talesfromthelyft

A view from the driver's seat

Happy Halloween!!

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Halloween in LA is like Christmas in that weird little German town that basically does it all year long. Sometimes during the rest of the year, I’m not even sure if someone’s hip or homeless or if they’ve just sprung out of a time machine from another decade. (Stonewashed pegged jeans AND white Keds AND hair in a scrunchie? Young lady — are you for real?)  Their “costume” is THAT good. This year, the festivities started a week early.

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They were going out to a club in Hollywood on a Sunday night. I didn’t realize they were in costume at first. But apparently this is what a sexy nerd + jock look like. Although I don’t believe sexy and nerd have ever belonged together.

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They won tickets to the special invite only Arcade Fire show at Capitol Records. I assumed they were a couple but then the chick casually made a comment about a brunch spot that she and T had gone to when were going out. Turned out, they went out for a year, broke up in June, yet have remained the best of friends. He said the break up lasted all of 15 minutes. Then they smoked a bowl, had a beer, and invited a friend over to hang out. For some reason, I found this weirdly inspiring. I mean, it’s kind of the best break up story ever.

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Then on Halloween proper, I drove this lovely couple from Silverlake to the heart of the horror that is the West Hollywood Halloween Parade so that they could go see Yacht play. There were lovely — the drive was not. (Although I did like the fact that the guy termed my driving style “gently aggressive.”) After I dropped them off, I was stuck in the heart of the madness. An alley behind Santa Monica Blvd thronged with thongs and wigs. The Lyft system was so overloaded by requests it basically exploded. Fire trucks and ambulances wailed as they too sat in traffic. A few guys jumped out of their truck and directed us to back up, pull over, like we were real live Tetris pieces. (Fun Fact: Yes Virgina, all fire fighters are hot hot hot, even the fat old ones, as my friend Christine K said while staring into the fire and tripping on mushrooms.) So I just gave up. I put that shit in park and sat back and watched the rivers of humanity sweep by.

Finally a request came through. A guy named M. I called him and told him I couldn’t get to him, so he would have to walk to me which he agreed to. When M and his friend strolled up, I didn’t know for sure if it was really them. Were they just pretending to be M to get the ride? They were young young and Persian from the looks of it. Both had glassy, strange eyes and kind of looked at me open mouthed when I asked them were they were going.  Were they serial killers? They said they were going to Beverly Hills so now I knew they were Persian and hopefully not serial killers. Still there was something off about them. The kid in the front seat immediately started smoking an e-cigarette without asking, then fiddled with the radio. Turning to another station and turning up the volume. WTF? Don’t you know — you never touch those dials without asking first? Were these kids raised in a barn? Perhaps they suffered from that Persian thing of being rude to the “service.” Great — not only was this going to be a long ride. I was going to be treated like the hired help. But suddenly something shifted. I started asking questions. Found out they were high school seniors. (Ah, which explained the glassy open mouth inability to communicate. They just didn’t know how to talk to adults who weren’t their parents or teachers yet. Or they were just stoned.) And then I asked what music they were into. The kid in the front seat put on some Drake. Then he selected One Direction. “I like to sing,” he told me. “Well then sing!! Come on! Show me what you got!” So a 17 year kid serenaded me with “Story of My Life.” “Isn’t this an awesome song?” Um. Not quite my thing but I offered, “It’s perfect. It’s what being young sounds like.”

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Now this next group I picked up had been to the West Hollywood Halloween festivities and were done and done. How done? The boy dropped his wallet in the porta potty. That’s right — he dropped it like it’s hot. Poor thing was just gonna leave it but his friend reminded him that he needed his ID for the next party. So he had to wrap his hand in toilet paper, take the plunge (cause it wasn’t floating on top), and pull it out of the muck and mire. Thank god, no one had taken a dump.

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The rest of the night wasn’t bad. Normal drunkies. There were 3 dudes that I took to McDonald’s who tipped very nicely (he solemnly told me to remember him as the Black Man That Kept His Word) although I had to listen to one of them make booty call arrangements. His exact words to his friends. “I’m gonna make her come. Then I’m gonna make her come.” He got on the phone: “No, just stay there. We’re almost there. I’ll get you a burger girl! Don’t leave.” When I dropped them off (they were all roommates), there were indeed two girls sitting on the porch. Apparently there are some things you need to pick up. Others things just get delivered.

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By the way, in the spirit of the holidays, I dressed up too. Here’s proof.

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