Well, It's been almost an entire year of driving for Lyft, and I've driven all times of the day in all types of weather for all manner of people. Yesterday, I even broke out the chains when I got stuck in some apartment complex in the West Hills.
When I started this blog mini-series, I said that I wanted to know what it was like to be a taxi driver, and now I feel like I had a good taste. Meeting and interacting with the full spectrum of people in my town was just as fun as I had imagined. At moments, it was also as terrifying as I had imagined. The worst ride ever, worse than almost getting shot, even worse than listening to passengers puke in the gutter, worse than all of it, was Jordan.
I picked him up at Casa Diablo around 3AM. I've mentioned that Portland is famous for its strip clubs. Casa Diablo is famous among Portland strip clubs for being the place where you can get what you want. Jordan was one of the least capacitated riders I've picked up. When I first saw him, he was trying to climb into an Uber. When that didn't work, he came over to my car. It took him over a minute to get into the front passenger seat, and then he fell out of the car trying to close the door. He seemed nice enough, though: clean-shaven, preppy dude.
Before I'd even made it to Montgomery Park, he was hugging me.
"Hugs!" He called out.
"Sorry, I'm driving." He leaned across and hugged me anyway.
"Hugs!" He called out again, when we were at a stop light.
"Sorry, the light's about to change."
He leaned across and hugged me anyway.
"Hugs!" He called again and again through Nob Hill and the Pearl.
When we pulled up in front of the Ace Hotel, his destination, I clicked the Lyft app, signaling I had dropped off the rider. In my haste to get out of there, I accidentally gave him five stars!
Jordan pulled a fifty dollar bill out of his blazer pocket.
"Do you have change? Do you have, like, thirty dollars?"
"Nope, sorry. I don't carry cash."
"Do you want to make some money?"
"I make money driving for Lyft."
"Do you want to make some money under the radar?" As he said this, he slid his hand through the air like he was wiping off a desk.
"Under the radar..." and again he made the sliding motion.
It took me a second to register what he had said. At first I was grossed out, but then I was kind of offended. He pulls out a fifty and asks for change? He thinks I'm only worth a twenty?! Piss off, shitbitch!
"Nope," I said.
"Well," he changed tactics, "do you know where I could get some pizza?"
"Sizzle Pie might be open. It's just around the corner."
"Can you take me there?"
"No. I already ended the ride."
"You could do it under the radar..."
"Do you want to get some pizza?"
"You don't like pizza?"
"I can't eat pizza."
"You can't eat pizza?"
"Nope. I'm allergic."
"You're allergic to pizza?"
"I'm allergic to wheat."
He showed me the money again. "You don't want to hang out?"
He eventually got out. I smelled like his aftershave. I went straight home.
Worst ride ever, and I had given him five stars.
I learned a few things in this year. I learned some people are creeps, I learned that I can't sit in a car for more than four hours, I learned that we are all being constantly tracked through our cell phones, and I learned that I'm a morning person. (Who knew?)
One thing I never mentioned was that I quit drinking this year, too. I quit about a week before last New Year. I didn't make a big deal about quitting. I've taken year-long breaks from drinking before. I even quit weed once. I call it "taking a break." That sounds less formal, and I don't feel so guilty if I have a sip of someone's cocktail. Part of my decision to quit was because of my plan to drive for Lyft. I thought it would be prudent to stay sober. That way, I figured, I could work at any time.
I like breaks, and although I don't think I'll keep Lyft driving, I do think I'll go another year without drinking. It's an easier goal to make than writing everyday or drawing everyday!
I'm pretty much over Lyft.
It was OK, but I'm done. I'm now looking for another part-time gig. It has to be something that leaves me enough time to draw and write every day.
Here's a little haiku:
applying for jobs:
in two-to-four sentences,
tell us ev'rything.