Do You Want Me to Drive?

Do you want me to drive?

I look at you sitting beside me. Why won’t you let me drive? You’re clearly tired of driving. You’ve been driving for hours.

Do you want me to drive?

There’s no reply, because I haven’t asked the question out loud. You don’t know I want to help. I can’t say the words.

Do you want me to drive?

Do you want me to drive?

Do you want me to drive?

I repeat the words over and over, hoping just once they will escape so you can hear them.

Inside my head a battle is raging. Say it! I scream to myself. Just say it! Of course he wants you to drive. What do you think is going to happen if you ask?

Do you want me to drive?

The words still don’t come out. A sign for a rest area appears. It’s 2 miles ahead. Now’s my chance. I can do this.

Just ask him to stop at the rest area, then ask him. I shift in my seat, nervous for no reason.

Can we stop? Do you want me to drive?

This should be easy, but it’s not. The rest area is now only 1 mile ahead and still I’ve said nothing out loud. I need to say something soon or I will miss my chance.

Can we stop? Do you want me to drive?

Now half a mile ahead. It’s too late. If I ask you now you won’t have time to decide before we miss the turn off of the highway. I’m furious with myself but also a tiny bit relieved. The pressure is off. I have more time. I can ask you later.

Do you want me to drive?

Suddenly you seem to answer at least one of my unasked questions. Without a word you pull off into the parking area.

Can we stop?

Yes. Your reply is as silent as my question.

We stand. We stretch. We use the restroom. As I’m waiting I formulate a plan. I’m going to ask you. This is my chance.

Do you want me to drive?

We begin the short walk back to the car. I take a deep breath. This is it. I’m finally going to do it.

“Do you want me to drive?”

I did it! This time I actually said it.

At first you say no. You’re tired of driving but for some reason you feel like you need to do the driving. Maybe because this road trip was your idea.

You don’t know how hard it was for me to ask the question. You don’t know I need you to say yes. Then finally…

Yes. Thank you. That would be great.


Recently I took a road trip with a friend and on that drive I was humbled by this reminder that although I have grown a lot over the past several years, I still have work to do. It wasn’t so long ago that these moments were commonplace. The most trivial, mundane thought would get stuck in my head, trapped, unable to come out.

Do you want me to drive?

Why was I afraid to ask such a simple question? The friend I was with was not going to judge me for asking. He was not going to be angry at the question, or offended I had asked. This had nothing to do with him at all.

And yet I was, for the most part, utterly unable to ask.

Do you want me to drive?

It was a moment that passed quickly. He had no idea this was going on in my head, and once I was in the driver’s seat there was no reason to bring it up. It was inconsequential, yet fundamentally important at the same time.

There are countless times in the past 7 years when I have been conscious of this happening. I could as easily tell you about the onion rings another friend offered me and my complete inability to say yes when he offered to share them. That incident was 3 or 4 years ago and yet I could describe it in as much detail as this more recent occurrence.

Do you want me to drive?

I’ve written a book about how I’ve drastically changed my life (Thriving Not Surviving) and yet I sometimes still struggle with such simple things as asking a question.

Do you want me to drive?

Who am I to pontificate, to go on and on about how people can better their lives? I’m nobody. I can’t even ask a question.

Do you want me to drive?

Except that I have learned things. I have done things. I have achieved things.

I have inspired others. I have motivated others. I have changed the lives of others.

The past 7 or 8 months I have spent a lot of time considering what I want to do with my life. Eventually I need to make a career change. What I am doing does not align with what I want to do. There are many options. I have many choices. I just don’t know yet which way to go.

But one thing is clear to me. I want to make a difference. I want to help others. People matter to me. I want the things I do in my life to align with that value.

I don’t know how I will do this. But even if I can help just one person it will be worth it. And then maybe we can both ask that question.

Do you want me to drive?

This post is in response to the daily writing prompts Pontificate.

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