Why I'm Not Working Tonight

 So I got the booster and the flu shot this morning, and as I suspected, I'm hurting this evening and unable to work my side hustle on one of the more lucrative nights of the week.

Here's an opinion that I haven't heard often enough in the media.

I'm angry about nearly all of this. Enraged, even.

I knew, from the second shot, that this was going to happen. Pain, fever and chills. Pretty much a given. I'm the size of a middle schooler. I have a spouse with diabetes. I don't get to avoid the side effects. I don't get to not take the shot.

I don't blame the vaccine manufacturer. It's potentially saving my life, and preventing me from giving a potentially fatal disease to my family and passengers.

But here's the fun thing about all of this...

If the ASSHATS that aren't vaccinated had gotten vaccinated?

I probably wouldn't have had to do this. At least, not so quickly.

People in other countries might not have died for me getting a third shot before they could get a first.

So the unvaccinated are taking money out of my pocket. They also routinely endanger me and my family by getting in my car without a jab or a mask. They drag my country down to their level. They offer self-serving bullshit, anti-science, and unmitigated selfishness as if they were justifiable motivations. They have blood on their hands.

I am officially tired of these people.

I am officially no longer friends with many of them.

The same way that I'm tired of the super-rich motherf****** that don't pay their taxes.

The same way that I'm tired of the folks that get their news from cyber trolls and other entities that can't be, you know, sued out of existence for knowingly publishing lies and living in bad faith.

The same way that I'm tired of people who think that politics is nothing more than heel and face promos from nothing but grifters.

The same way that I'm tired of grifters.

Tonight, I'm in pain and losing money and cleaning up the goddamned mess of grifters.


Do better.

Or, I don't know, die of the goddamned disease. 

(And if you are in Austria, get the vaccine by government dictate, or get locked in your home until the death stops happening. I don't care about your life. You don't care about mine. It's fair.)

Just do it without infecting anyone else.

Covid is a disease. 

So are the people who can get a vaccination, and choose not to.

When the iPod speaks to you

My audio in the car is either radio (NPR, sports telecast) or an old-school iPod. The latter has about 8,000 songs on it, and I mostly just cycle through it on random shuffle play. 

The iPod is, I kid you not, sentient. 

Or at the very least, capable of great feats of coincidence.

The other night, I'm nearing the end of my shift. I'm tired, but the money hasn't been great and I *could* do another fare. If it's worthwhile. I'm ten minutes from home.

Surge price maps creep up. Good amounts. If I drive a little out of my way, I can lock in a price and get that final fare.

Then the iPod clicks over. Here's what came up. (Fleetwood Mac "Little Lies.")


Uber *has* had this nasty little habit of only delivering fares of about half the shown surge price when you activate in the zone. If you turn on before you are in the zone, there's no guarantee your fare will have surge. And I'm out late enough so that I could easily get pulled a long way away.

Blink. And the surge price is gone.

Tell me lies, indeed...

Why I'm Changing Radio Volume While Driving

Die Die Die Die Die Die DIE
As a rideshare driver who

> Works nights and

> Likes and follows sports

I'm listening to a lot of games on the radio while driving. Most of the time, this is the Sixers, but Phillies games also are a reasonable spend of time, and pro football games on Monday, Thursday and Sunday nights are also pretty common.

Friends, I don't know if you've had this experience in a long time or ever, but... it's bad. Here's why.

> Radio advertising is an involved production event. You have to write a script, hire voiceover actors, get the levels right and cut it to time. There's an art to it. It's not easy.

> Radio advertising is not hitting an amazing demographic. It's men more than women who do rideshare and truck work, and we wouldn't be doing it if we were independently wealthy. 

> Radio advertising is not conducive to easy win/loss success metrics. You don't have click, open, direct purchase, qualified visitors, shares, likes and so on. It can look bad in comparison to digital advertising.

> You can't target the list. I drive a hybrid, I'm not particularly mechanically inclined, and I'm a progressive with dependents. I hear a lot of tool ads (NAPA KNOW HOW!) and PSAs about trains and donations to children's charities (you know the one), and so on. None of them are a good spend for the advertiser, or contribute to a good in-game experience. 

> It's not conducive to testing. Hard to make, lists aren't great, can't tell winners from losers. Just try your best and ship it becomes the rule of thumb.

> The advertisers that do it stick with it. There isn't really very much turnover. So you're going to hear the same ads, from the same companies, that didn't work when they were new. As the season gets longer, the ads don't refresh.

Now, decades ago? This wasn't really all that noticeable to the radio listener. All advertising stunk, none of it was targeted, and complaining about it was imagining a world that didn't exist.

But the world *has* changed. The ad experience in every other channel (with the unfortunate occasional example of badly executed CTV) *is* better. But not so much with radio. Radio increasingly feels like torture.

So if you are in the car and see me quickly dropping volume levels during breaks in the action for the Sixers game? It's because I'm trying not to think about Rothman Orthopedics for the 10,000th time. ("We are getting pretty darn good at sitting." Why does the old you sound so satisfied about their limited lifestyle? Why won't you just let them be, then? Damit, radio ad, build your cinematic universe better...)

Well, I'm not doing it for your benefit, honest...

Why the heated seats had to go

Yeah, Mood
 Friends, have you ever had one of those weeks where nothing works the way it should?

(Oh, here's a soundtrack for the day. Give the world to the monkeys, indeed.)

So I needed 35 rides before close of business on Sunday to activate the weekend bonus for Uber, and Lyft wants to get in the game as well with a bonus for 15 rides. It's Turn Back The Clock Day, which is a very heavy drinking holiday, and the week in Not Rideshare has been weak and worrisome. So I'm going to commit to the full shift for both days, with the hopes of catching up on the money that was missed, and maybe carving out enough time to watch a football game on Sunday. Pretty standard weekend plan.

I have one issue, and that's the phone charger. I had a fairly elaborate one that allows me to plug in up to four devices at once, two of which are after-market seat warmers. In the pandemic, your best move to keep yourself safe is ventilation, and when it's cold out, that's a way to get bad ratings, which I also can't afford. So when it gets cold, I activate the heaters and hey presto, tipping and compromise and the sign that passengers really want -- this driver cares and treats the hustle seriously.

The charger, alas, had seen better days. It slipped the cigarette lighter easily, which means my phone could start losing power, and if I'm not careful, drain off and cause real issues. A driver with a non-working phone is, well, not a driver. So I stopped by my local Autozone after doing the deep clean and got a new one. It's 3pm; time to strap in for 10-13 hours of get it done.

We're rolling for not great fares to start the shift, but it's kind of like fishing -- you can have a few weak hours and still have an OK day. Which leads me to the truck stop in Bordentown and a nice enough truck driver who is doing a there and back again ride to the liquor store for my fifth ride of the day. As he's in the store, the sun is going down and it's starting to get chilly, so I plug in the seats. The cords show their red indicator lights -- and then don't, and the phone is now losing power as well. I pull the plugs and try again; nothing. I plug the phone into the iPod player and the phone says it's taking in power... but the number of the percentage of my charge is dropping. And my phone tends to start fainting when it's not at high power, and Uber drains it quick.

I drop my passenger off, cancel the ensuing ride, and head straight for my car dealer, who I'm hoping can squeeze me in for a battery and fuse check. I get there just in time to get told nope, we're closed, so I head back to the Autozone. They check the battery for free and it's fine, so it must be the fuse or the cord. I go back to the house and check the cord, and that's working fine, so I look up the fuse. Having never changed one of them on my own before, I look up some web tutorials, as well as the likely replacement fuse, and realize it's beyond my skill set, available tools and comfort. So I get the fuse I need and get it fixed Sunday morning at the local Jiffy Lube, but hey presto -- up to ten hours out of luck, all because I tried to be nice. 

So, to recap:

> I missed a lucrative shift

> Because I tried to offer a higher standard of ride than I needed to

> During a week and time when I really needed the money

And wound up spending 13 hours in the harness on Sunday, and listening to the football game that I cared about on the radio, because hey, guess you aren't wealthy enough to spend three hours on a Sunday on a personal thing.

In future?

No heaters in the car. We're going to keep it simple, less good, less special.


10 Reasons Why You Can't Find A Driver

 Query from a passenger this evening: "So, why do you think people don't want to work?"

A little triggering on the wording, but the passenger seems like a decent enough fellow, and it stuck with me for the rest of the shift. So, here's a whole mess of theories.

1) Drivers found other things to do when the pandemic hit.

It's not great money, especially if you aren't in the right wheels. 

2) Drivers lost or sold their cars.

If you needed rideshare to make the payment, well, you didn't have it. Or you sold your car when the price for used wheels went through the roof.

3) They got stimulus checks and sodded off.

Well, maybe, but it's not as if those were lifetime changing money.

4) They've learned to live with less.

Honestly, everyone's expenses dropped during the pandemic. Movies, restaurants, travel -- all went down and didn't come back, especially for the lower classes.

5) They got scared by the virus. Or maybe more than scared.

If you were driving rideshare, you were at risk for getting the virus, probably more than anyone. It's not as if all of us are hardcore gamblers, or that if you got sick, you were ready to forgive the platform.

6) It got a lot worse.

Driving with a mask means that talking to passengers is hard at best, as well as being the Mask Police. (Or, if you aren't into wearing a mask yourself, getting told on by masking passengers.) There's a reason why driver ratings are going down.

7) Gas prices are up.

It changes the math. Especially if you are in the wrong kind of car in the first place.

8) Tipping is down.

You're not supposed to touch groceries or luggage, and the folks on expense accounts aren't around at the same level as before. You can still make reasonable money at this hustle, but it'll be more for bonuses and surge prices than tips, which means...

9) Riders are mad.

I get it, honestly. Especially if you are taking routine rides and seeing huge price fluctuations. Which leads me to...

10) Maybe people just don't want to work. Especially if you've been watching politics.

Imagine you were a fan of the last president, so much so that you believe what the rest of us refer to as the Big Lie. Maybe you're just home and bent and don't want to work. 

Now, imagine you aren't that person, but you are convinced the planet is trashed due to climate change and the pandemic. Maybe you're just home and don't want to work.

So... why am I out there?

Um, because I need the money. 

No matter how many of these reasons may apply...

Why I'm Not Working Tonight

 So I got the booster and the flu shot this morning, and as I suspected, I'm hurting this evening and unable to work my side hustle on o...