I think everyone would do well to talk to this guy for 10 minutes. He provides a great reminder of what there is in our (sometimes hohum) lives for which we can be grateful.
Happy to be alive
I pick up a tall white guy, mid-30s, from outside of Target. I can tell by his movements, and then by his speech, that he has some internal problems he’s dealing with. I’m taking him home after his shift at work.
He’s talkative, friendly, cheerful. He likes working at Target. His coworkers, he tells me, are jealous that he never has to work overtime nor a long shift. Why is that?, I ask. Why doesn’t he have to work over-time? Because he’s disabled.
He was drunk and fighting in the street one night in his early 20s. He was hit by a car and was in a coma for five weeks, recovering from serious damage, broken bones and the overall impact of being hit by a car. His foe that fateful evening walked away with nary a scratch.
He has been in jail numerous times and seems resigned to the fact that his choices aren’t great, and the consequences catch up to him. And he’s remarkably cheerful. I’m happy to be alive, he tells me. I take him home. He says goodbye, cheerfully.
Key experience: Live happy.
I drive to a nearby townhome neighborhood, park my car and read. I’m three-quarters of the way through The Other Boleyn Girl, and I want to finish up my book. I read and read and read. Nothing comes through: no ride requests.
The Uber app asks me repeatedly if I want to stay online and keep driving, I keep answering, yes. I finally realize that by not moving my car, I may seem offline to the app. I start driving. A call comes in right away.
Photo by Ismael Nieto.