Some drivers say the drunks are your golden ticket to making ride sharing lucrative and profitable but I haven’t spent enough time servicing that market to provide a definitive answer.
It is by choice and not by lack of opportunity that has placed me as the proverbial fence sitter.
This isn’t my full time gig and if I meet 11% percent of my plan for world domination it will occupy a small shelf inside my mental closet of accomplishments.
That’s because I don’t find it to be particularly enjoyable but that is probably because it doesn’t feel like I am earning enough to make it exciting.
You’re Pretty Smart
I looked at the bank account and our budget and decided they both needed to be adjusted and figured the fastest way to do so was to find a way to make some spare cash.
A dear friend from back home had ample experience driving for Lyft and Uber and pushed me to join because of the freedom it provides.
“Drive when and where you want. You can make some good cash and it is easy, especially if you take advantage of the promotions for new drivers.”
I called him one day to say I had signed up and he suggested I join a local Facebook group to get some insight into what the locals are doing here in DFW.
“Those groups are usually good sources of intel. They’ll help you figure you the hot spots and give you some tips you can use to avoid making mistakes.”
I thanked him for the advice and set off to find a group or two to join.
It didn’t take long to find one or to discover the group I had joined was chock full of cranky people, most of whom would say they didn’t want to give out too many tips because we all compete with each other and newbies should be forced to learn the same way they did.
The first few rides I gave were a little nerve wracking and I was self conscious of all I did. As it happened two of those rides took us through pot hole central and I found myself wondering if the universe was intentionally screwing with me.
“Driver, is there a smoother road we can take? This is really bumpy.”
“Sorry, I think it should get smoother in a moment.”
I stretched the truth there because I didn’t know if it would get better, I just hoped it would.
“Driver, thank you for taking me. You know, you are a smart guy. I bet you could do ok in college, You ought to think about trying it.”
I pulled over and asked her hold old she was.
“I am 25. I graduated from UT two years ago with a degree in Business.”
“I am 48 and I am about six units short of a BA in Communication. I have a BA in Journalism and am slightly short of a minor in Political Science. I have a full time job and do this for beer money. It is what you do when you have responsibilities outside of yourself.”
It was probably said with a harsher edge than necessary but I was tired. I had put in a full day at the real job and wanted to call it a day in general.
But I had turned on the lights on the second gig because I figured if I put a couple hours in several times a week it would add up pretty quickly.
I have always been pretty good at figuring out the angles and how to work smarter so I figured in addition to the spare cash I’d figure out how to be better at it in general.
And since I didn’t have to do it to make ends meet I figured I didn’t have to listen to some girl lecture me about how a college degree might make my life better.
Hell, ask my almost 17 year-old and he’ll give you my speech, not as well as I can but pretty well nonetheless.
Buy A Bar or Bye A Bar
Many years ago I heard about a guy who left the tech world to run a bar in Deep Ellum.
I don’t know if I ever knew the name of the place but the few times I have picked people up or dropped them off out there I have wondered if I was at his joint.
That is assuming it is still his, if it ever was.
Don’t look for any snark in that last line because there is none. I don’t remember whether he owned it or if it was just one of those moments where a person leaves one career for something that is 180 degrees different.
This time around my passenger is alone and it is initially not clear to me if he is drunk or just sad.
Since I am not a social worker nor bartender neither state is of huge importance to me, not because I lack compassion but because ideally this is supposed to be a short ride.
Rumor has it if you give a series of short rides down here you can make a few bucks pretty quickly and that is what I want to do.
This guy gets into the car and slumps in the seat.
He is lost in thought so I prompt him to put his seat belt on and we take off.
Ten minutes or so into the ride he tells me he doesn’t think he can get out of the car.
“She dumped me. Left with some other guy and told me we are done. I can’t get out. Life sucks.”
“How old are you?”
“I am 27 and don’t tell me there are other women because I have dated others but never loved anyone like that. She is special.”
I nod my head and keep driving. Turns out we’re not going to another bar. We’re headed for Hurst. He is going to be in the car for a while and unless I am mistaken he might have slurred those last few words.
Hopefully he doesn’t get sick or spend the entire time drowning me in his special sunshine.
“Dude, Karen just fucking dumped my ass. I am so fucked. Where are you? Can I come hang out?”
I don’t know who dude is but I can tell he is not available for hanging out or conversation because a minute after the call starts it is over.
“Do you know who Pablo Neruda is? Google this quote (the one in the picture) and save it for later. Write your girl a note and include a line or two from it.”
She Said Never
She said we’re done forever and that she’ll never talk to me again.
“I have heard that more than once and very few women have followed through with it.”
“But what if she means it?”
“You’ll pick yourself up and keep going. It might sound impossible but there will be another. You just have to keep going.”
“Dude, don’t take this the wrong way but women are different now than when you were my age. It is not that easy.”
“If you were my little brother or my son I’d slap some sense into you ‘cuz that is dumb. Technology has changed things a bit but it is still about talking.
Trust me, I have been dumped and I have done the dumping.
It was either me asking why or them doing the same.”
“What did you do if they refused to answer?”
I laugh and tell him the last time I got dumped I wasn’t given a real reason. It was just an excuse and I never got real clarity on why.
She Is The 982,873 Most Beautiful Woman in Dallas
I am not sure how I ended up in this conversation. Aren’t these things supposed to happen on an airplane?
Maybe that is why I wear headphones when I fly.
“Did you try to get her to tell you what happened?”
“I did but I don’t think I ever got an answer that satisfied me. If you want to piss of a woman tell you don’t believe her when she tells you something.”
This time he laughs and tells me that sounds like a good way not to get her back.
“Depends on what you are trying to do I guess. In that case I think I figured brutal honesty was my best friend. We were as close as people could be, maybe too close. Sometimes love is not enough and sometimes it needs time apart so you can figure things out.”
“That sounds like something a greeting card writer would write.”
“If this driving thing doesn’t work maybe I’ll give Hallmark a call.”
“So what do you think I should do?”
I tell him I can’t really answer that for him and that he needs to figure out what is going to make it possible to get up in the morning and do what he needs to do.
“Everyone is different. Maybe you start by saying she is the 982,873 most beautiful woman in Dallas.”
That makes him laugh and he asks if that is how I would rate whomever I was referring to.
“Nah, I’d say she was the 49th.”
“Why 49th? Why not 1, 7 or 987th?”
“Because it would make her a little crazy trying to figure out if I was serious or not and I can be a bit of a troublemaker. She’d have to talk to me but she might intentionally refuse. Back in the day we could argue about who was ignoring who.”
I Don’t Want To Get Out
“You’re a good storyteller. I don’t want to get out of the car. Tell me more about her.”
I smile and say he ought to hire me for another ride.
“C’mon, tell me something else about her and you. If she were here what would she say?”
“She might tell you I am crazy and that I have misrepresented it all or she might agree with most. I’d say something about letting her think she was the boss and she’d make a face and say I am crazy.
But the thing is I can’t tell you if she would say “crazy” and mean it with love or if it would be serious. Women are a mystery, hopefully one you enjoy.
Now get out and go live your life. Take it one day at a time.”
“And what happens if I say I won’t get out?”
“You weigh about a buck thirty. I throw more than that around in the gym. You’ll get out of the car whether you like it or not. Won’t be pleasant though.”
He gives me a half smile and says he doesn’t think I am kidding.
“Go, don’t forget the big tip for the therapy session.”
He exits the car and a moment later I am heading for the highway but only after I turn off the App because I am ready to go home.
Twenty-five minutes later I pull into my garage and think about whether this gig will give me real cash or if it will lead to a book of short stories about my experiences as a driver.
Could be interesting.