There is an opportunity to win a free dinner for the next person who properly asks the question, "Is there something wrong with you?"
Points will be given on technique like timing, intonation, stance and articulation. Mostly judging will be based on intention. The winning contestant will not intend the question to mean, "Why are you in a wheelchair?"
It was my first time riding with this driver who works for Silicon Valley's paratransit system. So I was surprised when she answered my question with a question. She asked: "Is there something wrong with you?" It was déjà vu all over again. Expecting to have overlooked the shoulder harness I waited for her answer to my question.
I was pretty certain I was not suddenly suffering from auditory hallucinations when the friend who was with me, Laurent, came to my rescue and settled my doubts. He spoke to the driver and pretty soon I had a shoulder harness around me - and I was satisfied that I had not wandered into an auditory wonderland. Laurent and I had a great conversation all the rest of the trip.
Returning home a week later without a friend as companion my driver was also unknown to me. Judging from his accent and nametag I assumed that we could creatively work our way through any discussion of shoulder straps provided that we stuck to English or a couple of the Romance languages I guessed he spoke. Soon I was safely strapped in.
As we discussed our experiences living in different sections of Silicon Valley over6the past decade I noticed that his GPS had my address wrong. I asked if he wanted to use me as his map for the last quarter mile (with some transportation services that sort of cheekiness can get you in trouble back at Dispacth. ) Fortunately we made it to my house without intervention from his home office.
I realized as we got out how easy it is to miscommunicate. If he had followed orders he would have end up where the last new driver had sat waiting for me in front of the wrong house.
Thanks Alberto for taking a chance on me and not asking, "Is there something wrong with you?"
Say Alberto, "What are you doing for dinner?