I wasn't always an Elder Bus Shuttle Pilot. I filled the position quite by accident in mid-July of this year. Literally. The Weebles had a fender bender. Fortunately, they were only shaken and not stirried, but their little green car didn't fare as well and was pronounced totaled.
Now, they can get around town using the Elder Van. You give the Elder Van 24 hours notice of where you want to go, and for $2 round trip, they will come and pick you up from your home, take you where you need to go, and take you home. When I asked Dad why he doesn't call the bus, he said, "That get's expensive!" As if the Gas Fairy comes every night to my house to top off the gas tank in my car, and the Toll Pike Fairy makes sure she leaves exact change for the tolls under the seat cushions. That's OPD. Then so that no burden is placed on me, he says "Don't worry about me. I'll walk!" That's OPD too. It's an issue of control and guilt. (-;
The first time, I drove the Elder Bus was a lesson in the control issue. Ma had a PT appointment. I had arrived early enough to make the appointment, but she decided she had to wash the kitchen floor. "I have to do this all by myself! Nobody helps me." Another part of OPD is the martyr syndrome. Ma will tell all willing and unwilling listeners how she has to do heavy work because no one else will. I sometimes think I should get her a couple of pieces of velcro. She can stick one piece on her forehead, and its partner on her wrist. Then she can raise her hand to her forehead palm out for maximum sympathy. Of course, I would be happy to help, but she has to ask, and it has to be on my schedule. I can't turn on a dime, but then it's really a control issue. (-;NASA has a 3 day window of opportunity when they schedule one of their shuttle launhes. I have a 3 hour window (actually 4 with an hour available in case of doctors running late, accidents and tie ups on the Pike, etc. but keep this quiet as the Weebles don't know about this safety margin.) After she finished washing the floor, a search ensued for for her glasses, the checkbook, and the handicap parking card. My 3 hour window was closing fast. Getting Weebles out of the house is a lot like herding cats or toddlers. Just when you get one going in the right direction, the other suddenly breaks and disappears. Where are my glasses? Get my coat! Did you unplug the coffee?Finally, I got them settled in the car and buckled in. I'm on the way to the therapist's office when Ma screams, "You're going the WRONG way!" I nearly slammed on the brake and activated the air bag. "You should be going down Wilson St! WRONG WAY, WRONG WAY." Suddenly, I'm with the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland. Clean cup! Clean cup! Move on down!
When heading towards the center of town, I happen to like going by way of the lights at Bacon St. I can easily make a left turn instead of trying to make the left turn against two lanes of traffic where no one yields. Yielding is not taught in the state's driver training classes. I continue along the way still being yelled at. My patience wears thin quickly. I finally pull the car over to the side of the road. "GET OUT!" I roar. There is some muttering from the front seat, a chuckle from the back. All goes quiet. I'm able to pull out into traffic, and we continue on our merry way.
At the therapist's, Ma has a captive audience. She tells everyone in the office how no one does anything for her. I introduce myself to the therapist to inform her, Ma didn't sprout wings and fly here by herself. The therapist giggles and in a conspiritorial whisper says, "I know just how it is. She sounds like my dad."
So the wheels on the bus go round and round. Tomorrow, we go grocery shopping.