talesfromthelyft

A view from the driver's seat

2014

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This is where I rang in 2014. Off Hollywood Blvd, near the W Hotel. Someone whooped, a few cars honked and that was that. Out with the old, in with the new. I didn’t know where I’d be when the momentous occasion was to occur. That was part of the charm of driving on NYE. The unpredictability, the adventure. Where would I be? Who would I be with if anyone? What would I see and do and what kind of money would I make and would I be the lucky driver to win $10,000 for driving on Lyft’s busiest night ever?

New Year’s Eve seems to set the tone for the rest of the year. Two years ago, I rang in 2012 at a gay bar and the rest of the year was equally full of parties and fun and frivolity. Last year, I rang in 2013 with my kid and a married couple and their kid, a small intimate family thing and so 2013 was all about family, small gatherings, creating deeper connections with friends. 2014 is time to work. I’m gearing up to finally shoot my first short and I can’t wait to have something tangible that I can show people. And that’s the magic word: TANGIBLE. Sure it’s great (and necessary) to do emotional work, relationship work, spiritual work, to really get to the heart of yourself and your life’s purpose. But there comes a time when it’s time to birth that shit, usher all that inner work into the outer world. And now is that time.

So who did I pick up? Girls with sleek hair and 6 inch heels. A trio of gorgeous blonde Swedes (two guys, one girl — all with dewy perfect skin and Tic Tac teeth) who were drunk and stoned and wanted to stop and get chips. (Incidentally, Swedish — when spoken by those who are drinking — sounds like rubberbands being stretched to the snapping point.) A girl who wanted to kiss her fiancee, a bartender in Hollywood, at midnight. A bummed out chick who’s sister’s boyfriend started a fight at Greystone Manor and got kicked out. A guy who lost his keys and needed me to drop him off at a friend’s with a stop at 7-11 in between. Two just-turned-21ers who wanted to go to a Hollywood bar, any bar, to see the new year in. A trio of cool stoners going to a party in Mt. Olympus (I made them all decide which Greek God they would emulate for the night). A fellow Lyft driver who was trying to do the countdown somewhere in Hollywood but just gave up because of the craziness. A roly poly African American teenage girl who snuck out of a party in humiliation after she puked on herself (She sat in the backseat cause she didn’t want to offend me and we rolled down all the windows for the ride home). My final ride was a lawyer who lived in Pasadena. He had taken a nap somewhere downtown to wait out the price surging. We got to Pasadena at 4:30 just in time to see the Rose Bowl Parade madness beginning. Cops blocking streets, people with blankets and chairs setting up their spots, buses bringing in marching bands. He was going to have to get up in 2 hours to meet his parents for the parade (his boss gave him great seats as a gift). As he patted his jacket to make sure he had his sunglasses, I had the sensation that we were wayward teenagers, stumbling home as the rest of the world is beginning its day. He wanted to go to Burger King and luckily we made it right in time before they changed over to the breakfast menu. Who wants to eat an egg sandwich or a cinnabun when you’re drunk? Hell no — you need a rancho burger!! Or two. And the spicy chicken sandwich. Oh and throw some fries in there. He bought me some fries too. The sun was coming up. Happy new year.

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