Cita and Opportunistic Mycobacteriosis.

Late Tuesday afternoon last week, Callaghan happened to check the skin beneath Cita’s fur on her backside, where her open wound had been. When we found that the wound had re-opened, we called the vet and arranged to take their open evening appointment slot.

At the hospital, the doctor looked at Cita and then took her to the back to have the area shaved for closer examination. Cita was returned to the room with two large shaved patches on her back end and hindquarter. We saw her old wound, open and oozing and rounded, just like it’d been before it healed. We also saw five more wounds exactly like it. It made no sense. She’d been indoors and pampered in a protected environment for four months.

The next day, Cita’s test results came back, and our baffled doctor consulted with Dr. K, who, with his expertise from many years of experience, determined that Cita was suffering with Opportunistic Mycobacteriosis. We weren’t looking at wounds. We were looking at lesions. Dr. K had only seen the disease twice in his long career.

Cita’s case was textbook.

[Click here to read about mycobacterial diseases in cats]

[And here’s another site on the subject of Opportunistic Mycobacteriosis]

[ETA: Here’s yet another one]

It turned out that just like Ronnie James, Cita was suffering with a disease caused by an environmental menace, and it was uncommon enough that it escaped detection until the end. Ronnie James had come into contact with a poisonous caterpillar in France. Cita had come into contact with a mycobacteria, most likely from soil. Cita had loved to roll in the dirt. The mycobacteria in the dirt probably entered her system through a puncture wound.

We were shocked, but thinking back, we realized that we never actually saw Cita get attacked. We’d seen her getting chased, and early in the fall, we observed tiny puncture wounds after one such incident… so when her first lesion appeared at the beginning of November (the night before we left for my brother’s wedding), we just assumed that the horrible wound had come from an attack.

We recalled how the doctor at the emergency hospital remarked that Cita’s wound didn’t look quite like a cat fight wound. We went back through our paperwork and saw that the doctor had written “dog bite,” and we remembered that she’d hazarded that guess.

All of our assumptions had been based on circumstantial evidence. We’d seen Cita instigating fights by growling at cats, and we’d seen her running away, rather than fighting. We just assumed that the wound had come from a cat jumping on her back as she ran.

(I’ve always been against the notion of cats being outdoors; my cats have always been indoors-only. Cita had been an exception because of the details of her rescue from the street. Despite our strenuous efforts, it wasn’t working out with Nenette, so we had to release her back to her backyard patio and her outdoor laundry room.)

With her diagnosis, everything made sense, especially the solid thickening in her lower belly that no doctor had been able to figure out. At one point, we followed one doctor’s advice and scheduled a surgery for exploration and to remove whatever was in there, but when we took her in for the surgery, the surgeon recommended sparing Cita the ordeal. We’d had X-rays taken, and our surgeon also took Cita back for an ultrasound. None of the tests showed a tumor or a hernia, so we agreed on a “wait and see” approach.

We’re so glad that we did. Cita’s disease was advanced, and no surgery could have saved her.

Since we didn’t know what was going on back then, we re-started a course of antibiotics, plus a painkiller. Cita got better. Her wound closed up, and she was feeling well. She was taking an anti-anxiety medication so we could ease her second introduction to Nenette.

And that medication was working: Cita and Nenette were eating breakfast and dinner together, facing each other through a baby gate under supervision. There was no growling. It was a much different story than early last summer. Cita and Nenette seemed comfortable together; we’d gotten them to the frenemy stage, and we’d planned to take the next step in mid-May.

Cita was happy and relaxed, as playful and affectionate as ever. We spent most of our time with her in her “apartment,” which she loved. She had her favorite scratch pads from the patio, all of her toys, including her precious salamander; she had multiple bedding areas and surfaces to climb. She had houseplants and her cat tree by the window, and she loved sitting on the highest level, enjoying the spring breeze through the screen and watching the birds.

When we received Cita’s diagnosis, we were told that we could battle the disease with another aggressive course of two different antibiotics over an extended period of time, though her prognosis was abysmal. We bought the first round of antibiotics, but instead of starting her on them, we read the websites and talked about the situation all night. We decided against prolonging Cita’s life with a miserable routine of twice-daily medication and discomfort; we didn’t want her last days to be terrible.

We’d given Cita the best life that we could, and now we wanted to give her the best death that we could. We wanted her passing to be happy, beautiful, and dignified.

On Thursday afternoon, Cita received a sedative and painkiller cocktail to help her slip into sleep comfortably. She fell asleep happy in her Daddy’s arms, with me kissing and stroking her face and head. The last thing she heard was us telling her how much we loved her, and me saying, “Sleep well and have good dreams,” as I’d done every night while tucking her in. Once she was asleep, we gently laid her down on the table so the doctor could administer the second injection – the one that would stop her heart. She didn’t know that it was happening.

Now Cita is at peace, but we’re devastated. She’s left an enormous vacancy in our hearts – though she’ll always be in our hearts – and home. She’d been here as long as we’ve been here.

We’re so grateful that she adopted us, so honored that we’d had the privilege to make her last few months of life happy ones. She was pampered and loved probably more and better than she’d ever been. Just like Ronnie James, Cita was pure love and sweetness. Everyone who knew her loved her. She effortlessly stole the hearts of everyone at our veterinarian hospital – the receptionists, technicians, doctors.

We asked for her cremains to be returned to us in an open urn. We’re going to scatter her ashes amongst the plants, trees and flowers in our backyard. She’d loved accompanying Callaghan as he’d go around watering everything. She loved her flowers.

 

Cita’s collar and paw prints

 

Here are the pics of Cita I’d prepared for the post that was supposed to be a kitty update post:

 

Cita at the vet.

 

Cita… starting to feel better.

 

Cita watching over our front yard from her “crow’s nest.”

 

Cita notices everything!

 

Cita falling asleep while looking down on me.

 

Cita loves her window perch.

 

And here are pics of Cita on the morning of her death…

 

Cita’s last bath

Cita on her last day.

 

Thank you all again for your good thoughts and kind and compassionate comments. We appreciate them more than you can know.

Rest in Peace, Cita.

Today’s post was supposed to be a kitty update post. I had pics of Nenette and Cita all ready to go… Cita’s wounds were healed. She was doing much better and emerging from convalescence. But on Tuesday night this week, things took an unexpected turn. Cita passed away yesterday. It happened so quickly; we weren’t prepared to lose her, never thought there was a possibility that we would any time soon.

 

Cita with me on her last day. (March 23, 2017)

 

Thank you to all who cheered her on, you who knew her, who loved her in person and from afar. I’ll share the details and more pics of her next week.

So much love.

A year later… (looking back)

Friday was the anniversary of my Major Life Change… it was a year from the day I quit my job and made a commitment to take on this writing project. I made the change on the cusp of spring (Happy Spring!), and the timing couldn’t have been more auspicious. Who doesn’t love fresh, shiny, new beginnings?

Of course we had to celebrate.

We kept it low-key, because that’s how we roll. We went for a lunch date on Friday at our favorite place near Callaghan’s work, and then for a movie date over the weekend. It was a good excuse to see John Wick 2, which I’d been wanting to see.

But I digress! Where am I a year later? I’ve been checking in with updates here and there over the last 12 months, but to recap:

Physically speaking, I’ve taken over the Room Formerly Known As Our Dining Room when the Room Formerly Known As My Office became Cita’s Room.

(“Physically speaking” is hugely important to me. I could take my laptop around the house and write, and I’ve done that and still do that, but I’m a person who needs to be grounded somewhere.)

This began innocuously enough, with just my electronics appearing on the dining room table. Things snowballed from there. I’ve even decorated the area according to my project’s theme. Writing is an art, a craft, a discipline, so if the environment needs to comply, one needs to pay attention, right?

 

After a year of writing, and everything that goes with it….

 

Some of my comfort zones have been left behind, too. Instead of having a fixed work schedule, I wake up to a unique day every day, and that’s a good thing, because it allows for fluid productivity, and fluidity is unforced. My creative energy has free reign.

I’ve recognized that for me, this kind of writing is a 24/7 job, and I’ve come to embrace that. It’s an ongoing exercise in recognizing my best hours for concentrated writing. The discipline lies in treating those times as sacred.

There’s continual reading and investigating and learning, a part of the process as a whole. For a year I’ve been eyeballs-deep in crash course after crash course on a hundred different subjects. My brain is swollen with information and (like all writers) I hope my search engine history goes unnoticed, but I haven’t felt more mentally stimulated since grad school over 15 years ago.

(The downside to this is that I’m in my head more, which doesn’t always translate to seamless social interaction. I’m flightier than ever, for one thing.)

The only concrete temporal structure I have in my week is my blog posting schedule and my gym class schedule, and that structure is non-negotiable, especially the gym part. If I don’t make it to the gym, it’s for medical or transportation reasons, or the occasional scheduling conflict.

This work has been challenging and tough from the standpoint of mental well-being, too, but it’s been positive, overall. I owe Callaghan a debt of gratitude for nudging me onto this path in the first place, and for being my number one support system and a faithful reader of the material. Also, thank you all so much for reading here and for accompanying me on this journey!

The Mysterious Case of the White-sheeted Ghost (in the Shell)

We went out to see a movie last weekend. The usual assortment of trailers rolled before our eyes ahead of the featured film. One trailer stood out. It caught me off guard. Then my surprise turned to annoyance and dismay, and I wanted to stop it there, but it kept returning to my thoughts, and now I’m just fed up.

Here’s the thing…

  • There’s a popular manga series (Japanese comics) called Ghost in the Shell.
  • Ghost in the Shell has been adapted to the big screen in a live-action production.
  • The Japanese story is set in Tokyo, Japan.
  • The protagonist is Major Motoko Kusanagi, and she is played by… wait for it… Scarlett Johansson.

Scarlett Johansson isn’t Japanese? No problem! We have CGI (digital special effects), and we can use it to make her look Asian! Because the actress doesn’t have to BE Asian. She just has to LOOK Asian. “Asian” is all about how you look, after all. Japanese are actually bananas… yellow on the outside, white on the inside. Use CGI to turn Scarlett Johansson yellow! Also, we have clever make-up artists. We can do stuff to make Scarlett Johansson look Asian, so there’s no need to cast an actual Asian woman for the lead role. Thank heavens. There’s a billion dollars to be made from this picture, and we need Scarlett Johansson in order to make it.

Except the CGI and make-up didn’t work. It just looks like the crew tried to make Scarlett Johansson look Asian.

 

The many faces of Scarlett JAPANsson

 

Scarlett Johansson thinks she’s turning Japanese/I (don’t) really think so. (If you watched MTV in the 80’s, you can name that song.)

And if you were to insist that the ethnicity of the main character in a manga/anime movie is open to interpretation (to which manga and anime fans would say perish the thought), then at least don’t keep the character’s name “Motoko Kusanagi” when you cast Scarlett Johansson, for crying out loud. Keeping the name “Motoko Kusanagi” obliterates any argument that the character shouldn’t necessarily be of Japanese ethnicity. The old “anime characters’ features are made to look more western, anyway” argument doesn’t work, either. The characters are still Japanese. Major Motoko Kusanagi is Japanese. If artistic liberties had been taken with the character’s ethnicity, then no effort would have been expended to make Scarlett Johansson look the part.

When asked about it, Scarlett Johansson allegedly said that she didn’t mind taking a role that could have been given to an Asian actress because the role “empowers all women.” I’m not kidding.

We need to talk about Hollywood’s apparent problem with ethnic representation and how they’re going to reconcile it with their pride in being the paradigm of societal righteousness. Casting a Caucasian actor to portray an Asian character isn’t new in Hollywood, and Asians aren’t the only ethnic minority group of artists being passed over. Whitewashing is an on-going insult, a symptom of the institutional racism embedded in Hollywood. That racism doesn’t look to be going anywhere. No (privileged white) actor has the right to make sanctimonious speeches about the superiority of diversity and inclusiveness in Hollywood. The hypocrisy here is staggering.

Frankly, it makes my skin crawl, this idea of casting a white actor and then using CGI and/or make-up to adjust the features to match the character’s ethnicity when you could simply cast an actor of that ethnicity.

Ghost in the shell, indeed. One thing’s for sure: they nailed the invisibility part.

Medicine Ball – “Let the Good Times Roll” (Garage gym workout!)

How long has it been since I’ve posted a garage gym workout?! I think the last time was actually on a beach, and that would’ve been in November. This is long overdue.

The digs

We gave up on keeping the mat in the garage dust-free. Let’s be real: this is Arizona, where your interior abode gets dusty quickly no matter what you do. A dust-free garage in the desert? Not going to happen. It was a losing battle, especially since we don’t have a lot of time, so we finally bought some cheap, light, and flexible slip-on shoes, which we wear only on the mat. We do sweep the mat and clean it every once in a while, but in between cleanings, footwear is a must.

Disclaimer and apology

Every time I put together a garage gym workout post, I struggle to explain things clearly and then I get to a point where I say to myself, “Self, why do you do these garage gym workout posts when you’re clearly not a trainer and therefore unable to explain how these exercises are done?” (Please to note the former and accept my apologies for the latter.)

The workout

A medicine ball is a versatile and affordable piece of workout equipment, and you don’t need a lot of space when you use it! You can work with a medicine ball for 30 minutes and get a full-body strength and conditioning workout. Ours is 8 lbs, so it’s a lighter one, but believe me… after several sets of each of these exercises, that ball is heavy.

When thinking of which exercises to do, a core and body-weight strength workout came together naturally. Doing stuff with a medicine ball involves a lot of core work, as you have to use your entire body to balance. All of your muscles are engaged. With several rounds of jump rope thrown in for a warm-up, I got some extra conditioning in there, as well.

[Sidenote: it maybe wasn’t a good idea to do this workout on the same day that I had a kickboxing class at the gym!]

I swear I didn’t intend to wear a shirt that says “Let the Good Times Roll” while doing this medicine ball workout. Haha! Get it? Total coincidence.

On with the pics. Thank goodness for the pics; I screenshot the moves at each step to help make up for my lack of ability to explain the exercises.

 

1). Jumping rope (warm-up).

I switched it up during the rounds to avoid boredom.

Jumping rope (medicine ball workout)

Jumping rope (medicine ball workout)

Jumping rope (medicine ball workout)

 

Then I started with the medicine ball:

2). Leaning core twists from horse stance.

Here, I’m leaning on the bag, but I’m not sitting on the base. This exercise strengthens the core (with emphasis on the leg part of the core as well as on the obliques), and it’s usually done against a wall. Using the round punching bag instead allows for more of a stretch, but I only twist as far as I comfortably can while maintaining my stance.

Leaning core twist with medicine ball – starting position (horse stance)

Leaning core twist with medicine ball – holding the ball static in front of my solar plexus while twisting to the side

Leaning core twist with medicine ball – holding the ball static in front of my solar plexus while twisting to the other side

 

3). Burpees with medicine ball.

This exercise involves a squat, a horizontal jump back (with the legs only), a push-up, and a horizontal jump forward (with the legs only), all while balancing your body with your hands pinning the ball to the ground. Then you jump straight up with the ball, land where you started, and repeat.

Burpee with medicine ball – starting position

Burpee with medicine ball – holding upper body firm and pinning the ball down while jumping legs back

Burpee with medicine ball – land in push-up position; do a push-up

Burpee with medicine ball – jump feet back in to starting position (you’ve held the ball firm on the ground this whole time)

Burpee with medicine ball – immediately spring straight up, bringing the ball with you

 

Then you land in the starting position and do it all again, continuously to meet your goal number of reps (I do 3 sets of 10 reps).

 

4). Slam-downs.

This is self-explanatory: you slam the ball to the ground as hard as you can, then catch it and do it again. Be sure to get out of the ball’s way after you slam it down; it will bounce up, and you don’t want eight pounds (or more) of rubber ball smashing your face.

Medicine ball slam-down – top of the move

Medicine ball slam-down – as hard as you can

Medicine ball slam-down – quickly move back to get out of the ball’s way as it bounces up

Medicine ball slam-down – catch the ball; repeat

 

5). Push-ups.

I did both incline and decline push-ups on the medicine ball. Both ways are challenging, but the decline ones are killer: you need all of your core strength to balance in the push-up position and do the push-up with your toes on the ball instead of on the floor. I did them with both feet, then one-legged. I take my time with these push-ups. I have to. It’s not easy balancing on the small, unstable ball!

Incline push-up on medicine ball – top of the push-up

Incline push-up on medicine ball – bottom of the push-up

Decline push-up on medicine ball – top of the push-up

Incline push-up on medicine ball – bottom of the push-up

Decline push-up on medicine ball – left foot on ball (top of the push-up)

Decline push-up on medicine ball – left foot on ball (bottom of the push-up)

Decline push-up on medicine ball – right foot on ball (top of the push-up)

Decline push-up on medicine ball – right foot on ball (bottom of the push-up)

 

6). Under-leg passes.

This is a straight-up ab exercise that is going to be more difficult to explain than it is to do. You basically sit on the floor in sort of a V-position and pass the ball from one hand to the other, back and forth under each leg, alternating the leg lifts to keep a smooth rhythm going. Your legs never touch the ground.

Medicine ball under-leg passes – getting into position

Medicine ball under-leg passes – right leg extended, left leg up with bent knee, holding the ball in left hand and passing it under left leg to right hand

Medicine ball under-leg passes – left leg extended, right leg up with bent knee, holding the ball in right hand and passing it under right leg to left hand

 

7). Hip thrust.

Lying on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor, rest the medicine ball on your lower abdomen and push your hips straight up. The resistance provided by the medicine ball’s weight makes this simple move an effective glute exercise.

Medicine ball hip thrust

 

8). NOT PICTURED – Medicine ball swings.

(I film each exercise individually, stopping and starting as I move from one exercise to another, and I accidentally deleted the medicine ball swing part. It’s the exact same thing as a kettlebell swing, but you’re holding the medicine ball instead of a kettlebell.) If you look up “kettlebell swing,” you’ll see what this exercise looks like. I also add to it a little by slightly releasing and catching the ball at the top of the exercise after doing a few warm-up swings.

 

Walking back:

Here’s the usual derpy walking-back pic at the end of the workout. I believe I’m holding the jump rope here, as I finished the workout with a little more jump-roping.

Walking back

 

And of course here’s the post-workout selfie… only I took this one after Sunday’s garage gym workout. I forgot to take one yesterday!

Selfie from the garage gym workout I did over the weekend.

 

La Fin.

What’s in my bag?! (Apocalypse bag.)

If you’re one of my regular readers, you may have noticed that I’ve had survival on the brain these days, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that my EDC (Everyday Carry) has evolved into a compact survival situation – I’ve been referring to my handbag as my “apocalypse bag.” I’ve only been half-joking. It’s basically a smaller version of a 72-hour bag, which is, in turn, a smaller version of a Bug-Out Bag (BOB).

There’s room left in this bag when fully packed, but it isn’t light. To solve the problem of Callaghan wanting to put stuff in my bag (thus making it heavier), I’m considering getting him a Man-Bag, Dammit (MBD), so he can carry his things around in his NutSac.

That aside, my apocalypse bag is unassuming enough. We went to Target on Monday evening, and Callaghan took this pic of me in the parking lot just to give you an idea:

 

Me with my EDC (aka apocalypse bag)

 

–See? You can’t tell that it’s holding everything AND there’s probably a kitchen sink in there somewhere, too.

–There’s an orangutan on the side because it’s a Kipling bag. I kept it there because why remove a perfectly good orangutan.

–Yes, that is my bra. No, I didn’t realize it was visible until I saw this pic. Thankfully, this top is only see-through when the camera captures me in the light of a brilliant Arizona sunset, and at this particular angle. Also because of the sunset, my black top, pants, bag, and shoes all came out in shades of orange. My hair came out red. I don’t usually filter my pics, but this was definitely a job for a filter. I went with the first one I tried (“vintage”), because in addition to kind of correcting the color, it lent a sort of noir energy to the pic, which I thought was apropos.

Here’s the apocalypse bag just sitting there:

Apocalypse bag, full

 

Here’s how I organized it:

1). Front compartment: Keys. I keep a miniature pocket knife on my key-chain, along with a bolt snap.

Apocalypse bag, front

 

2). Side compartment 1: Kleenex, gum, glasses lens wipes.

Apocalypse bag, side

 

3). Side compartment 2: Earbuds.

Apocalypse bag, other side

 

4). Back compartment: Folding fan.

Apocalypse bag, back

 

5). Middle compartment: This is my main tool compartment. It holds my folding knife, which I keep attached to the sewn-in key-clasp. My knife is a Victorinox one-handed lockblade Trekker; I covered the handle in gun grip tape for a more secure grip (pro-tips). This compartment also holds my Gerber multi-tool (mainly for its pliers, wire-cutter, and wire-stripper); portable phone charger; mini scissors; mini flashlight; spare batteries for the flashlight; lighter; nail clippers; tweezers; travel adapter for electrical outlets; pen; pencil; neon post-its. With the exception of the knife, pen, pencil, and post-its, everything is packed in protective pouches and plastic zip-loc bags.

Apocalypse bag, middle

 

6). Main compartment, which includes an inside zip pocket that holds my passport and emergency cash stored in a zip-loc bag. (Travel-ready, though I don’t know where I think I’m going with my bag that’s full of all sorts of tools and blades and scissors and whatnot. I always have my passport on me, regardless, so it’s just a habit.)

Apocalypse bag, main compartment

 

See how there’s still room left in there? There’s a ridiculous amount of stuff in this compartment:

Under the top layer (normal handbag-type things), I keep four protective pouches/zip-loc bags that hold: a). disposable rubber gloves; antiviral face masks; antibacterial hand wipes; face wipes; bandanna; gallon zip-loc bag for soiled/contaminated materials (or vomit); extra Kleenex; extra lighter; extra pen and neon post-its. b). toothpaste, folding toothbrush, dental floss. c). aspirin; upset stomach tablets; ibuprofen; Emergen-C packets; antibacterial wound spray; band-aids in three different sizes. d). protein bars, fruit & nut bars, peanut butter packets.

I can also put an empty water bottle that can be filled wherever there’s water. Sometimes I have it pre-filled. A double eyeglass case for glasses and sunglasses also fits.

Here’s the empty bag:

Apocalypse bag, empty

 

The bag is made of water-resistant nylon. It’s very light, which is good; the only weight I’m carrying is of the stuff inside. The canvas strap is thick and adjustable for length.

That covers it, for now. This is a work in progress! I’m going to add gauze, sterile tape, and some sort of thin, strong rope. I thought of adding pepper spray in case of dog attack, but I don’t like the idea of pepper spray in my bag. I also thought of a whistle, in case of drowning emergency. (I did learn something from Titanic.)

I just like feeling ready for basic emergencies. And if the apocalypse is a zombie apocalypse, I might be able to survive that with this bag, too. (But do I need a hammer? Must research.)

I almost died because my Lyft driver didn’t know how to drive. (Ride-sharing hazards – Lyft & Uber PSA!)

I’m happy to be here to publish my Tuesday blog post today, because after I posted last week Friday, I got into a Lyft and almost died. Then I wanted to tell someone in charge about my near-death experience, so the next business day – yesterday – I called the Lyft mothership and spoke with a very nice woman who promised they’ll look into my grievance without hurting anyone’s feelings, which was my primary concern.

One thing about Lyft: the quality of the customer service call was exemplary, and I only had to listen to the loop of 70’s-inspired, acoustic guitar elevator music for five minutes! In my opinion, five minutes can seem like five hours if it’s, say, Vivaldi’s “Spring” of The Four Seasons, which has been the torture hold music du jour for the last 15+ years, or for however long cell phones have existed. 

(By the way, I’m not a terrible person. I used to enjoy The Four Seasons before “Spring” became the default hold music.)

But enough rambling. I’m writing this post as a Public Service Announcement:

If you can’t drive but you insist on driving, at least don’t imperil others by signing up as a Lyft/Uber driver.

Because Lyft does not regulate their drivers in terms of driving and navigating ability. They do not examine potential drivers to determine whether they’re capable. There is no system in place to ensure that people are actually qualified to drive other people around. Lyft (and probably Uber) will check for credentials (license, driving record, etc.), and if all looks good on paper, you’re hired.

The customer service woman said that she drove for Lyft, herself, and she’d had a “mentor” who went with her on a “mock drive” before she was allowed to drive people for real. “I don’t know if they’re still doing that, though,” she said.

Well, they’re not. Callaghan drove for Lyft for a few months in 2014, and he never had any such experience. He filled out a form, and some guy did meet with him, but the guy never observed Callaghan’s driving.

Anyway. I was in the back seat of this Lyft and I texted Callaghan so if something happened, he would know why.

 

 

A Lyft driver should be able to:

  • Find you (Granted, our house is tricky to find, especially since our street sign vanished during a bro-house party a while back and the City of Tempe hasn’t replaced it yet)
  • Navigate without holding the cell phone two feet away from your face and looking at it more than you’re looking at the road as you’re driving one-handed, especially on the freeway.
  • Merge onto the freeway without almost getting hit.
  • Stay within the lane, rather than driving like you’re asleep at the wheel.
  • Change lanes (she kept trying to get into the next lane, then finally gave up when she almost got us killed twice.)
  • Drive at the speed limit, rather than below it, especially on the freeway where the flow of traffic is always slightly faster than the speed limit.
  • Focus on driving rather than trying to make small talk and glancing back at the passenger while also trying to see the GPS on your phone that you’re still holding out in front of you.
  • Be aware of other drivers on the freeway, which can’t be done if you’re glancing back and forth between the back seat and your phone.
  • Drive confidently, so you don’t have to fluctuate your speed on the freeway because you’re afraid of other drivers.

PRO-TIPS.

I did rate her accordingly, and I made that phone call to Lyft’s safety concern line. I didn’t like doing it (she was really a nice lady), but it was my civic duty. She shouldn’t be driving at all, much less for Lyft.

Thanks for reading my tale of woe, and please pass this on!