Wow, time marches on. It doesn’t wait for anyone…and yet we push ourselves to the ends of our existence, to get a larger piece of it. Strange…no?
Well…about 2 weeks back, I had an experience that left me speechless…which is pretty hard for me. It also left me with a lot to think about in terms of perspective, and life.
So, as some of you know, I’m a driver for the Lyft ride-share community, or a Lyfter. Not familiar with it? Google it. It’s a new-ish service at the forefront of the sharing economy.
Not familiar with that term, well allow me:
The sharing economy (aka the share economy, the shared economy, the mesh or the collaborative economy) refers to economic and social systems that enable shared access to goods, services, data and talent. These systems take a variety of forms but all leverage information technology to empower individuals, corporations, non-profits and government with information that enables distribution, sharing and reuse of excess capacity in goods and services. A common premise is that when information about goods is shared, the value of those goods increases, for the business, for individuals, and for the community.
Source: Wikipedia – The Sharing Economy
So, I was out and about Lyfting, and I picked up a guy and 2 of his friends. We’ll just call him the guy. So, they were out and about, having a good night, drinking, etc. So, we drop the 2 friends off, and I’m taking the guy to his address, which is probably about 15 minutes away.
We’re chit chatting, and he is offhandedly saying, “Man, I love my friends.” I’m attributing this sentimentality to the residual effects of alcohol consumption. He then looks over at me and says, “Can I tell you something?”
“Of course you can” I replied. I like to think I’m a good listener…at least some of the time. I then waited to see what he was going to say. I was expecting something along the lines of “I came out to my friends today” or something along those lines, when he quietly said,
“You mean in the Sylvia Plath sense of we are all dying one second at a time, or do you mean faster than the rest of us?”
“I have cancer. I’m dying.”
Wow. What do you say to that? What can you say to that? So, I just sat, and listened.
He was silent. I said “Well, treatments are getting so much better these days. So much more effective.”
“Yeah” he said, “but mine isn’t working. My treatment isn’t working, and my condition is getting worse, and no one knows….but you.”
And there in lies the crux of what this guy was experiencing. His friends had taken him out that evening to see his favorite band, and when to some of his favorite bars, and he didn’t have it in him to tell them that his radiation treatments and medication were having no effect on his cancer.
“Not even my mother knows. I just can’t tell her.”
Wow. I felt the gravity in the car seem to increase tenfold. That explained the bald head, and the haggard look, even though a few minutes earlier, he was obviously in a state of joy.
“You’re probably not gonna Lyft me any more after this”
“Don’t be silly my friend, you’re an awesome guy, and you’re gonna give me a big fat tip because I’m awesome, so why wouldn’t I Lyft you again.”
Conversation went on. He told me about the copious amounts of medications he had to take, and the pain. “It hurts so bad, every day.”
I teared up at moments, but held my composure, because I felt at that moment, he needed someone to be strong.
We neared his house, and we sat in front of his house talking a few more minutes. He confessed that the only reason he hadn’t taken his own life was because of the effect it would have on his mother. That would be the only thing worse than her having to see him succumb to his sickness.
As he exited my car, I tried to think of something that could possibly lift the mood, end it at least on an even keel, all I had to offer was “I’ll see you next time my friend.”
He then looked at me, and tears started streaming down his face, and he said “I hope so…I hope so.”