Priority Seating on the Red Line MAX

Portland,  Oregon is a great city for public transportation.
Its bicycle friendly with plenty of street rentals for visitors or those who don’t have their own.  Light rail, buses,  streetcars, Uber and taxis round out the transportation modes I have used in this beautiful city.

I learned to ride the MAX light rail when traffic and parking in the city became challenging for me. And yes I have ridden the light rail system alone and yes I have ridden it alone at night. I have been asked “Doesn’t it scare you to take the MAX?” Honestly, no. I have never been afraid .  Amazed at people’s behavior yes, afraid no,  although there have been a few weird things that have occurred while riding.  Once a woman got right into my face and screamed:  Jesus died on a cross for your sins. Repent and be saved.  Hmm, I should have known this.  Whatever I had done bad I repented of that moment!  On another ride, I watched as a grown man was crouching down then springing up like we used to do as kids playing leapfrog. This was strange, yeppers until I saw he was following a young teenager. I became worried about the kid.  The young person had a plan, though. He switched seats,  moved to another car and finally exited the train at the last moment as the door closed, leaving the pursuing frog-man with his nose smashed on the train door .

On a recent trip, there was an event that still has me pondering.

We left our car parked in a lot near the airport and traveled into the city by lightrail to the Portland Film Festival. Once entering the doors of the train, I sat in the empty seat designated for the disabled or elderly. Charlie stood nearby. Across from my seat were two women, one with an electric wheelchair also in the area marked as reserved for the disabled or elderly.

Recently returned from Japan where there are unspoken rules about behavior on the train, we were a bit annoyed. These two women held an animated conversation that left us no doubt where they were headed; court! Three stops before our destination, the little ramp for wheeled devices came out from under the door and in comes a woman riding her walker by sitting on the seat and scooting her feet.

Charlie moved from his standing position and he and one of the women offered her help
I heard her mumbling and the only intelligible words were.

Get outta my way
I phone, dammit

One of the ladies across the way said to me
“You have to move.
That seat us for the disabled and she wants to sit there”.  Just as Charlie said “my wife is disabled she has Parkinson’s” the train lurched into motion.
I stood up to move away and my purse got tangled in her wheels.  We slid as a unit backward, the woman swearing and hitting me as went.
Charlie grabbed my jacket and pulled me away. My purse came unstuck and he said, “come to this door. Next exit is ours”.
I had this strong urge to go hug the woman.  I thought that was what she really needed.
I am pretty sure she would have slugged me and swore at me some more.
Charlie helped me off the train at the next stop.
“Phew, that was interesting. I’m ok.
Not even too upset” I murmured.
Charlie’s comment “I guess there are now different levels of disability for priority seating on the max red line”
That became our joke for the day.

And still, I wonder what would have happened if I would have hugged her.   I am sure she would still have requested priority seating!

Published by Carol Clupny, author The Ribbon of Road Ahead: One Woman's Remarkable Journey with Parkinson's Disease

I am a middle aged woman with Parkinson's Disease. When I was first diagnosed I spent a lot of time researching the disease. Seeing a video of a man in the advanced stages of the disease attempting to get out of his chair and then "freezing" as he tried to walk across the room got me off my butt and moving. Great adventures on the Camino de Santiago and with TEAM Pedaling for Parkinson's across IOWA, as well as the day to day adventures of life have lead me to writing. My first novel, a memoir, was published early 2019. It is called, you got it THE RIBBON OF ROAD AHEAD. Living with the degenerative neurological disease Parkinson's, ULTREIA is a word that guides me. I have chosen it as the name of my business ULTREIA BOOKS. It comes from Latin and old French and means "unfailing courage". In the old days, pilgrims would call "Ultreïa" to each other as encouragement "Go up, go further!" Nowadays we would say "You can do this thing". It takes courage to live with Parkinson's. May I face each day with unfailing courage. Ab Here is more about me; I was living an active lifestyle riding horses, hiking, climbing and snow skiing when at age fifty I was diagnosed with Parkinsons. Retiring from my career as a speech-language pathologist I decided to “take to the road” to battle the disease. My first steps, walking out her door to the mailbox, lead to trekking over 1000 miles of pilgrimage trails on the Camino de Santiago in France and Spain. A dusty bike discovered in the garage resulted in four rides on the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa with the Pedaling for Parkinsons Team. These adventures inspired me to write a memoir The Ribbon of Road Ahead: One Woman’s Remarkable Journey with Parkinson’s Disease. I blogs about my everyday life as a middle-aged woman in the mid-stages of Parkinson’s disease. My honest, humorous, and casual narrative style brings the reader to an intimate understanding of my resilience and acceptance. My blog, sharing the name of my book ”The Ribbon of Road Ahead” can be found at After completing a Masters of Science in Speech Pathology from Eastern Washington University I received certification in School Leadership and Administration from Lewis and Clark College. I provided speech pathology services and later became a program director completing 32 years in the wide geographic expanse of eastern Oregon. Active in the Oregon Speech-Language and Hearing Association I received honors of the association and the presidential award for work on recruitment and retention of speech and hearing professionals. Il presented numerous papers and projects at local, state and regional professional conferences. I was appointed by Governor Ted Kulongoski to two terms of the Oregon Board of Examiners of Speech Pathology and Audiology, the state’s licensing and consumer protection agency. Since my diagnosis in 2008, I has become active in the Parkinson’s community as an advocate, an Ambassador for the Davis Phinney Foundation and support group facilitator for Parkinson's Resources of Oregon. I was appointed the regional patient representative for the Parkinson's Foundation’s Women with PD TALK study. In September of 2019 the Michael J Fox Foundation selected me to participate in the Parkinson’s Policy Forum in Washington DC. As an attendee at the World Parkinson Congress in 2016 in Portand, Oregon, I presnted a poster session examining the decision making process for patients considering deep brain stimulation. At the 2019 WPC in Kyoto, Japan I presented a poster on vision concerns of women with PD and lead small group discussions. Myr book The Ribbon of Road Ahead has provided many speaking opportunities for Carol. In 2019 and early 2020 she visited 24 support groups in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and California to share her thoughts on living well with the disease. In addition, she has presented talks for The Center on Aging in San Francisco, Parkinson's Place in Las Vegas, Northwest Parkinson's Foundation in Richland WA and virtually through their HOPE online program. In late 2020 I rejuvenated her voice and narrated her book. It became available as an audio book in 2021. As part of this project I read stories over the airwaves on RadioParkies Australia with DJ Madonna and in Great Britain with DJ Johnny Parky. She and her husband Charlie have two adult sons. They live on a small hobby farm in eastern Oregon. Contact Information: Carol Clupny PO BOX 128, Hermiston, OR 97838 (541) 720-4256

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