The strangest thing happened to me on the way to the shrink. I think my Lyft driver is related to me through marriage.

I was running late, like super late. It was 12:30, and I was supposed to be at the shrink’s at 12:30. I took too long in the bath. I called the shrink’s office, the anxiety in my voice making my already child-like voice pitch up three times higher. I told the receptionist I was running late, was on my way, and I’d be there in 10 minutes. Please don’t hate me. Please don’t hate me, kept going through my head.

I usually take Uber when in need of a cab, because it’s cheaper. This day, however, Lyft ran a special, so I ordered a Lyft.

My Lyft driver was really nice. I could tell straight off he was gay, as there was a slight lilt in his southern accent (don’t be mad I said that, OK?). He knew exactly where we were going, too, Shrinks ‘R Us. He’s been here before, that voice in my head said.

“Which way do you want to go to get there, because that road goes straight there,” he asked.

“Whichever way you think is best, sir.”

He was an affable guy, and we did the usual cab conversation in our short drive. I asked him how long had he been driving for Lyft.

“Two years. I got laid off from my job, but I just finished my degree, so hopefully that will be able to get a job in that.”

I asked him how long he lived here and he told me he was originally from Boone, but had lived here for 11 years.

“Boone?” I said, excited. “I was born in Boone!” That started the conversation. I told him how my family hailed from a little area on the state line, an area only people from that area in the NC mountains know. He knew exactly where I was talking about. Exactly. 

So, I told him every family name I knew about. It turns out his family may be related to mine by marriage. My second cousin Diane married someone with his surname. It may have been one of his father’s 15 siblings. I’m not joking.

I told him I only lived there for the first two and a half years of my life. Mom wanted out. “Everyone talked about everyone there and were very judgmental,” I said.

“That’s the truth,” he said.

I was sad when the ride ended. Here I am, Lisa, who sometimes almost forgets she’s a member of the human race, sitting in a car with someone linked to my family. It was positively surreal. I took a good look at him before I left, which is different for me, as I rarely look at people.

I haven’t seen a relative since my mother died in 2011. I didn’t tell him that my family disowned me. Maybe it was my mom, and then by default, me, they tossed in the garbage. They knew I was different, and didn’t want to be saddled with me, too.

When I got home from Shrinks ‘R Us, I looked up my kinsman on Facebook. Fortunately for me, his Facebook is open. My assumptions were right and then some. Yes, he is gay. Yes, he no doubt has been to Shrinks ‘R Us, because he’s severely depressed. I wish I could friend him, but I won’t because that would be super creepy of me.

I wonder if his family disowned him too. It is highly likely, if they’re like the remaining members of my side of the family. ‘Gay’ would be up there in unpardonables. Next to being a democrat and interracial marriage. I wish there was something I could do for him.

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