The holidays are suppose to be a good time. This Thanksgiving was no different. We had started a holiday tradition for the two of us given our son was with his father for most holidays. Going to a local restaurant (Cracker Barrel) proved a good decision for us as there was no clean up and the rest of the day was ours to do as we please. The past year had its challenges and we both looked forward to the break. I was looking forward to the time together to get re-acquainted – 9 months earlier I was relegated to the couch as I “snored”.

She was an anesthian, worked long days doing manicures in an environment filled with strong solvents. The work enviroment set the stage for severe migraines. The crippling head aches aggravated from fumes and stress of a “nail factory” as she called it. She would often curl up on the couch and sleep following medication. She additionally had plenty of reason for such socially as well, two previous failed marriages.

The first was to a US serviceman that use to visit her at the orphanage where she lived. Faced with being re-stationed back in the States, while not knowing each other very well, and still not having a clear command of the English language she willingly married him escaping the confinements of the life she led. Arriving in the U.S. she shortly became pregnant and the object for abuse because of such. With the child being used as tool for manipulation she begrudgingly fled, finding comfort and comradery within an Asian community in a neighboring larger city. Eventually being invited to travel with and move to the metro Washington, DC area to work at various restaurants.

With a long period of loneliness and a stretch of failed engagements with men of various backgrounds (including a native Korean living here in the US) she met her second husband. Their relationship was equally troubled with his narcissism as she proved merely to be an object of affection. This was evident in one such experience while on their belated honeymoon. Going to Cancun following the birth of their son she found herself caring for her son while he spent his time getting scuba diving lessons – the entire time of their stay. The accommodations were poor, the food worse. She lost her appetite when she found hair in her poorly prepared food. Mexican rice was not of the quality or standard she was use to eating. Eating little she endured the trip staying in the small air conditioned room carring for and entertaining their son. She eventually stopped with the affection due to his repeated similar neglect. The discovery of an adulterous affair with another woman was the proverbial nail in the coffin. The relationship abruptly ended with him venturing to live with his Vietnamese lover in California.

The medication was strong and only occasionally worked with a single dose. She seemed reasonable in her use, taking it only as a hedge when it felt like one was coming on and at other times seemingly only as a last resort. Accompanying her on her doctor appointments, English was a second language for her, the doctor only seemed interested in treating the symptoms, I had tried to get a specialist consultation. There seemed to be a reluctance on both her and the physician’s parts to really want a solution. Physical therapy to address a posture issue known to contribute to migraines eventually met with an absence of interest in pursuing. Medication seemed to be the only acceptable solution despite my concern for addiction and potential dependency and unknowingly abuse. Today was no different, her headache flared.

Coming in from a long shift of “ubering” I was greeted pleasantly with her getting ready for today’s holiday dinner despite “the headache”. I lost my principle source of income from being a part of a failed business venture 9 month earlier. Ubering was filling in the financial void for the short fall of income while I searched for a new job in a tight job market. The days and nights driving were long and tiring, but provided with enough effort sufficient to cover my half of the living expenses (groceries, cell phone bills, entertainment, meals out and miscellaneous expenses as they arose) and my personal bills (car loan, insurance, etc). There were some drastic life style changes, along with change in plans and unmet dreams as my disposable income was fractured. Enduring the challenges of ubering was a vast change over managing an IT infrastructure. Today’s challenge wasn’t money or holiday party goers, rather enduring the line at the restaurant with her irritable headache in a manageable way, adding my fatigue and hunger to the picture.

In retrospect the coincidence of working as a Uber driver and being on the couch wasn’t so much a coincidence any more.