“Tis better to be alone than in bad company” – Hurt Machine by Reed Farrel Coleman
Ever been around someone who talked all the time. Incessantly. No pauses. A running monologue of irrelevant observations and mind numbing platitudes till blood oozed from your ears and your organs began to shut down.
I have. Just this past week.
I had the unfortunate responsibility to train a new driver. God got even with me for some past transgression. Having endured the madness, I’m sure I have a free pass through the pearly gates.
So for three straight days I was locked in the van with Jimmy. Eight hours a day. Twenty four hours of unimaginable hell.
Medical Transport is not rocket science. However, there are protocols each driver must follow to execute the job.
We use a tablet to receive assignments. Pick up and drop off times, addresses as well as names and other pertinent info must be accessed and various sign in techniques must be learned. All involve working with a tablet and a unique computer program.
The first two days the trainee works with only the computer. The last day they do everything and the trainer merely observes.
The first day began the nonstop assault on my nerves. Talk, talk, talk. Condescending statements. Questionable observations. All delivered with a dull, irritating voice void of modulation.
The second day more of the same. At some point, as we were cruising the freeway at seventy mph, I actually considered opening the door and exiting the vehicle.
The third day I just lost it. I crossed the threshold. I was no longer a functioning human being.
Jimmy: Have you ever eaten at McDonalds?
Me: Are you serious? Every American, at one point in their life, has eaten at McDonalds. Why would you ask me such a stupid question?
Jimmy: Well, I was going to show you the first McDonald built in Tulsa.
Me: I couldn’t care less. I don’t want you to show me anything. Shut up and drive.
Jimmy: I went to grammar school just over that hill.
Shortly we were cruising a major 6 lane highway in the middle lane doing 80 MPH. While he droned on about some innocuous subject he kept drifting in and out of the lane next to us. One driver in that lane had to slam the brakes to avoid a collision.
He was oblivious as he obsessed about the condition of man.
I asked him if he was aware he was drifting in and out of the lane?
Did not respond. Instead he began to discuss something else.
Jimmy: I think people should calmly discuss feelings and opinions respectfully so we can all learn from each other.
Something in my physiological system slid sideways. Alarms went off. Pulse quickened. Body chemistry changed. I began to drift in another dimension.
We are dangerously drifting in and out of our lane at 80 MPH and the driver is insane.
I lost it.
Me: I don’t give a damn what other people think. About anything. Do you understand? Furthermore, you need to stop talking and focus on your driving. I am not going to listen to anything you have to say. What you think.
If you so much as blink in the next 3 hours I am going to kill you. Got it?
“It’s no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense” – Mark Twain