Saturday, May 29, 2010

Da Limo Drivers

Audrey attends a private school that is about 25 miles away, and we are very lucky that our school district provides transportation. This past school year it was provided by a private limo company. That will change as of the upcoming summer session when she will be riding in a short-bus, but that is a story for another day. At the beginning of the school year, the company made an effort to send the same driver every day. Our first driver was Noor, who was awesome, and drove Audrey with enough regularity that he was the recipient of the obligatory Target gift card at Christmas. I was sure that he didn’t celebrate Christmas though, so I got him a gift card with snowflakes on it and put it inside a “Happy Winter” card, because, as his transition to a Gor-Tex turban would indicate, Chicago winters affect everyone equally regardless of your religion.

After the New Year though, we started getting a wider variety of drivers. There is Slava, the 300-pound Russian. Peter, who asked me to write him a reference after driving Audrey twice. Dan, who always rings the doorbell instead of waiting in the car no matter how early he is. And Cheryl-Lynn, whose wardrobe consists exclusively of too-tight terry-cloth sweatsuits and who has a stack of female empowerment books in the front seat for her downtime.

But our current favorite is Brian. Brian is one of those hyper-kinetic kind of guys who bounces on the balls of his feet and is constantly nodding. He says “Gotcha” as an affirmation and “You got it” instead of “OK”. He loves to bullshit about anything and everything, and has a put-upon tone no matter what the topic. He’ll say things like “Geez, I just got called to pick someone up at O’Hare” or “I gotta drive a buncha guys to the Cubs game tonight. Can you believe that?” Ummmm…since you are a limo driver…yes? He will hang out in our driveway and smoke a butt if he gets here especially early. When he called his dispatcher “Mohammed”, I found myself assuming that it was some sort of racial slur. I would later find out that the dispatcher really is named Mohammed. I feel like this is one of those “you might be a Chicago guy if…” kind of schticks. I haven’t seen him in any Chicago sports team regalia, but only because he dresses business formal for his job (see photo). And I'm sure, were I to ask, that he'd be quick with a recommendation for his favorite Italian beef/hot dog/coffee cake spot.

Brian has no clue about autism, but is always willing to follow directions from me that I'm sure make no sense to him whatsoever:
"Brian, could you make sure to warn Audrey ahead of time if you are going to take a different route?"
"You got it."
"She has this thing where she knows the route by heart, and it's kind of upsetting to her if you go a different way unexpectedly."
"Gotcha."

I don't always feel that I've been completely "gotten", but that's OK. He's a good guy, gets Audrey to school safely...and hopes that fachrissakes the Hawks don't blow it.

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