by Sharon Strzalkowski
How many times have you seethed with jealousy, as I have, about your friend driving off in the car without a care in the world, just because she wants to and can? No prior planning, perhaps no intended destination, just plain roaming around with a fun stop here and there.
And then there’s us public transportation users, with all the craziness and inconsistency of the transportation system, the need for planning and the effort it all takes!
But wait! Within the context of this ever-changing complex system with many links, there are so many times that I have given thanks: for just plain getting from A to B after a long day in the airport, for a funny conversation with a cab or Uber driver that lightened my day, for the enduring friendships with paratransit drivers who are family after so many years. I feel myself to be part of a large web of imperfect and mostly helpful people who are all engaged in being on a journey, whether to work, school, medical or fun places. I have been able to be a listener to strangers in a way that we all can do when the stakes are low with anonymity. I have heard wonderful stories of courage and patience, and have, for a while at least, entered into someone else’s story. And yes, being blind has given me the opportunity to receive help from someone who needed to give it, even when my dignity suffered a bit. Naturally these interactions are mostly understood upon reflection, and on the fly, and not every foray into the world on public transportation is comfortable and fun. Yet, on balance, I am grateful that I have had so many enriching experiences and am still here to talk about them.
Now, bring on the self-driving car!