Paratransit Follies — Part 2

Read Part 1
While staying at the warehouse, I phoned a paratransit company licensed by the city and scheduled a ride to my bank. As the female driver strapped my wheelchair to the floor of the van I noticed a small portable black and white television stationed on the driver’s side of the dashboard. I assumed that during her breaks she parked in a lot somewhere and stared at mindless shows. She glanced at the schedule attached to a clipboard while she absently grabbed my fare. No sooner had she merged into traffic than she switched on the TV; it was tuned to a soap opera.

Three minutes into the journey she complained that she hadn’t eaten breakfast. While the TV blared, the van jerked to a halt in front of a McDonald’s or as she familiarly called the popular fast food chain, Mickey D’s. She double parked on the busy street and sauntered toward the restaurant. (Paratransit van drivers weren’t allowed to conduct personal business while on a call.) The driver left the soap opera roaring and seemed to forget that moments earlier she had secured my wheelchair to the floorboard—if a speeding vehicle crashed into the van I’d be shit out of luck.

Several minutes later she returned, clutching a bag and sucking orange drink through an opaque straw. After struggling into the van, she positioned her drink between her thighs, unwrapped the upper half of her McDLT and reentered traffic. She occasionally nabbed a fry from the bag at her side while she divided her attention between the soap opera, her eats, and the aggressive metropolitan traffic.

When I protested her insane antics, she snottily advised me to mind my own business or she’d throw me out of the van. All things considered, given the provocation she would likely make good on her threat. My pockets held only a few coins and we happened to be heading toward a notoriously inhospitable neighborhood. Though I carried a cell phone, I honestly couldn’t think of anybody who’d rescue my gimp ass if she did her worst—no one wanted a reminder of inescapable physical vulnerability tarnishing their shiny happy life.

While following the soap opera, eating, and driving she decided to whip out her cell phone and call her son. Listening to her holler at him, I gathered he’d begun to hang out with a rogue urban gang and had lied about his recent poor report card. He may very well have deserved the hot-headed lecture, but informing your child that you brought them into this world and therefore have the right to take them out is profoundly simple-minded and evil; and I don’t for a second buy the “ethnic mores” excuse.

I had no idea my driver was God. How else do you explain the power to view TV, scarf crappy food, manipulate fate, and navigate a van through major city streets, all at the same time? Against all odds I safely arrived at the bank. That afternoon I composed and sent a letter outlining my driver’s batshit multitasking to the president of the paratransit company. I never received a response.

2 Responses to “Paratransit Follies — Part 2”

  1. imfunny2 Says:

    I had a paratransit driver threaten me once….

    I’m not going to say what happened, but they never threatened me again. And I’ve had the same driver pick me up twice since.

    Sometimes it pays to be a fat broad with upper body strength.

  2. Rob Says:

    I remember when my mother was being transported from the nursing home to the hospital and i rode up front with the wambulance driver. Turns out he forgot to phone in the arrival and we waited 45 minutes in the hospital parking lot for clearance. My mother, uncomfortable breathing with an oxygen substitute can, asked what the fuck was going on…. “Standard transportation protocals” was the answer. “oh hey man, wanna see me turn on the wig-wag?” (forget your mom, this car makes noises!)

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