Waiting for the Ride Home

Last week, Robert and I were driven to MBTA agency so Robert could apply for RIDE.  We were picked up at our home at 9 AM and driven for an appointment at 11 AM.  On a way, the driver was picking up and discharging other RIDE clients from Boston and its suburbs. we waited 30 minutes for the interview. It was short and pleasant. Unfortunately, after the interview,we had to wait for almost an hour for the ride back home.   Since it was a new experience for Robert, he was anxious.  However, all through our meandering  all over Boston and its suburbs Robert kept his anxiety in check, expressing it only by saying, “Home, home.”, every five or ten minutes. Waiting for a transportation back home was more difficult for Robert (and me). We waited in the agency’s waiting room, then we walked to the cafeteria (closed), returned to the waiting room only to take the elevator down to the main entrance and to wait on the benches in front of the building.  I had two sets of the language cards.  Robert let me occupied him with those cards, but not for long.  Then we returned to the waiting room and after a few minutes we promptly followed outside yet again. During those 55 minutes of waiting, Robert repeated, “Home, home” probably 30 times. Although Robert was not disruptive in any way, just witnessing his anxiety, wore me out.  The only thoughts that remained in my drained brain were, “Where is the IPAD when you need it?  “Why didn’t we take it with us?” IT would be so much easier to wait if Robert were occupied with his Netflix. Where is the IPAD when you need it?”

Whenever Robert said, “home, home” I responded telling him that we would go home when  the car would come for us.  That was not much of the assurance, as many cars with large logo “RIDE” displayed on their sides had already arrived and left without us.

Just for the sake of my own sanity, I decided to at least use this opportunity to practice elapsed time. During the last 20 minutes of waiting, whenever Robert said, “Home, home” I showed him the time on the cell phone and asked him to count how many minutes until 12:10, the time of our scheduled ride.  First I asked to tell how many minutes to noon and then I told Robert to add 10 more minutes to that number.

It did not go well at first. Robert was distracted and did not understand the purpose of doing the same exercise we had done previously at home.  I don’t think he exactly grasped that purpose by the end either, but every time he asked for home, I followed with the same routine.  And it got easier.

It was 7 minutes to 12:00 and 10 more.  17 minutes.

It was 6 minutes to 12 and 10 minutes after.  16 minutes.

It was 3 minutes after 12, so how many more to 10 minutes after 12. A moment of confusion. . Robert can easily in his mind subtract 3 from 10. He can also subtract WITH the piece of paper 12:03 from 12:10, but here he had to subtract that without paper and pencil.  It is almost the same, but it is also very different task. I helped.

It was 4 minutes after 12, so how many more minutes to 12:10.  it went better but with not exactly.

Two more tries. Robert  became annoyed with those exercises and to free himself from the obligation to count elapsed time, he stopped (for a while) to say, “Home, home.”

I did not mind a few calm minutes of waiting.  Another car with RIDE logo splashed along it side arrived.  Robert got up.  “Home, home?”

As soon as driver called his name, Robert was at the van’s door.

He repeated, “Home, home.”   again during the long ride home, but as he noticed that the car was going in the right direction, Robert satisfied himself with looking through the window.

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