Sunday, January 18, 2015

Ride-Share to Hell and Back

I'm a ride-share driver. This isn't a rant against the company I work for, since my experiences with them have been uniformly polite, so I won't say which of the three or five ride-share companies in existence is mine.

The first thing you learn, watch your back. The company's not out to get you for the most part, it's your passengers and the street. I work Sundays, and on a recent Sunday morning, I picked up a fellow ride-share driver. He needed transport to the impound lot. He had been carjacked the night before. Some guy walked up to his car while he was waiting for a couple of drunken women to get in, knocked on his window, stuck a big gun in his face, and made off with his car. The police had found his vehicle that morning and had it towed to the impound yard for safekeeping. The street will bite you in the ass.

What would the Birdman have done? I'd call the drunks and tell them that I was putting them on the clock AND I was going to drive around the block until they were read to go. "Call me when you're ready, I'll pick you up. The alternative, I can cancel the ride. You can call back when you're ready to go." Of course, these are my after-the-bars-close-drunks-three-in-the-moring rules. I have a different set of rules for afternoons when I'm picking up my usual fares. Always have a sense of where you are and the possible dangers around you.

Doesn't mean you have to be grumpy about it, though. I'm still cheerful to my passengers, even the drunks. I still have a positive outlook on the job, but my awareness of my surroundings has increased. My awareness was already at a high level - that's just me, a friendly nice, honest guy who has known murderers, grifters, burglars, barroom toughs, and shoplifters. Me, the nice guy, one of my ex-girlfriends was a thief who stole money from the purses of other women, who ripped off furniture to furnish her own apartment. "I'd never steal from you," she said to me once, when we were naked together. I'm honest, it's a karma thing for me. I know death is always close. Act the way the universe, quantum mechanics, M-Theory, Buddha, Jesus, the Tao, and Confucius tell you to act, and you don't have to worry about death. Just another transition. It's also the way I was raised. I honor my parents by my good behavior. But most of you fucks haven't a clue. You'll do anything to anyone to get off, get high, or get money. So, to borrow a phrase from popular culture, my Force Sense is active, my spider sense tingles, I know Voldemort is nearby...always.

That's how you have to act when you drive in an urban area, or anywhere, really. Lock your doors unless a passenger is entering or leaving. Always make sure a passenger enters their house or apartment after dropping them off. Only takes a few seconds, once they're in the door, then leave. This should be doubly true of female passengers. Women in American society are a prey species. It shouldn't be that way, but it is. It's up to all of us to change that.

Second, watch out for yourself. If a certain area creeps you out, leave that place. Don't stand there fucking around with the ride app. Don't wait on a passenger whose phone doesn't work or who won't answer their phone. GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE. Don't carry a gun or knife, it will make you overconfident. Rely on your Jedi training, on what you learned in class at Hogwarts. Listen to Master Yoda, pay attention to the Force, what it is telling you. Leave that place. "Keep you safe, it will!"

Thus ends the lesson for today.