Deer Diary, This is Why I Drive
This will be my third week driving for Uber/Lyft, but mostly Lyft. Uber is confused right now as I opened a driver account in Portland, Maine, and for some reason they are taking a long time to make the switch. Anyway, I'm more than okay with just being a Lyft-er. Uber is not the only one confused. I've had many people look at me in disbelief when I tell them that I am a driver. And it's not because I feel the need to explain myself, never that, it is because I want to. This is why I drive.
Money. As much as I'd love to be rolling in it as a yoga teacher / model, I'm not, currently. Things got very real a couple of months ago and I had to take action. Driving has always appealed to me. I'll get into that later, but it checked a lot of boxes. I could do it whenever I wanted. I could fill the gaps, when I wasn't teaching or shooting, I could drive. I would be my own boss. I've never been one to feel okay with working for someone else. The bonuses are real. The first week, after just 10 rides, I got a $400 bonus. That was a beginner bonus so it won't happen again, but they continue to run promotions as incentives. You can drive during the prime time in the prime areas and make a considerable amount more. I pull in about $200 extra a week after gas, and I only drive for a couple of hours in the mornings mostly, and maybe 4-5 days a week. It takes care of my living expenses. If I wanted/needed to I could make that and then some on a Friday night... I saw the value in making money on my way to make money as well - I just turn my meter on and insert my job/teaching destination and take people along my route. It's just savvy. I also can't be parked in my neighborhood for three hours every Wednesday and Thursday, so I might as well just go online.
Secondly I love to drive. I'm also good at it. I've been driving long, I mean LONG, distances ever since college at the University of Georgia, driving back and forth home to Indiana, then from Miami, then Chicago, then from NYC, then from Maine, and then of course across the country. After about 10 months of driving here in LA, I feel pretty confident. I understand the flow for the most part, and I'm still learning, but man, have my skills improved. I'm gangster. But please know, I don't drive gangster with passengers, I drive conservatively, but boy when I let them out it's back to pulling some maneuvers, but like, intelligent, non-a-hole ones.
Thirdly, I saw the power in it. Taking cars here in LA, I recognized the kind of opportunity these drivers had. I had many mind blowing, deeply profound conversations with my drivers. I'd get out and feel - connected, you know? As a passenger I observed things that also bothered me about my experience, whether it be the music, the volume of the music, the smell, the driving techniques, the chatter when I wanted things to be quiet. I had these thoughts of how I would drive, and so now, this is what I do. The therapist in me gets to flex her muscles. I hold space. I put essential oils in the vents. I drive safely, smoothly, and efficiently. I play beautiful, calming (mostly songs from my yoga playlists) music at an appropriate background volume, unless I get compliments or curiosity about what it is I'm playing, and then I let it clearly be heard, at the same time I continue to build playlists for my classes as new stuff is found - efficiency. When someone starts talking on their phone, I turn the volume down, mostly so I can eavesdrop, but nonetheless. I read the room. I greet them and ask a question and if it feels like they'd like to continue conversing, I engage, but otherwise I let it be peaceful. Sometimes people really want to talk, and I'm down. That is when the magic happens. Now the writer in me is getting her kicks. You couldn't make this stuff up - it's pure gold! I have so many stories - everyday new material! Especially when you drive on a weekend night, of which I don't plan to do often. I don't really want to drive drunk people, BUT I did do an early Saturday evening from about 5-9, and everyone was chatty, perhaps slightly buzzed, and things got pretty juicy.
This portal is important. I once worked at a Starbucks. I would open, on purpose. I would get to work at 4:30am, and be the first encounter of people's day. That is power! I could be responsible for starting it off right, and this works for driving as well, especially in the mornings, but anytime really. Look, people are in transit. As a driver you get this opportunity to provide a smooth transition, thus setting them up for whatever they are making their way to. I take nervous people to doctor's appointments, nervous pets to vet appointments!, people to their jobs, to school, to their first date, to their ex wife's birthday party! I take people home. This transition holds influence.
My work on this Earth is to raise frequencies, I am clear on that. I am here to inspire, to open eyes to new perspectives, to tell stories, to connect, to hold space. I don't have an ego about that. Whether it is through an instagram post, a blog story, a yoga class, or a lyft, my intention is the same, and it matters. People may not understand, and that's okay, they don't have to. I see what I can do with what I have and where I am. Maybe one day it will be on a much larger scale or in a different setting, but for now these brief encounters carry energy that ripples outward. Maybe someone shows up to work feeling good so they treat their customer well who treats their barista well who treats their colleague well who treats their partner well who treats their bartender well who treats their patrons well who treat their driver well, you see the idea. And this can happen just by getting to where you're going pleasantly. I can provide a soothing experience with my silence, and if we open it up to conversation, well, I can really get to work.
People often compliment me on their trip, thank me for the easeful ride, the soothing music, the aromatherapy.
It is a mindful, conscious cab I drive, and a mood lifting, shifting ride I provide. (my tagline)
I am forever a student of humanity. Driving provides an interesting window into human behavior. A lot of people are truly honest with you because, what do they care, they are never going to see you again. The trip will end and whatever gets shared remains locked in that safe space and time. The psychologist in me is fascinated. I get to listen and learn about other peoples' lives that are so different from my own. An extraordinary education. Also, an LA education. I am learning my way around LA, and getting to see parts I'd never see otherwise. I get to speak with people who live here, who have lived here their whole lives, and I get to find out why. I want to get to the bottom of it, you know, of everything? I'm given this golden opportunity to get under the roots of Los Angeles, I transport all kinds of kinds from Inglewood to Beverly Hills. I also get a lot of tourists and that's super fun, because I then become a part of their LA experience. I picked up this guy from the bus station downtown this week and it was his first time in LA. When I asked him what he thought so far, he said that it was way cooler than he thought it would be already just going on his Lyft driver. :)
So you see - power...
I didn't expect to like it as much as I do. I love it. I had to make myself take a day off. People think because you are pretty that certain jobs don't fit you. They think that you are above them. I never understood that or ever felt as though I was above anything. I clearly remember a very drunk guy at a wedding I was bartending in Maine tell me that I "could do better than this." I wanted to fire back, but I didn't, I knew that he was too intoxicated for a life lesson. The truth is, is that you don't know who you think you know, and therefore are better off to just treat everyone with as much respect as you possibly can. We are all here to experience. Some of us as mothers, some of us as business owners, CEOs, doctors, lawyers, humanitarians. It is all just an experience. How we want to label or organize people in our heads to make sense of it, or to align it with what we already believe, is our limiting choice to make. I graduated 11th in my class out of 365 students, I got into ivy league schools, I've met and hung out with the then Prince, now king, of Morocco, I've traveled the world alone, I've interviewed on Wall Street, I've been on a billboard in Chicago, starred in national tv commercials, and been on dates with billionaires. I've also worked at a Starbucks, a TGIFriday's, a college bar in Bloomington Indiana, a New York wine shop, as a wedding bartender in Maine, and now I am an Uber/Lyft driver / model/actor / yogi in Los Angeles. All I know, is that out of all of these things I am always just - me, and the only thing below me is - running out of money, so for now I'll drive to fill in the gaps and I'll do a damn good job of it. I'll positively effect every single person that sits in my beloved Rhonda the Honda. I'll do what I can to elevate as many frequencies as I'm able to, and pray that those wavelengths get transmitted far beyond this City of Angels.
I also want to say diary, that anytime you open yourself to receiving income, no matter the amount, energetically more will come. Since I got myself certified to drive, every teacher in the Yogaworks network needed a sub, and guess who took those opportunities? I went from teaching four classes a week to teaching 3-4 classes a day, most days of the week, for the past six weeks. I also picked up my first private client that I was seeing once a week who I now see twice. My income has more than tripled. I'm hustling and things are not easy, but they won't always be this way. I may not drive forever, but for now all I know is that Lake Tahoe is of the top ten places to drive Uber, so, hello work trip?
It's just going to get juicier.
The book is writing itself...
Oh, and diary, before you tell me something like, "you need to be careful!" I am. I'm not dumb, I hate that it is the way it is being a chick in this world, but I'm not unaware. I keep pepper spray in a reachable distance. I'm not trying to drive in the wee hours, etc, etc...
You just have to keep driving down the road. It's going to bend and curve and you'll speed up and slow down, but the road keeps going.