Ruby Dalton is 94 years old. I like to fuck with her when I pick her up in my taxi. She hates the freeway. I know this from the many times I’ve driven her from here to there on her state-paid vouchers, usually to the senior center for bingo or sometimes to the grocery store. Today, I pick her up at her house and she climbs in. She still lives on her own. I put her walker in the trunk and get moving.

“You want me to take the freeway?” I say.

“NO FREEWAY!” she says. “It’s too far west! I suppose if you ENJOY going miles and miles out of your way, then go ahead! Take the freeway! You’re the driver! You’re the one driving, not me! What do I know? I’m just a stupid old lady!”

“Okay, I’ll take La Cholla.”

“Why don’t you take La Cholla!”

“I’ll do that, ma’am.”

When we get to La Cholla, I get in the left turn lane and sit there with my blinker on and wait for the traffic to let me turn.

“HEY! TURN HERE! This is La Cholla!” she yells from the back.

“You mean this street right here?”

“THIS IS LA CHOLLA, TURN HERE!”

“Right or left?”

“LEFT! How old are you anyway? Where’d you get your license, a cracker jack box?”

When we get to the senior center, I help her out and get her walker and ask her, “Do you need me to walk you to the door?”

“No, I’ll be all right.”

“Okay, bye now.”

As I begin walking away, she says, “I know it’s stated in your contract you’re supposed to walk us to the door! Last week, one of YOU GUYS left Mildred to walk by herself and she fell and broke her hip!”

“Okay, I’ll walk you to the door.”

“I mean, unless you’re in a big hurry or something, unless you’ve got to run, if it wouldn’t be TOO MUCH trouble.”

Later in the day, I happen to get the call to take her home. One of those days. I go in to the senior center and walk her out to the cab. We get all settled.

“So,” I say, “you want me to take the freeway?”

***

For all installments from 6 to 6, click here.

Previous installments:

  1. Traveling Mercies
  2. Next Time, Take Skyline
  3. Suicide Lane
  4. Morenci in My Rear-View Mirror
  5. A Spiritual Adventure
  6. Sonja’s Ring
  7. A Pair to Draw To
  8. Grocery Day
  9. A Day with Melanie
  10. The Hot Light
  11. Drano
  12. The Cab Knows the Way
  13. Dodi’s Luck
  14. Don’t Die Before Your Mother
  15. Bob’s Big Day
  16. Nothing But a Human Being
  17. John’s Dream
  18. God Didn’t Get Me No Weed
  19. Ramirez
  20. What’s Going to Happen to Me?
  21. Do I Look Like an Indian to You?
  22. The Maze