I thanked my driver for finding me.

It started out a little iffy. At first, he seemed a little suspicious about my instruction to drive straight back to the only two-story building. It was a small parking lot, and the buildings weren’t big. There were five buildings, but each building only held one office. How can I explain it? They wanted their own space but they didn’t want to pay a lot of rent. It was the economical package of a medical complex.

I got in, and my driver thanked me for the additional text message indicating the building number. I told him that I didn’t get to communicate with him and that it all went through disability dispatch. He said thank god, it was all misspelled and there were no spaces or capitalization. I laughed and said there was no way it could have come from me, I’m a stickler for correctness thanks to my previous life as a legal proofreader.

I asked my driver how his day was going, and he said it was just starting, he had been late getting a move on. He told me how he was only now beginning to recover from food poisoning he and his dad both contracted the day after Christmas. My driver said he was glad it was the day after Christmas and not the day of. His daughter is turning 15 in a few days and he has very limited time with her because she is too cool to really enjoy anything, but she for sure still enjoys this time of year, even if she doesn’t get into the fat man in the red suit. My driver said that right away on the 26th, he was going to pick up his first passengers, and he started sweating buckets. He signed himself out and that’s when the nightmare began. Projectile vomiting and projectile diarrhea. Bookends of bacterial swampland flying out of his body. My driver hurt just thinking about it. About two hours later his dad called him up and asked him if he was on that carousel of crap too. It was only the two of them that got sick. They aren’t sure what did it.

My driver is glad to be back on the road for tomorrow night. Weekends are still pretty busy, but tomorrow is Friday night AND New Year’s Eve, and there is a lot of money to be made – at least $1,000. He said that he will be checking the car diligently every time someone gets in to make sure wallets aren’t dropped or forgotten. He actually lost his before and it had his social security card, and that was an absolute beast to get fixed. My driver said the craziest part of the night is going to be peeling people off the sidewalk and dumpsters and making sure they get home safely.

We talked a little bit about how people aren’t acting smart and beg all the time about not having to wear masks. “Do we really have to wear them???” But since my driver had the projectile sickness and he was worried the whole time it was COVID, he’s going to insist everyone wear their gear. We talked a little bit about his primary care doctor deciding to move to another state last year. My driver has his own A/C business but only has clientele primarily in the spring/summer months, which is why he does Uber/Lyft as well. His PCP was a client and so he had his doctor’s cell phone number and would just call if something came up health-wise. Now he can’t do that with his new doctor; he has to go through all of the regular channels like the rest of us peasants.

Be safe out there, everyone. Wear your masks. Don’t kiss strangers. Make this a happy new year.