to be a commercial jet pilot instead. My driver got accepted into pilot training and will be starting in a few months. We talked about stats. She is a female AND a minority, which is unheard of. 95% of pilots are white men. The other 5% are a mishmash of women, sometimes minority women, sometimes minority men, and that’s about it. I told my driver that I get really, REALLY excited when I get minority women in certain fields of practice, because I know how hard it was for them (or as much as I can guess how hard it was for them) to get that education and into that field of practice.

Young woman, GET IT.

Also, two closing thoughts on this ride:

First, I had to take a picture of this Wisconsin plate in front of us. Do you misread it and get a not so nice word? Or is it intentional? I just don’t know.

Second, my driver is driving a Tesla, and she is a female. I would be seriously conflicted. It’s like saying you love the art but hate the artist. They are cool cars (and cost a fortune), but is it worth it so support Elon Musk when he so blatantly abuses women, including in the workplace? When I find out an artist does nasty things to women, I stop supporting him.