We share rides, Bernd Rossa and I. It's no big deal. But now that it has become a habit, we both agree that it seems a good and responsible thing to do. Plus we enjoy it.

Necessity was the spur in this case. Bernd knew that he and his wife would have only one car available for several weeks last semester, so he started talking with other people who lived nearby about sharing rides. It turned out that our afternoon schedules on Tuesday and Thursday nearly matched: his last class finished only 15 minutes after my office hours did. Our morning schedules did not mesh so well, so Bernd (who did all the arranging) found a couple of other people with whom he could ride then, including Max Buot and Maggie Rosch (who was teaching a course for the Department of Math and Computer Science, to which both Bernd and Max belong).

Our particular circumstances?geography, schedules, and available cars?made a traditional car pool impossible. So I always drive my car and Bernd periodically gives me gas money (more, I'm sure than his share). That works great for both of us.

Even after Bernd got a second car back, we kept riding together. The inconveniences have been minor: Periodically I hurry Bernd to leave campus a bit earlier after class than he would have liked. We both have to plan ahead and give up some flexibility, of course.

Still, we agree that the benefits have more than outweighed the drawbacks. Quick e-mails and phone calls let us change schedules when necessary. Bernd and I were friendly before, but now we've really gotten to know each other well. I always enjoy our conversations, which cover a wide range of topics. There have been practical advantages too. Bernd has helped me get my car from the repair shop. Then there was the time I had a flat tire ...

But there is also something else. Both of us like the fact that we are sharing the 10-mile commute rather than needlessly driving two cars. Bus routes and schedules make mass transport a tough option from our houses; this seems like a nice (and easy) way for both of us to save a little gas and a little money. It's no big deal. Still, we plan to keep doing it this semester and, I hope, into the future.

David Mengel
Department of History