My previous transportation problems seem mild compared to Thursday's, when the driver Alex from Prevalent Transport appeared to have some serious mental problems.
It started when he called me 45 minutes before he was supposed to pick me up and asked in a barely comprehensible Russian accent if I could be ready in 15 minutes. The sprinkler was on, the clothes were in the dryer, pills were not taken, etc. so I said I would try but I wasn't sure how much earlier I could do.
He shouted into the phone, "It takes two and a half hours to get to Boston and I know what I'm talking about because I've been doing this for 12 years and if you get there any faster you probably speeding and sometimes I take little kids in the car and I won't speed." After I told him that two hours was usually more than enough time, he argued with me some more.
When I call to make arrangements with MART – which contracts with various companies to take patients to medical appointments – I say what time I need to arrive at Dana-Farber, and they schedule the pick-up time for two hours earlier; so, Thursday I wanted to be there at 11 a.m., hence the scheduled pickup at 9 a.m.
I said I was going to file a complaint about his rudeness and I would try to go faster but I doubted I could be ready as fast as he wanted, and then we hung up and he called back in a voice so calm I thought it was a different person and re-introduced himself and said he would be there at 9. He arrived early anyway. A big guy wearing black sunglasses and dressed all in black, he barely looked at me. I don't recall him greeting me either. A man also going to Boston sat in the front seat.
I am usually pretty tough, but something about being in a car with him totally freaked me out. As I called the main office from the back seat to file a complaint and say I didn't want to ride with him again, I started to cry. He said he was recording everything I said.
When he got off the Mass Pike I saw why it takes hime so long. He took the Natick exit and drove all the way in on Route 9. I said everyone else goes further east, but he said he knew what he was doing and he didn't like the traffic at the closer exits.
When we finally got to the Longwood area he passed the turn that would have taken us to Dana-Farber and took the the other person to some out-of-the way place, making me half an hour late. I asked what time the other person's appointment was and he said it was confidential information but since the other person got in first he was dropping him off first (even though we had been practically at my destination.)
At the other end of the day, it did indeed take two and a half hours to get home because he drove on Route 9 to the Natick entrance and also because he took a different passenger to East Springfield before bringing me home. When we pulled into my driveway around 9:15 p.m. and I was fishing around behind my seat for a piece of paper that I had dropped, he barked, "What are you doing?" and wouldn't help move the seat that had gotten stuck. Then he thrust a half-filled water bottle into my face and ordered, "Take your garbage." When I said it wasn't mine, he pointed to a bottle cap that was on the floor and said, "Pick that up. I am not your maid."
The last part of the drive in the dark night alone with this psycho made me feel so unsafe and therefore tense that when I got in the house and made a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich and put it on a plate, I knocked it all onto the floor. The plate broke, and the sandwich landed face down. Katie, who had come to South Hadley to see a friend, walked in the door and found me standing in the kitchen with the broken plate pieces in my hand.
She cleaned up the mess. I put my head on her shoulder and she patted my back. Then I made another sandwich, watched part of the Republican debate but couldn't take much, and then settled in to watch The Daily Show finale and cried a little more.
The next day I called the transportation office again and added to my complaint. I also located the Prevalent website and wrote a negative review saying what had happened. It was hard to get the episode out of my head.