A Google Street driver with borderline personality disorder tells about his unique perspective on the world.
People are always talking about love. Love this, love that. I love my parents, I love my spouse, I love this new shirt, I love this show blah, blah, blah.
Love is overrated. It’s romanticized. It’s boring.
What about hate? Here’s what I think.
I think that I hate button up shirts. I hate when people with straight hair get it wet and it’s stringy. I hate people who keep more than one of the same brand of cereal on the shelf at a time. (Seriously, why do you need so many?). I hate fridges with double doors. I hate shoes with tongues. I hate undercooked rice. I hate people who say, “hate is a strong word” and most of all…
The thing I hate more than anything in the entire world, more than uncooked rice, more than button up shirts, is being a Google Street View driver.
I mean, it pays well, don't get me wrong. I get vacations and flexible hours and I don’t have to sit in a cubicle behind some cookie-cutter white desk from Ikea. (Without the spinny chair).
No, the hatred I have for this job comes from something a lot worse than a straight-backed plastic chair.
It’s the people. When middle aged people stop to look at the car, point at the spinning camera and then wave as if their existence means anything. Double points if they wave because they think they’ll be in the final Street View edit.
I reached over to the laptop on the passenger seat and entered my password to open my account and clock in for the day. I dropped my clipboard next to the laptop and turned the key in the ignition.
As I was driving I remembered a conversation I’d had with a long term employee back when I first applied for the job.
He’d looked at me with a straight face and told me, “You’re gonna get the job.” I was curious as to how he knew that.
“Why’s that?” I pressed. I nervously shifted the paper coffee cup from one hand to the other. I tried to maintain eye contact, with hopes that it would make me seem better fit for the job. More trustworthy, or some other bullshit.
“Google drivers are just the employees that weren’t smart enough to design the next holiday banner.” He said with a chuckle. Nothing in his tone suggested he was joking, though. I laughed this remark off and downed the rest of the coffee.
Now if someone were to say something like that to me I’d punch them right in the face. I don’t know when I changed. When I stopped being a pushover and decided to stand up for myself. Seems like forever ago. Old me was sad, and lonely. Now I guess I’m just mad and lonely.
At least we’re making headway. I stopped at a red light and took in my surroundings. The sky was cloudy, because it had rained earlier. The sky was so cloudy, that all the blue had gone. It was blank white almost as if the whole world was a big coloring book and we were all waiting for the artist to paint the next page.
No irrational hatred, no blatant distaste. No red feeling.
I liked it. I knew what it felt like to not hate things. I’m not a monster, you know. Puppies, tulips what-not. I liked those things, I guess. The sky looked nice. By the time my thoughts had organized themselves back into their designated categories the car behind me was honking. Loud.
I turned around and flipped him off. Today was not the day.
Work today was simple, I had only one street I needed to map and that one wasn’t too far of a drive from my house. I turned the radio on in an attempt to quiet down the thoughts in my head.
I remember that when I used to get like this I would spiral out of control. That’s what my doctor would say. I’d become inconsolable, and frantic. I don’t see it that way.
I had a neighbor a few years back. She was young and polite, younger than me by about two years and much more polite. I wanted to befriend her so when I first moved in I went over to introduce myself. It was a nice gesture. I brought her a basket with flowers and muffins. It was nice of me to do that for her. The day after that my car wouldn’t start. She insisted she had nothing to do with it but I know she tampered with my car somehow. Remind me to never try to make a nice gesture again, damn.
Revisiting that memory made my heart beat faster and my eyebrows find themselves inching closer together. I gritted my teeth. How dare she try to ruin my car. When I brought her the basket she said, “If you’re new shouldn’t I bring you a house warming gift?”
She was being condescending and disrespectful.
“Breathe. If you do nothing else I ever teach you, do this. Breathe.”
I took a deep breath and unclenched my fist from the steering wheel. I realized I had been pressing on the gas pedal. I’m so stupid. So, so stupid. I hate everything around me because I’m too dumb to see its value. I’m dumb, just like that employee said. I wouldn’t even be able to change the Google homepage banner. I deserve every bad thing that happens to me and that’s a fact. Worthless, stupid. Maybe I should just-
“Look at me. You are not stupid. You are not your disorder, okay? You are so much more than your BPD do you understand? I know it’s hard but..”
Her voice entered my mind and faded out just as quick as it had come. I tried to focus my mind on the surrounding houses. My doctor would always tell me that I was ‘more than just my disorder’. I never really understood what she meant by that until I had to explain to someone why I started crying on the subway home one afternoon.
He asked me if I was okay, if something had happened. I didn’t know how to explain to him that I was crying simply because I didn’t know what else to do with my face. I started hyperventilating because the way I was sitting probably made me look ugly. He tried to comfort me but I didn’t need comforting. Maybe some alcohol, but not comforting. I was fine.
I turned the street corner.
To my left was a wooded area. I glanced over and to my surprise there were two brown deer eating and walking and walking and eating. Worrying about nothing. Angry about nothing. Just sitting with each other without a care in the world.
I’d pay my last dollar, and a kidney for that type of peace.
The world could be beautiful sometimes. My only regret is not being able to be a part of it.