I’m not sure when exactly it started, maybe I just woke up one day with a changed perspective, but regardless, for the last few years I’ve taken it upon myself to not limit myself to fear or opinion. I feel like this mindset can apply to almost anything in my life. If you remove fear or opinion, you open up yourself to a vast array of perspectives and opportunities. Of course this is all within moderation, I’m not about to ride a motorcycle at full throttle down the Queensway in rush hour, but there is certainly room to eliminate fear and opinion in a least one situation presented to us each day. The most recent example of myself doing this that I can think of, is two days ago when I went out on a limb and decided to try a rideshare program travelling from Ottawa to my home in Kingston. And by rideshare program I mean I scrambled to lookup a ride to Kingston on the “rideshare” section of Kijiji. The whole concept of rideshares, when you think about it, is pretty scary. It feels like a blind date but while being stuck in a moving vehicle for the whole duration. Numerous things could go wrong, the worst of course being that you’ve been abducted and are not actually travelling to the location advertised in the ad. I of course had this thought upon travelling to meet the guy who was driving me, at Baseline station. All I had to go off of was his advertisement which appeared to be grammatically correct [bad grammar equals bad character], and our brief phone call discerning where and when we were going to meet. He sounded pretty young on the phone, and I noted that he was still eating breakfast which sounded like a pretty normal thing to do at 11am. You know, he could have been polishing knives or something. But he said he was eating breakfast so I believed him. I found myself waiting at Baseline station in a parking lot across from Algonquin College. We agreed to meet at the rideshare parking lot and I told him I knew exactly where he was talking about. There was about six parking lots when I got there. We spent about 5 minutes trying to figure out where I was in relation to where he was, and it was a lot of me saying “Ohhh yep, yeah I know where that is”. “Nope okay, no I don’t, this is what I’m looking at, you need to help me out”. I’m just going to point out at this point that it was 11:30 and we agreed to leave at 11. So part of me was worrying that either this guy was really laidback and perhaps hungover like me and that’s why he wasn’t worried about the time, or the only thing on his list of things to do that day was stage a fake rideshare. Since I’m writing this it was obviously the former.
I make my way towards the right parking lot and I see some guy standing outside his car waving at me. I was so happy when I saw him because he was the most adorable little brown guy with glasses who looked about my age. So 50 year-old creepy man wasn’t a thing. I throw my bag in the backseat of his car which I noted had a suitcase in it. What a relief. He was obviously intending to travel somewhere. Then I get in the passenger seat and we exchange names [I don’t remember his name, and it’s because I couldn’t pronounce it the first time he told me. I get really awkward about those things so I never asked again]. My first two questions that I asked him were really awkward but very necessary. “So… are you going to the airport with that suitcase?” In other words: “Is that thing real or is it a prop and we aren’t going to Kingston?” He answered me with “Ummm… well I’m visiting my parent’s in Toronto actually”. or “Yes this thing is real thank-you.” Followed by my second question: “So do you go to Algonquin?” or “Are you a functioning member of society? Is that why we met here?” He told me all about his schooling adventures after that, three years doing an unfulfilling Sociology degree at Ottawa U, at which point he realized he didn’t like it and took up Marketing at Algonquin. At this point I now felt pretty confident I was going to make it to Kingston that day.
All joking aside, I felt really good about taking the rideshare opportunity, and beyond that I got to meet a really nice guy. I like to talk a lot so I was thankful that we ended up talking the entire time. I was expecting to sit in the car fumbling with my phone pretending I had important people to talk to for two hours. I don’t think I sent a single text for that two hours. We both talked about life as a student, what we looked for in our lives five years down the road, what our career plans were. He worked as a banker and probably spent 30 minutes teaching me “How to not be Broke Every Month 101”. By the time we made it to Kingston I didn’t even notice it had been two hours. He dropped me off inside the city which was really nice. We said our goodbyes, he offered to hook me up with weed cookies from his friend Rob if I needed them and then that was it. During the trip we talked about music, life, and our perhaps fruitless ambitions. I told him how I would love to end up in New York City or London working for Vogue, and he told me about his dream to open up an all-hours nightclub in Ottawa, and his bigger more realistic goal to help out small businesses that don’t have the knowledge or potential on their own to find a market and promote to it. It was pretty exciting and refreshing sharing all of your ambitions and goals with a complete stranger.
Maybe I will see him again one day maybe I won’t. But the fact of the matter was that I could have taken the safe route and waited all day for the Greyhound which for some astounding reason will only leave at 5:30pm Monday-Thursday. But instead I hopped in a car with a stranger, shared my life, shared a bowl, listened to his life story and then left it at that. Maybe it’s not for everyone but that’s something I love doing, and is a big part of why I’m interested in pursuing Journalism as a career. I don’t often like to talk about myself very much, but I love hearing other people’s stories. Meeting new people, conducting interviews, learning new things and gaining new perspectives from people is the most exciting thing to me. And you can learn a lot about yourself through other people and their experiences. That rideshare gave me a new perspective, as I get with any new person I meet, whether or not it’s for work. Meeting new people, putting yourself in new situations, trying new things, all of that comes with the elimination of fear or opinion. You remove imitations when you eliminate these things and discover a new sense of agency and control over yourself, which is pretty exciting. Next time I trek back to Kingston I would probably try the rideshare program again if it was convenient, and I might even have a better story than this one.


W&W at Electrik Tulipe

Downtown Ottawa got down last Thursday outside of City Hall for the pre-Escapade event Electrik Tulipe, an outdoor electronic concert presented by DNA in tandem with the Canadian Tulip Festival. This year had progressive house and trance duo W&W, reigning … Continue reading

Kingston EMC: Become a youth exchange host and have an inter-cultural experience in your own home

EMC News – Canada World Youth is presenting Kingstonians with the wonderful opportunity to become a host for two of 18 young women from Bolivia and Canada between October and December 2012 as part of an international educational program. The … Continue reading

Kingston EMC: Local art collective hosts art and music show to raise money for a worthy cause

EMC Events – Next weekend marks Kingston’s annual Limestone City Blues Fest, but it’s also when the local art collective Made 4 You, with the sponsorship of the Kingston Arts Festival, will be hosting an arts and music show called … Continue reading