Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Therapy a la Uber

     I went back to Springfield Mall yesterday because I was hypergraphic and having seizures. The more I wrote, the more I wanted to kept coming and coming and coming.
     So did the seizures, but they were shorter and not as fun. There is no smiling in the video I forced myself to watch later.
     The woman in the video looks like she's tired of this place, seizureland. There is no Stevie Wonder smile, and the eyes dart around instead of zoning out.
     The goofy after-effects don't hit quite so fast or hard afterward, either. There are no giggles.
     That's why I was ready to head back to the mall when my son came home around lunchtime. Three seizures is my limit, I told him.
     Seizure number 3 is when I start thinking about calling the doctor, if it comes early in the day.
     Yesterday's therapy was Springfield Mall, minus the Uber drivers from Monday.

     The conversation I had with the second Uber driver was about love.
     He talked about the woman he is with and one he lost a long time ago but didn't say how.
     That's what told me she was his favorite, the way his voice drifted off.
     His current woman wasn't quite the same, but he loved her enough to stay.
     My eyes slipped over for a closer look.
     His skin was dark brown, his hair a little gray but still mostly black. I couldn't quite tell if he was my age or a few years older.
     While my eyes wandered back to the road, the driver said he missed having someone to take to the theater or museums.
     "Someone who actually wants to stop and look at things?" I asked.
     In my mind, I pictured a woman exactly like me but with blonde hair. She had shopping bags in her hand to match the ones sitting at my feet.
     "She would rather be out know," he said, making a motion with his hand.
      I did.
      The blonde woman was out of my head. Now I saw myself, being dragged through Mayan ruins on my honeymoon when I wanted to stay on the beach the whole time.
     The Kennedy Center was no longer a few miles away but rather there, in my mind. I was so tired that night, but my in-laws babysat so we could go to the opera.
      The Uber driver talked about wanting an educated woman, someone to talk to at a deeper level of conversation.
     I get it, I said. He had no idea how much.
     A relationship, like anything, is work, he said, as I pointed out the short-cut to my neighborhood.
     He had already told me way back near the mall that he is from the Dominican Republic.
     I accidentally let out a little squeal, like a girl, when he said it. (I don't have any friends from there yet, is what I was thinking, when the squeal slipped out.)
     My mind searched for them...all the way back to college.
     I wish I could speak Spanish but am no good at learning new languages, I told him. Even when we lived in Japan, learning to speak it was too hard because the letters are different.
     Still, I had to be able to find the bathroom because I was pregnant, I added.
     "Can you say it?" he asked.
     I paused, embarrassed at first, and surprised that he was waiting for me to speak Japanese.
     Then, I did it anyway!
     He didn't laugh.
     It was silly fun, like singing a song too loud in front of my students at school.
     I asked him how long he had been in Springfield. For some reason, I assumed he had been here a long time, but he said only a year.
     "Are you going to stay?" was my next question, of course. He said yes.
     "Good!" I said, but it felt more like a "Me too."
     I offered to go inside for tip money, but he was in a hurry to pick up the next rider. He had interrupted lunch to come get me, his fifth rider of the day.
     I promised him as many stars as possible on the Uber rating system.
     That means five.