I am a medical transport driver, driving people to and from doctors appointments.
I am learning to value simplicity these days. To see blessings where previously I saw nothing.
Don had a ride scheduled for 7:00 this morning. He lives in an assisted living facility, or as another passenger referred to them recently, “a warehouse for the dying.”
I arrived at 7, and the staff was running a bit behind, so they didn’t have him quite ready. Rush, rush, rush, ok, he’s ready to go. Out the door and into the van and off we go. Don is in a wheelchair. He is probably in his seventies, and his hands are large, and you can see that at one time he did physical work with them. His voice is deep and gruff.
“You’re going to have about a half hour before your appointment, and then afterwards, I’ll be bringing you back, Don.” I told him. “Let’s just get it done.” was his quiet reply.
At the doctors office at 7:45, the front desk informed Don someone had made a scheduling error, and his appointment had been moved out two weeks, “You should’ve received a call, we’re so sorry Don.”
So we get back in the van, Don and his wheelchair all secured down nice and tight, and we head back to his warehouse, uhh, sorry, assisted living facility. I’m craving pancakes, and I wonder if Don had breakfast. I did, but I’m craving pancakes, bacon, coffee, the works. Mmmm.
“Don, did your staff give you breakfast?” I inquire.
“No.” In his deep, stern voice. It belies disappointment and desire, but it confirms his reality – no breakfast, it’ll just have to wait, when in days past, it didn’t have to wait, because Don didn’t wait for anyone. He didn’t need to.
It’s now after 8:00. Don’s appointment wasn’t until 8:20, and his return ride was scheduled for 9:45. By the time he would’ve been back at the ware- uhh, sorry, facility, it would’ve been after 10:00, and maybe he would’ve received breakfast, brunch, lunch, who the hell knows.
Don struck me as a withered version of his younger days, when HE ran the show. When schedules revolved around him, and things were made and maintained through his sweat and effort. He reminded me of a broken down mans-man. He has the attitude of a man who knows he is in decline, who knows he’s been placed in a warehouse for the dying, where he will wait. For everything. For food. For cleaning. For laundry, for visits, for rides, for sunrise, for sunset, for tedious routine that finally leads to a day when he just won’t have to wait any damn longer, because. . . well, because. Don knows this. Resignation and memory are his companions.
I wheeled Don back inside, and joked with him that “at least we got to see some scenery and freeze our balls off.”(Its COLD here today.)
“It was a good ride” was his reply, as he went inside to wait for his overdue breakfast.
I drove to a fast food place, and parked. As I walked across the parking lot, thinking of hot coffee and a baked apple pie, I realized that today, right now, RIGHT NOW, life is ok. It’s ok. It’s simple, it’s got everything I need, and that’s a good thing.
Simplicity. I have my independence, I come and go as I please, and I have two cats that I love. And I have coffee and an apple pie waiting for me.
I want the world and all its shallow, empty lying promises – but right now, I’ve got everything I need. I want much more than I need. We all do. We don’t know, CAN’T know, contentment. It’s not our nature. Sigh. The world has been kicking my ass, all of our asses, and it will continue to, but for now, it can wait for me and my coffee.
What did I do with the darn cream? It was right here. . .