Saturday, August 22, 2009

Ain't life wonderful!!!

Ah, the soap opera continues............ Yesterday at around 11:30am CST, Roy Boy called me and told me I'd passed my reinstatement drug test. I'm back, I can drive a cab again. I told him how good it felt to call him Boss, and know that he is the boss, not just my old friend who I've called Boss for years.

I wasn't expecting a drug test. I don't like them, or trust them. I'm not sure if I would have taken it earlier if I'd known I had to do it. It didn't come up until I gave Dickie my first set of shift add slips. About 2 hours later, I picked up the phone and Dick expressed his shock that my phone actually got answered and had me hold for Roy. Roy came on and told me that when you're gone for more than 90 days, you have to take a drug test to come back. I sighed and said I'd take care of it right away, and less than 48 hours later, I had my results. Finally, I'm free to get back in a cab and wonder why I'm wasting 12 hours of my time to make fifty bucks like all the other drivers who have been struggling for months. This morning, Saturday, is the first morning of being free again, and struggle or not, and the founders of New Hampshire were right, "Live free or die", is the only way to live.

How the whole thing happened and played out:

Years ago, I was referred to this old doctor by his sister in law. He was a nice enough old man, and had a classic practice, 1 doctor, 1 nurse, and 1 receptionist. So, for years he was my family doctor. When I first went there, he had me fill out a questionnaire which is normal for a new patient, and there were a bunch of religious questions on it that were kind of annoying, but the guy is a doctor, so he's a professional, right? I mean, my long time friend, The Rod, is religious but he's still a cab driver, still a professional, and I can still talk to him as a cab driver to another driver. So, I do my best to fill out these religious questions on this quacks questionnaire, and I come to one that is, "Why are you here?"

"Why are you here?", is asking for some religious answer, I'm sure you can all imagine the hoped for responses. I answered it, "Because nothings killed me yet." I mean, isn't that the truth? So, we argued over it and I finally said, "Nothing has killed me yet. No accident, no pathogen, nothing has killed me yet. I will be alive until I die, and not a day longer. That is reality, is it not Doctor?" He didn't like it, but he had to let it go there.

I always ask any doctor or dentist if they'd prefer to not have me as a patient. I extend this question to all professionals I do business with. If you don't want my business, I REALLY DO NOT want to be your patient or client. Make sense? It does to me. But I guess there are legal obstacles to a doctor or dentist saying they don't want your business, and in this Mickey Mouse society, hopefully someone in government will come to their senses someday and change it so they can decline any patient for their own reason, but as of now, they have to take you if they're taking new patients at all, it would seem. If I had it to do over again, I would have excused myself from his exam room on that horse pucky question, paid the bill, and never looked back, but if I was bright, would I have 20 years experience driving a cab?

The drivers out there all know that anyone who gets in the cab and immediately says, "I'm a Christian!", will be nothing but trouble, even The Rod would agree, though he'd say they're not a problem for him.

In the beginning, the receptionist would make a massive deal out of saying she'd pray for me. She says that to everyone. Perhaps she has some fantasy that she's really a doctor too, and she does it with prayer. In the beginning, I'd politely say, I'd prefer that she not pray for me and if she was unwilling to respect my wishes, do it silently and don't tell me about it. Then the doctor would want to put his hands on me, have her put her hands on me too (all the hands together), and all of us pray that I'd recover from strep throat. Reluctantly he'd give you an antibiotic for the strep throat too, just in case. I progressively got less tolerant of this nonsense, if nicely asking that you don't do this only encourages you, it will become a demand, and it will cease to be nice. After years of this, I came to feel that I'd been too ugly about all this.

Recriminations over discouraging people who want to be religious have been around for thousands of years, I'll describe this further in the future if anyone asks. I once came across the most fascinating debate of this subject in the Talmud, which I'd be willing to share if anyone asks, but won't bore the rest of you with it. Anyhow, I found myself feeling like I'd been a little too hard on a nice old man who happened to be my family doctor, and wanted to get right with my conscience.

The doctor has for years and years had a bible study group that meets in a restaurant on the west side on a weekly basis at 6:00am in the middle of the week. What could it hurt? I'll go a couple of times, it'll make him feel good, and I can feel like I made up for being a jerk. There's nothing wrong with reading fantasy, it's when you start believing it, that it becomes a problem. I went about 3 times every 2 months over the winter, and figured I was close to done with it when it happened.

It was late winter, and I was preparing to become a summer time day driver. I was driving 3 nights a week, and one day shift a week. I was a day driver in the beginning. Getting the feel of the day shift is critical to surviving these days, when 50 bucks for 12 hours is not uncommon. My day shift was Tuesday, 4:00am-noon. The jet lag on Wednesday was tough, but by the end of April it would be 5 day shifts a week, and that would make it worth it.

Then came the second Wednesday in March. I got a late start, and by the time I got to Denny's, the last people, except the doctor, were leaving. He was once again going through his story about being a young doctor at Chicago Memorial, and how 1/2 of the people who came in, were impossible to save, so he sent them home to die. I'm pretty stupid, so I never saw the horse pucky in this. Think about it. Then ask yourself, if you see the sneaky, cleaver little double meaning of it. I asked the neurologist who signed off on letting me drive again, if he ever had such conversations with his patients. He frowned darkly, and asked me for that doctors full correct name and where practiced. I doubt it's acceptable medical practice to share things like that with patients. But I digress............ To get back to that Wednesday morning, next thing I knew, I was being wheeled out by the fire department. That was the end of driving a cab for the foreseeable future, and thus began the long, unwanted vacation.

I'll finish this in part 2 or part 3, I'm out of time for today.