I changed some things up with my schedule.
I finally got fed up with the club scene.
For a few months, I was driving from 10PM to 3AM. It seemed like a good plan at first. There is a higher rider demand when the clubs close, Lyft offers driving bonuses for that time, and I figured that's when I could make the most money driving.
There were two major downfalls to this schedule: first and most important, I was awake when my kids were asleep, and I was asleep when my kids were awake, so I never got to see them; second, I had to deal with drunk people every night. I'm sure it must seem obvious, but there are a lot of drunk people out at night.
The early morning crowd is mostly people going to the airport to catch red-eye flights. The passengers are much chiller, and so far, no one has almost puked in my car.
One unexpected bonus from changing my schedule is that I don't take anybody through the fast food drive-thru anymore. Personally, I don't eat that crap. Garbage in, garbage out, I say. In fact, I haven't eaten fast food in almost twenty years, and part of me is really surprised that other people still eat so badly. Something about drunk people craving that nasty stuff really grossed me out, and I always resented those passengers for making my car smell like that shit.
With the new shift, I don't avoid all of the drunks, of course. The other morning, for example, I picked up a guy in the Laurelhurst neighborhood at 6AM as he was leaving a house party. That rat bastard sneaked an open container into my car, and then he spilled it on the backseat. My car smelled like rancid beer for a few days, which meant I made no Lyfts and made no money. Maybe my tolerance for drunks is lower since I quit drinking, but I really don't enjoy hanging around with drunk people.
Other than the beer-spiller, so far, so good. Of course, this new shift means I need to go to bed early, but that works out. Our kids go to bed around 7:30. Since both of our kids are pretty young, my wife and I lay down with them each night until they fall asleep. Then, once they drift off, we get up and continue with our evening. Often though, laying in a warm and cozy bed at the end of a hard and busy day, we, the parents, fall asleep, too, and then we wake up panicked, wondering, "How long was I asleep?" There's always so much we plan to do after the kids go to bed.
Now, when I lay down with the kids at 7:30, I try to fall asleep. This way, I can get up to drive at 3AM after a full night's sleep. It feels way better. I feel way better, and I avoid most of the drunks. The funny thing is I've always considered myself a night person. As far back as I can remember, even since childhood, I've fought to stay awake. I especially enjoy the early morning because that's when I feel most creative. It's hard to concentrate that late at night, though, because I'm totally worn out, and half the time I was too tired to make any art.
The time of night around 2-3AM is my favorite time of the day. There is something cosmic that happens to the brain at that time. Maybe it has something to do with being an artist. Maybe we're more sensitive to the shift. I have a bunch of artist friends who say they experience the same thing early in the morning: the world quiets down, and there is a mental static that fades from the mind when everyone for miles around you is sleeping. It's like the collective subconscious quiets, and the mind opens up and tunes into the divine, channeling inspiration from the ether.
Thankfully, through my time driving for Lyft, I've discovered that if I go to bed early, I can get up early!
Who knew, right?
Now, I get seven or eight solid hours of sleep and wake up during my favorite time of the day. I'm well-rested, refreshed, and I am in a great mood. I wish I would have figured this out years ago! My college experience would have been radically different.
There was an interesting bit of synchronicity that occurred with all of this. My wife and I like to listen to TED talks and the TED Radio Hour, and there have been several episodes recently talking about the importance of sleep for our bodies -- despite the lack of importance placed upon sleep by our society and culture. Sleep is often considered unproductive and a waste of time. The talks and radio shows are full of facts, but one of the most telling factoids concerns what happens to people because of Daylight Savings Time. In the Spring, we set our clocks forward an hour, and in the fall we set our clocks back an hour. This generally means the average person gets an extra hour of sleep for one night in the fall and one hour less sleep for one night in the spring. Here's the factoid that floored me: when we set clocks forward and hour, heart attack rates jump up 25%! Correspondingly, in the fall, when people get an hour more of sleep, heart attack rates drop 25%! This is from just a single hour's difference. I shared this information with one rider who made an astute observation: if we encouraged everyone to get one more hour of sleep every night in general, we could reduce heart attacks across the board by 25%.