Zombie Deer! – When I picked up Wyanette in a rural suburb, she cautioned me to drive carefully on the darkened roads and to watch for Zombie Deer. Sure, I said, wondering if the woman in my back seat was just making her way home after a long night out. It was 6 A.M.
But she went on to explain that Zombie Deer are real, or at least the term. I did some research.
Zombie Deer are afflicted with Chronic Wasting Disease, (CWD), which has been around since 1966 and was first diagnosed in Colorado. It’s now spread to at least sixteen (16) states and is no joke. You can Google or YouTube search and see for yourselves. The animals look awful with sores on the exterior of their bodies, loss of fur, salivate profusely, have no fear of humans, and are lethargic. Most notably, the disease deteriorates their brain cells. Sad.
There is no known cure at this time and the disease is spreading slowly across the Midwest and South.
Thank you, Ms. Wyanette. I don’t believe this is a precursor to the forecasted Zombie Apocalypse, but then, I don’t know it is not either.
Supportive While Intoxicated(S.W.I.) – Three women in all and this was Lecia’s first ever rideshare. This was a girls’ night out, or in this case, a women’s night out. All the ladies were in their late thirties. I should caution that was my judgment (their age) and if I have made an error in my perception, please forgive me.
We started our ride with Lecia talking about her philosophy in life. Live for today. Carpe Diem. We chatted about my recent responsibilities as a caregiver for a friend in another state. She jumped aboard the support bandwagon, even though she was well intoxicated Yep, the trio were on their way to a bar for her aunt’s birthday. The celebration had already begun. Giggles were seeping through the windows as we drove.
I perceived Lecia’s life had not been easy. She was far from wealthy but her facial beauty shined through some rough lifelines. Yet she was supportive of me. I was her rideshare driver. I was that fly on the wall observing and noting humorous behavior for my website. She emphasized that I would be blessed for caregiving, perhaps not now but in the future. My time would come. I didn’t want to tell her that my time was running out. I was probably going to get that reward in the afterlife. Thank you, Lecia and friends. I hope you all had a safe and fun evening. You earned my respect.
A Good Mother – I know very little about being a parent and raising children. I admit it. But I can still recognize sacrifice and the unusual characteristics that classify a mom as a “good mother.” First, such a mother must place the interests of their child above themselves. Second, I think one’s life must revolve around the child. That youngster is the center of their universe. And perhaps last is that matters of the heart take a back seat to the love for that child.
Such is the case of Patty, who I had the privilege of driving from her job as a nanny to her home. She gave up her job earning about $70,000 per year and is now a part-time nanny while caring for her 1 ½ year-old son. She could toss him in day care and would be justified to do that. After all, she would be able to provide a better material life for her child. But there must be a value for the nurturing that a mother provides. We seem to have lost track of that.
Where’s the father? We have lots of single moms out there and it’s easy to pass judgment. In this case, the father lives in South Aftrica and while she tried to make that lifestyle fit, the educational opportunities and social atmosphere led her back to the good old U.S.A. Remember America? There’s been some controversy of late with some proclaiming America was never a great country. That hurts me when I think of the sacrifices my father and our forefathers gave to create this America where we have supposed religious freedom and choices that many countries do not have. We are far from perfect, as is our form of democracy, but we are far better than any country in the world in allowing our citizens freedoms of choice.
Is American better than two hundred years ago? 1819. Slavery. War. Oppression of women.
What about one hundred years ago? 1919. World War I. An influenza pandemic that killed more people world-wide than any other event in recorded history. 20-40 million people. Dead. The Great Depression was approaching. Women didn’t yet have the right to vote. That was coming one year later, 1920.
We can go on. I want to offer kudos to Patty. She’s in her late thirties and recognized right away that she had to place the care of her son above all else in her life. She practices that lifestyle that requires she struggles financially but her son has her emotional support. Full-time.
World Cup – Chris is a world-ranked squash player who I delivered to a tournament and wished him good fortune in the competition. He was inquisitive about Atlanta and our public transportation, which is less than satisfactory. (My opinion, sorry MARTA) He asked if I was aware of any plans of the city regarding the upcoming World Cup of Soccer in 2026. I know how to spell the sport’s name, but my knowledge of the game stops there. I did meet Phil Woosnan on several occasions and somewhere I have a soccer ball that he signed to me. I only recall that he was a key to bringing soccer to the United States many years ago. He has since passed away and recall him as a kind-hearted soul.
But evidently the World Cup claim is true. A few days later, I took a soccer fan to a bar to watch a game and I asked him. He confirmed. He said the World Cup would be played in three cities, London, Atlanta, and the third city that I cannot recall. The playoffs will reduce the teams until the final that will take place in Atlanta. Wow. I wonder if the city will build that outer perimeter now. They started thinking and planning in 1985. Not a shovel of dirt has ever been turned. Anyhow, get ready, soccer fans. We are only seven years away from a global event here in ATL. And I thought Super Bowl LIII was a big rideshare event!
All About Dogs – This day I felt fate tugging on my sleeve as I had two rides connected to dog adoption services. On one, I picked up David, who was a volunteer at Mostly Mutts. This is a private dog adoption service connected to dog rescue and is a non-profit. A few hours later, I picked up Elizabeth from a satellite location of the Atlanta Humane Society – dog adoption facility. She was also a volunteer. When I sat waiting for her in the “Adoption Pickup Area,” I thought she may come out carrying a squiggly puppy, then hop in my car and announce that I should adopt this dog, I was worried I could not resist. I love dogs.
For better or worse, she exited alone. As I drove away, I could have sworn I heard the yelping of eager puppies yearning for a human companion. I also thought she may have had a sound app on her phone. She probably gets a bonus for drivers who return and adopt. Damn humans.
Blacksmith – When Jon told me he was a blacksmith, I almost didn’t believe him. Then, I thought I misinterpreted his words. But nope, that’s his occupation all right. Jon was in his late twenties and had served two years as an apprentice before he was certified as a blacksmith. I had to ask what that career path was like now. I couldn’t imagine a long line of horses outside his shop while they awaited new shoes.
Then I learned that he did not work alone. He worked for a company called Smithworks. He had just finished creating an iron base for a nine-hundred-pound piece of art. Before that, he built a wrought iron stair case inside an upscale home near the city. He added that construction of wrought iron fences was in constant demand.
I learned a great deal from this young man. I never anticipated that blacksmith was a career that still existed in the twenty-first century. I guess I still have lots to learn.
The Eagle is Grounded – A very large gentleman, perhaps in is fifties, hobbled out of his ranch home, down the single step and onto the driveway. I pushed the front seat back all way to enable him to have as much room as possible. He was on his way to the doctor, and that is not unusual. Transportation back and forth to medical appointments is a common use for rideshare. This particular gentleman shared that he was a linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles in the mid-80’s but his career was not long. He played just a few years. He then hit hard times and became a corrections officer, and somehow contracted a bacterial infection which became so severe that his leg was amputated above his knee. He admitted he was in pain, and this visit to the doctor was to determine what action could be taken next. The infection seems to have not been stopped and he said they are discussing additional amputation.
There wasn’t anything I could do to help this man, but he seemed kind and in need of some good news. I hope he finds it and recovers to enjoy a bit of his life.
Champagne Girls – Time: 8:45 AM, Friday morning after Thanksgiving. Location: Buckhead, just north of downtown Atlanta. I answered the chime to pick up two females. I had some difficulty locating them, but after a few moments, they stumbled into the nearby parking lot. When they piled into the backseat, the car was enhanced with an odor that mixed stale smoke and a urinal with an exhausted freshen disc. Destination? 50 miles north…50 miles equates to at least 45 minutes in the best of traffic. Fortunately, the Friday morning after Thanksgiving is as slow a traffic window as possible in Atlanta.
All was acceptable until they spoke. “My friend doesn’t get out much. She’s got a ten and twelve-year old at home.” Wow. My first judgment was that neither was old enough to drink. Wrong.
“Did you have a good Thanksgiving?” That seemed an appropriate and safe question.
“Did we f….ng ever! You know, we’re not cheap drunks. We’re what you call champagne drunks. There’s a difference, you know?”
“I didn’t. Thanks for the information.”
That introduced me to 45 minutes of a new education in foul word combinations that I never imagined. They laughed. They shared their opinions on some of their acquaintances, all interspersed with expletives that were not fit for a prison cell. Perhaps not even solitary confinement. I located their destination which was one of their homes and they dragged themselves out of the car and stood erect at the garage door, giggling and chatting like death row inmates granted a few more moments of a stay of execution. They weren’t home yet until they walked in that door. I left them in glee.
Emergency? Call Rideshare – Two figures clung to each other as they stood outside an apartment building. At first, I judged them to be males. The taller one wore a crisp black eyepatch and had an arm wrapped around the stockier, shorter companion. As they stepped forward, the arm now provided more support as the second figure grimaced in pain. The right leg was askew and trailed behind the move to my car. After several moments, they both had maneuvered into the backseat, but not without a few squawks of pain.
Onward to our destination. I then learned my riders were mother and daughter, with the mother wearing the eyepatch which she earned during a fight at a bar while playing billiards. They laughed as she recounted the episode. Full body laughs, chortles, with an occasional pause for the mother to swig from her flask.
Meanwhile, the daughter spoke several times about how she received her injury, but her thoughts were convoluted. She fell? Someone fell onto her? A large dog? The dog jumped onto her and pushed her over, then someone fell onto her? The dog? The mother? I never was sure what happened but was certain it was very funny. It had to be. They laughed all the way to the hospital, until the pair hobbled together through the sliding glass doors that opened for them. The daughter’s right leg below the knee dragged at a severe angle.
* * *
I continue to rise before dawn each morning and embark on my day’s adventures. It is a rare occasion when I return home without at least one memorable ride. Humorous. Peculiar. Even dangerous at times. Always unpredictable. But I must ask. When you next have an urgent need for transportation for a medical emergency, would you dial 9-1-1 or choose Rideshare? (Keep in mind – I believe an ambulance will have an open container regulation.)
Christy or Anna – Not sure. As drivers, we are only provided with a first name, or initials. I’ve driven several people who identify only by one letter, and two “DRs” who did happen to be doctors. But I have had the privilege of driving one young lady a few times who has two names. I first met Christy, or Anna at a woman’s shelter. She’s in her early twenties or so is my guess and works as a server in an upscale breakfast restaurant. She explained she was Anna, not Christy but that was the name under which she ordered the ride.
After that, I picked up the same young lady, still identified as Christy on the rideshare app, but now she had moved and was renting a room in a much improved neighborhood. She explained that the lodging at the shelter was not that comfortable, and she was only permitted to stay for a limited time. Anyhow, her new digs were awesome.
I’ve never asked why the shelter, or why the Christy/Anna names. I still drive her on occasion, and have become a fan of the eating establishment where she is employed. I will always request her table. I know little of her past, but hope that her future is brighter. Seems she deserves it.