Wednesday, February 01, 2012

A True Ride Adventure

The Ride supplied a plethora of blog fodder yesterday.

I had a meeting with an outside vendor so it was an office day. As usual, I rode in with a colleague/neighbor and ordered The Ride for the way home. Except I wasn't going home. A gluten-free friend was recently hospitalized on pregnancy bed rest and I decided to bring her some treats from All Can Eat, my favorite gluten-free bakery. (I was hospitalized for more than a month waiting for Zane to be born, so I have a soft spot in my heart for any woman in the same situation.)

The day before, I ordered The Ride to pick me up at work at 5pm and take me to the hospital in Boston. Then, I ordered The Ride to pick me up at the hospital at 7pm and take me home to meet the kids who would be dropped off by their dad at 7:30. I mention the specific times for a reason. I would have gladly scheduled The Ride to pick me up at the hospital at 6:30pm so I could have a cushion of time before the kids got home, but I wasn't allowed to. You see, The Ride makes you wait at least two hours from the time of the first Ride until the time of the second. "The Ride is not your personal taxi service, Ms. Baker" is what I hear every time I try to get an earlier pick-up.

When the automated message I received yesterday morning told me that my Ride times were 5:06 and 7:28, I thought, "Oh shit" and immediately called my ex. I left a voicemail message, letting him know that, due to the timing of The Ride, I wouldn't be home until closer to 8pm. I apologized and told him that he should drop off the kids at 8pm instead of 7:30. I knew it wouldn't go over well, but I didn't have a choice.

So, at 5pm, I packed up my bag at work and went outside to wait for The Ride, hoping against hope that it wouldn't be the short bus. It was. All the seats were folded up for wheechairs except one bench seat near the back. I was the only one on the bus. As per usual, the driver did a 12-point turn in the parking lot, making sure that every co-worker heard the back-up signal. BEEP-BEEP-BEEP!

And then the real fun began. My driver, who never introduced himself, was apparently a frustrated race car driver. Or maybe a clown in search of a small vehicle filled with his friends. While blaring hits from the 80s on the radio, he alternated revving the engine and then slamming on the brakes. He swerved and suddenly switched lanes on the highway with no warning based on the horn beeps I heard from other drivers. My backpack fell off the seat next to me and I thought I was going to throw up.

It was pitch black outside and I was traveling a route I had never taken while I was driving, so I had absolutely no idea where I was. Every time I thought I had my bearings, I was wrong. I started texting a friend just to distract me from my nausea. She called me and stayed on the phone with me, making me laugh for the rest of the wild ride. 

I could have gotten the driver's name and filed a complaint...but I didn't. I could have yelled "slow the fu&% down!"...but I didn't. Instead, when we pulled up in front of the hospital, I hurried out of the bus and breathed deeply, grateful that I didn't have to watch my vomit roll up and down the floor of the short bus.

I hate The Ride.

I visited my friend and came outside at 7pm, just in case The Ride came early. At about 7:25, I called the automated "Where's My Ride?" system and the recording told me that my Ride was 13-18 minutes away. Again, I thought, "Oh shit" and called my ex. Again, I got his voicemail. Again, I apologized. I also texted him and my daughter, letting them know that The Ride was running late and that I might not be home until after 8pm.

I was right. The delay, especially the second one, did not go over well. My daughter texted me back words that her father had obviously told her to write, including the fact that I was inconsiderate and he had to wake up at 3:30am. I called him again to explain and to ask that he not have my daughter text me his words. He proceeded to interrupt me and talk over me, until I was holding the phone away from my ear to avoid the pain of his yelling. I told him several times that if he continued to yell at me I would hang up the phone. He continued and I hung up.

When The Ride showed up about 7:50pm, I got in the backseat and listened to a fellow Ride passenger and my driver speak in Spanish. I know un poquito Espanol (but not well enough to find the correct symbol for typing). It calmed me down. When the driver, Alton, dropped off Margarita, I wished her "buenos noche" and got into the front seat.

Alton reminded me that he had driven me and the kids before. We started talking about children and I told him that I was going home to meet mine. I mentioned that my ex was pretty pissed off about me being late and ended up telling Alton the whole story of my afternoon and evening. He was a great listener. When we got close to my house, Alton said that he would walk me to the door so my ex wouldn't give me any grief. I wasn't afraid of him physically confronting me, but I knew that he wouldn't be rude or mean in front of someone else. My ex hates having anyone else think he's not a nice guy.

When we pulled up in front of the house, Alton walked me to the door and engaged my ex in conversation, apologizing profusely for being late. He kept saying, "Oh man! It's all my fault! So sorry for keeping you guys waiting!" He kept on saying it over and over. As I closed the front door, I saw Alton shake the ex's hand and the ex smiled.

It was awesome. I LOVE The Ride.

1 comment:

  1. Well Alton sounds like a good guy! Maybe you can request him from now on!