On basic human courtesy

I have a stupid job, or maybe I have a nonstupid job and I’m just a stupid person.

As I was driving to the gas station on my way to OtherJob this evening, praying for the fumes in my gas tank to keep the car moving until I got there, I drove past a couple of my students. They all know what my car looks like, so I honked the horn and waved and pulled into the gas station, maybe a block or two farther down the road from where they were.

Two minutes later, as I’m filling the tank and cursing how much the price of gas has jumped over the past week or so around here, they come running over to say hello. They ask where I’m going and I tell them OtherJob; they say they’re on their way home and are supposed to be home by five.

I look at my watch. It’s not too far from five already.

“Soooo….” one of them says. “Can we get a ride home?”

And here’s where my job is stupid. Any other person in any other situation upon running into a couple of people who he knows and likes and who happen to live along the way he’s already travelling would say yes to this instantly. It’s common bloody goddamn courtesy. But since I’m a teacher I have to go through this stupid mental calculus where I weigh how much I trust these two girls and whether I can trust their parents to not be stupid idiots before I throw all that to the wind and decide to treat them like they’re people and not my students and agree to give them a damn ride home, like somebody who isn’t a complete asshole.

Note that this may actually have broken the law. Not a joke.

It isn’t until I’m pulling out of the parking lot that the real bullshit of this transaction hits me: I’ve just had two teenage girls run up to me in the parking lot of a gas station, they’ve gotten into my car, and I’ve driven away. I make a joke about it and look around for blue-and-whites; luckily, no one official appears to have noticed. Which is a bit of a relief.

The drive home takes all of five minutes and is uneventful. Then I nearly kill one of the little idiots when she darts in front of my car after getting out instead of going around behind it like a sensible person.

That would have been fun.

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