talesfromthelyft

A view from the driver's seat

How did I get here?

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In the immortal words of David Byrne, “How did I get here?” I graduated from an elite boarding school, went to an esteemed university. I held down a corporate job for 10 years and had a corner office high on the 24th floor looking down onto Times Square. I had a 401 K plan, a condo, a marriage, a child. And then I moved to LA a few years ago and everything changed. That’s the funny thing about change. You can’t change just one thing. No, you change one thing and like dominos, it all comes tumbling down. So four years later, no job. No marriage. (But I still have my amazing child!)

I took a few years to wander. To write whatever I wanted without regard to financial gain.  To feel free to lay on the floor and cry for hours or go out all night and dance until the sun came up. But now it’s time to come out come out wherever I am. I just directed my first play. I’m about to write and direct my first short film. I’m pitching a 100K feature. I started DJing. I still get copy writing gigs. I edit college essay applications. And now I’m a Lyft driver. On one hand, it’s all about the money and the freedom. The time to write is my number one priority so having a regular day job again wasn’t appealing. Being able to dictate my own hours, especially with my ever-shifting custody schedule, was also important. And here’s the last and maybe most important reason I decided to start Lyft driving. Because I want to have an adventure.

For 10 years I did the office thing. I rode the elevators up and down and up again, I did the small talk about the weather, I learned to navigate the high school mind games (who’s in, who’s out, who’s porking who, who made an ass out themselves at happy hour last night). And all of it was useful – I learned the important act of detachment as well as how to steal office supplies. But now it’s time to do something different. To do something that I’ve never done before.

I can imagine my Korean mother sighing, then exclaiming, “What? You are cab driver? After all I do for you!!!” as she rends her clothes and beats the floor with her fists in a ritual act of despair and grief. Yes and no mother. I’m not picking people off the street – it’s a community, people are vetted. But yes, I’m driving a car to make money. She loves me but she thinks I am crazy and maybe she is right. But as a writer, as an artist, I am insatiably curious about the human condition. How is it possible that we can all be the same yet different? (Yeah! Snowflakes!) So the Lyft thing is strangely appealing. I have no idea who I’m going to pick up, where I will go, how I will spend my days. The one thing I do know is that every day I will get at least one story that will fascinate me. So fuck what I should be doing and yes to not knowing. Yes to being crazy. Yes to doing something I never imagined I’d be doing. Let’s see where the road takes me…

 

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