... the journal

The Guest
Refrigerator Door

These aren't exactly magnets, but they were off of a wonderful wall at my friend diane's house in England...and there are a bazillion of them.

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For those with bad eyes, the caption says : "Though the bathroom mirror could never lie, Dot consoled herself with the thought that it could be smashed to pieces with a chair leg."

* Discussion *

Talk about it here.


Finished Sarum
by Edward Rutherfurd

Finished Shattered
by Dick Francis

Looking for a new book


60 Minutes


Samples of two of the
slide shows I've been making
can be downloaded from
this ZDNet page

and four more are posted at Beechbrook Cottage

Pictures from our The England and Orkney trip are on my own Club Photo page.

Not to be missed:  Steve has uploaded some of his new songs to the web.  Check 'em out

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That's it for today!

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8 October 2001

I have now worked for Breaking Barriers for about two years, I think. In that time I've driven countless clients and until today I only came across one who was such a bad experience I had her name written in big letters everywhere: I WILL NOT DRIVE BRENDA! This woman was pleasant enough, but took major advantage of my good nature and it ended up being such a disasterous situation that I have not driven her again.

But by and large the people have all been pleasant and grateful to have someone help them out. Some, like Priscilla, grow to be friends. Others fit in varying places on the sliding scale of my "favorites." There are some I drive once and never see again, for one reason or another. There are some for whom I am the regular driver. Some are garrulous, others are silent. But mostly it's been a pleasant two years.

Today seemed like it would be easy. Long, but easy.

Sam from Breaking Barriers (I mention her name so she can have another thrill at being mentioned in my journal) called to ask if I could drive a woman I'll call Doris (I call her Doris because I was told that was her name, and later found out it was not) down to the prison to visit her brother. Sam figured that I'd taken Priscilla there several times, so I should know the ropes.

I said I would do it--it's an all day thing, but I was feeling generous. I also figured that this could be an extra trip for Priscilla, who is always so grateful for the chance to visit her son, who is serving a life sentence there.

I called Priscilla to offer her the chance to come to the prison. At the time she was embroiled in negotiations with the police about her mother's condition. They had discovered the woman was the victim of elder abuse and wheels were being set in motion to give Priscilla custody of the woman, and so Priscilla wasn't sure if she could go to the prison on Sunday or not, but would get back to me.

In the meantime, Doris called me to make the arrangements for me to pick her up. She wanted to be at the prison at 10. I told her that was a bit early. She lives on the far side of Sacramento, a good 40 minute drive from here and the prison is a 30 minute drive in the opposite direction (that's retracing the original 40 minutes and adding 30 for the additional distance to the prison). We agreed that I could pick her up at 10. She seemed OK with that plan. I told her that there might be someone else going with us, but apparently she never heard me say that.

Priscilla was able to go after all, so I picked her up first. Now Priscilla lives about as far north of the center of Sacramento as you can go without going out of Sacramento and is about 40 minutes from me. Doris is about as far east as you can go without going out of Sacramento and is about a 30 minute drive from Priscilla.

If you imagine a giant Y within me at the base of it, Priscilla would live at the top of the left fork and Doris at the top of the right fork and the prison would be farther down the base from where I started. But OK, I knew that would be the situation and was prepared to do a lot of driving.

I first picked up Priscilla and then we drove to Doris' apartment. She greeted me at the door by opening it a crack and sending me back to the car to wait for her. Pretty soon she came sashaying out carrying a huge sack. I introduced her to Priscilla, who told her that they wouldn't let her take the sack into the prison with her. She ignored Priscilla and told me that she didn't realize there would be someone else driving with us.

We got into the car and Priscilla and I both tried to be friendly to her, but she acted like Priscilla was dirt under her shoe. When Priscilla tried to make polite conversation, she muttered but never actually spoke words. She stared out the back window.

She wasn't sure where her brother was incarcerated--there are two "campuses" (for want of a better word). The medical facility houses inmates with medical problems--Priscilla's son has sickle cell anemia, for example--and the regular prison houses inmates without medical problems. When Priscilla offered to interpret the paper she'd received, Doris just said "I'd prefer not to show it to you."

Doris said she wasn't sure which facility her brother was in and then said, accusingly to me, "you said you KNEW where it was." I tried to explain about the two different facilities, being back to back. She put her nose up in the air and didn't speak again for the trip, except when we were approaching the turnoff when she said we should try the medical facility first (turns out that was the right place).

Priscilla always stays until 3 p.m. with her son, because often she has to wait an hour or more to even get into the facility. When Doris heard that I was going to pick them up at 3:30 she threw a fit. SHE wasn't going to stay there that long and SHE wanted to leave in an hour and I HAD to come back in an hour to get her. She kept saying "I didn't realize there would be someone else coming with us or I would have made other arrangements."

I wasn't up to fighting with her, so told her I'd get her in an hour, take her home, and then come back and get Priscilla. (This would mean a little side trip of about 80 miles for me). Priscilla said that wasn't right and she would cut her visit with her son short and would be there at 12:30 when Doris demanded I return. I tried to argue with her, but she was adamant that she didn't want to cause me any extra work (would that Doris had been that considerate).

I left them off and started to drive off when I hear Doris screaming "HEY! HEY!" and running after me. Surprise, surprise--they wouldn't let her take the bag in to her brother. Nor her purse. All the stuff Priscilla tried to tell her.

She stuffed everything in the back of the car, and in the process completely mangled my camera bag, which was on the floor.

I started to drive off again and there was the "HEY! HEY!" again as she ran toward the car with her arms waving in the air. I gritted my teeth and muttered "my name is Bev" but didn't say that to her. She needed to get money out of her purse. When she did that, I sped off so she couldn't think of something else she needed to get.

My plans had been to drop the women at the prison and take my hike around the lake, a 2-hour or more trip. But since I had to come back in an hour, there wasn't any way I could do that, so instead I went to CompUSA and spent money.

I returned at 12:30, as promised and Priscilla was there, but no Doris. Priscilla had not been able to see her son, because they kept her waiting and had only just then let her know she could go in and see him. She was near tears because she was right there and couldn't see him.

We sat in the car to wait for Doris. And we waited and waited and waited. Finally at 12:45, I told Priscilla to go see her son and that Doris had just lost her chance. She'd have to wait for Priscilla to have her visit with her son.

Doris sashayed out at 1 p.m. No apology at all. She was upset that it took her so long to get in that she only had 20 minutes with her brother and that she didn't realize they'd make her wait. I mentioned that she should have talked with Priscilla about how it all worked, and that Priscilla could have told her about the frequent delays. I also told her that it was too bad she hadn't stayed with her brother because since she was so late getting out, I told Priscilla to go see her son.

She was definitely not happy about that. But now I was not in a mood to make the 80 miles round trip to suit her convenience, so told her she could either wait until 3:30 for Priscilla or I would be happy to drive her to a bus station so she could get home by bus.

She disappeared back into the prison. I thought she was going back to see her brother, but apparently she couldn't do that, so she was just waiting inside instead of outside.

I found myself a spot under a tree in the cool breeze and read my book until Priscilla came out. Priscilla felt much better because she'd had her visit. Doris was tight lipped. When we got to the car, Doris elbowed Priscilla out of the way and said "I have to sit in front to stretch my legs." Priscilla, open mouthed in surprise, got in the back seat and we started to drive off, when I see Doris reaching for the adjustment lever under the seat and she slid the front seat all the way to the back, jamming Priscilla's legs. Priscilla let out a shriek and I stopped the car and pulled over to the curb and demanded Doris put the seat back where it was. I haven't had to do something like that since the kids grew up!

The rest of the drive home, Doris sat in stony silence. She didn't say one word.

When we got to her house, she got out of the car and though Priscilla was getting out of the back to move to the front seat of the car, Doris slammed the front car door, turned her back, and stormed off without so much as a goodbye to either of us.

So my "do not drive list" now says DO NOT DRIVE BRENDA OR DORIS. I was trying to be charitable, to understand that she had never visited a prison before, so was probably embarrassed by that. But I'm afraid that my charitable thoughts ended when I remembered how unkind and downright rude she was to Priscilla. There's no cause for that no matter how sick or embarrassed you are. Priscilla is worth more than Doris any day, no matter what their respective economic classes are.

One Year Ago:
Light Just One Little Candle

Some pictures from this journal
can be found at
Club Photo

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Created 10/05/01 by Bev Sykes