“Good work, Randy,” I say to my dog. We tiptoe down the icy steps. I’ve got Randy’s leash in one hand, the elbow of the paratransit driver in the other and my laptop on my back. “Good work, Randy.”
“Randy’s your dog?” The driver chuckles. “That’s my name too. All this time, I thought you were talking to me.”
Together, we slip and slide and walk and ride to work and home from work. And that’s how we get through this winter in one piece.
I figure the 120 or so miles I’ve ridden rather than walked saved me from frostbite and hip fractures. And I consider my choice to use paratransit a sign of maturity. Used to be, I’d walk through a blinding snowstorm just to prove something silly about blindness. But I turn 64 this week and I need to act my age.
Paratransit used to be a sign of weakness. Today, I’m more practical, less prideful. I like door to door. I like three bucks a pop. Sure, I could ride the city bus. But it’s twelve blocks to and from the bus stop. A lot of bad can happen in twelve blocks. Fall down and hurt yourself and in no time you’re frozen to death and covered in snow. Chicago got seven feet this winter. I figure I moved 30,000 pounds of it off my sidewalk. No wonder my back aches. But I’m not laid up in a body cast or hobbled with half my toes frozen off.
The downside of riding: Randy (the dog) and I put on five pounds each. But it’s springtime and we’re walking again. We’ll shed the weight in no time. The weather’s dry and the track’s fast. Just steer clear of the potholes. Good work, Randy!