Sunday, March 10, 2013

Who Takes Who?

Although I haven't driven for a couple of years now, I'm still caught off-guard by the way people phrase their comments when we go somewhere together. For instance, two friends who happen to be a a married couple and I went for a hike one weekend. Because two of us had vision impairments, that left E to drive, and he did not mind. K and I did most of the planning and packing.

Still, I had someone say to me afterward, "Wasn't that so nice of E to take you two hiking?"

This morning at church, someone said to me, "So, your friend took you grocery shopping last week with her. Was that fun?" And not long ago, a friend wrote online, "I took my blind friend to the movies," even though I initiated the movie trip.

I suppose to someone who never thought about it, such language seems harmless. I certainly don't want to be the PC police or oversensitive, so friends have to walk on eggshells around me! Of course it seems natural that the driver is doing the "taking," right? Maybe not.

Having things like that said to me makes me feel like I'm about twelve years old, like I'm dependent and reliant on others' goodwill to get me places. It places the driver in the position of superiority, of adulthood, of power. It places the passenger always in a secondary role.

In reality, the trips are more of a mutual partnership. I usually do a lot of the planning, research, legwork and communication. In that case, of anybody, I would be doing the taking, since the trip would not happen at all without my efforts. Of course, it also would not happen without the driver and car (unless I took a bus, cab, walked or hired a driver). It's fairly collaborative.

As a non-driver, I have to be a lot more creative to get myself and my family where we need to go. We accept rides from friends when it's convenient for both of us, and we're grateful for those rides. I try to reciprocate in equal measure with other services of friendship: listening, babysitting, meals, planning, offering to pay, phone calls, tokens of appreciation. Sometimes, we walk; sometimes we take the bus. In every case, though, we take ourselves. No one coerces us to go with them. Only once in a while does my husband take me on a date.

Sometimes I take him. And he drives. :)

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