Push It

by chelseajin

It seems like everyone has gone through really rough times in their life. But you’d never suspect a complex story when you first look at someone. If they’re relaxed enough, you assume things have gone more or less OK.

When I first met Edgar, he was introduced simply as the MA and truck driver. But this guy has traveled and lived all over the US. He had grown up around mechanics and had a familiarity for automobiles, and naturally got into trucking. That alone is a job I can’t even imagine properly. Being given a few days to cross multiple state lines in this huge semi. Alone. Bored. Maybe sleepy. I’d love to stop and take pictures on the side of the road, but that really isn’t an option when it’s your job to get to your destination fast and you could be carrying perishables.

It kind of explains Edgar’s fixation with the phone and texting. I mean, what else can you do while you’re driving than have a long conversation with someone?

It makes me think of the Transformers when he told me and Betty about how he and his buddies would resolve road issues. On a 2 lane road, if someone wouldn’t let him pass, he’d radio in his friends to cut ahead and block the other truck off, then they’d have words with him.

For a few years, he also did some oil rigging in I think Wyoming, the details are a bit fuzzy now. Wyoming?! Another state that I know exists but I don’t ever think of. Being on 24 hour call to drive and separated from his wife and kids must have been torment. It makes me think how petty it is when college kids tell each other they “can’t do long distance”.

Somehow Edgar got into health care and was working as an in-home care assistant before he came to the Mobile. I guess these instances stuck out in his mind as particularly disturbing: a naked old woman who always got up to smear her stool on the walls, and an elderly man who was sexually flamboyant and would always be masturbating.

Then there’s Ryan, the new MA, completing his hours on the van. He’s obviously going to school and also has a part-time job driving the Green Cab in town. I don’t know if he ever sleeps. Driving a cab (just like taking out loans for medical school with 8% interest) sounds a lot like indentured servitude. He starts with -$114, so he has to make back that amount and then some for it to matter any.

I feel pretty high-brow saying that I’ve done part-time work tutoring. It’s a clean, painless, high-paying, cash job. Money is money in the end, but the work you do to get it makes you appreciate it in more ways. I’m thankful that my family is financially stable and in the middle-class. That I could make some pocket money to spend on whatever I wanted instead of having to put it to never-ending rent or car payments.

Betty of course has her own story. She started nursing school later in life and had to literally go to extreme lengths to attend school, driving some 150 miles one-way in another town. With husband and kids too? I just can’t believe how much one person can handle and then push themselves to do more. Willpower is amazing.

I had originally had this draft with notes on how inadequate I felt compared to these people, but I’ve changed my mind about it. It’s not productive to compare and then lament. It should stand as an inspiration for your capacity to do more. It’s too easy to get stuck in this downward rut and I’m actively trying to lift myself out of thinking that way.