Even before I started CAR, the feeling always lingered in the back of my head that I wouldn't be liked as much if I didn't drive people around all the time. I restate: I DO like driving people around. It makes me happy to know that people are getting to where they have to go, and I get to spend more time with them, even if it is just in my car. But still, there are those that seem to take advantage of it.
Conrad, for example. He's a really nice guy and he's great to talk to. I've had some amazing conversations with him and we've done a lot together. But from time to time he's tried to reach me and basically get me out of my way so I can drive him somewhere. Like a few nights ago - I was driving with Sophie around San Francisco and Conrad calls up, wanting me to "hang out" back in San Rafael, and sooner or later he gets to the point that there's no one there to drive him home. That made me feel kinda bad. My company, insight, or personal presence wasn't really needed - it was just my driver's lisence and luck that my dad didn't sell his old car and gave it to me instead.
On the other hand, the reason I was out that night in San Francisco was because Sophie was sorta stuck at Annie's in Point Richmond for the whole evening with nothing to do. So I crossed two bridges that night to drive her around, and take her to BATS, and stop off at RTA, and pick up food at Denny's. But what I did was more than just transportation - I provided company. I felt needed because I was an actual human being that could be talked to and understood.
My social status has changed over the past few years, and definitely for the better, but I still feel like I'm only accepted because of the work I put into providing services for people. I ran the DDR club, and I got a lot of people interested in DDR as my friends. I drove people around at the Oasis, and I was accepted into the social scene there because I could lend a hand with my car. Almost everyone that I hang out with nowadays spends so much time with me because I'm the chaperone. Because that's my main contribution, people feel as if they can't confide in me as much, because I'm just a driver.
What I envy of people like Sophie or Lauren is that they are good people to confide in. I've heard of several people having their problems solved simply through nice, long conversations with them. I just wish that more people would talk to me about their actual feelings and thoughts rather than just their interests.
'Course, there are some barriers that keep people from doing that with me. James can attest to that. He's talked to me over the years about his dilemmas and emotional states, and although I've listened well and given him some concrete advice, I think I was too hard on him. It was my jesting nature that really kicked in - I had minutes of entertainment going "haha, James, you suck because you have problems." That sort of negative reinforcement isn't as effective, but it worked one way or another. Basically, James wouldn't recommend me after what I have or haven't helped him with.
I think I should simply be more social. Go up to more people, on or offline, and just ask them how they're feeling. If they're anything like me, they might just open up and a nice, solid, meaningful conversation might ensue.