Starting Over, Part One

Two passengers in two days told me stories of starting over. This is the first.

“I just have to dig out of this hole I got myself in.”

I am constantly amazed at the easy openness of my passengers. I recently dropped off Sharon, a waitress who told me her whole story in a six-minute ride. I asked a simple question or two and it all came pouring out.

She’s in a bad relationship with a guy and needs to get out. The first clues were that he doesn’t tip at restaurants and thinks Red Lobster is a great spot for a fancy dinner date. He shows up all the time at her restaurant and sits in her section.

“He tips you at least, right?” I asked.

“No, he doesn’t.”

“Are you kidding me? And he wants to be your boyfriend?”

“Well, to be honest, he lent me some money. I was in really bad shape and he bailed me out. I guess that’s a factor.”

That changed my opinion a bit, but then I found out that he was charging her 17% interest on the loan! And he tells her repeatedly that he now “owns her.”

I encouraged her to do whatever it takes to pay off that debt and run as fast as she can from this scary person. She agreed.

Meanwhile, she’s in the midst of a divorce–her second–from a guy she married for his money.

“I told him that’s why I was marrying him in the first place, but I guess he thought it would change. Guys are like that, huh?”

She was recently evicted from a townhouse because, even though she paid her rent on time, the landlord wasn’t paying the mortgage. She could have filed suit against him, but didn’t have the money to pay for a lawyer.

Now she and her daughter are paying $1,000 a month to live in a dumpy apartment.

“It’s disgusting, but it’s better than the crack motel we were living in before that.”

She’s a mess, but she accepted that her situation was the result of her own poor choices.

“It’s my fault. I’m in this situation because I made bad decisions. I’m going to turn it around though. I just have to dig out of this hole I got myself in.”

She wasn’t whining. And she wasn’t blaming her problems on the loser men in her life. She was determined to do what it takes to get back on her feet.

I’m pulling for her.

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