Scene From Santacon

Heads, We All Win
If you don't know what Santacon is... it's a 20-year tradition that started as an SF flash mob of people in Santa suits, but is now just an all-day pub crawl where the Bros and Brodettes of the town try to see how, um, heroic they can be in their intake. So to speak.

It's a dangerous but lucrative day to do the side hustle, so I do it. For the full 14-hour shift.

Cut to the scene in Hour 12 of both my shift and four weary Bros in attire.

They stagger their way into my subcompact Honda for a 10 minute ride of Please Don't Be Sick. My iPod shuffes until a certain song comes on, which... they all know and sing along to. Not even all that badly.

Yes, it's the Talking Heads with "Naive Melody (This Must Be The Place)", which is, I am certain, what you were about to guess.

Not exactly an experience everyone gets to have, that...

Why Terry Gross Doesn't Work For Rideshare Conversations


Terry, Tell Me About Leather
As a rideshare driver with a desire to seem smarter than I actually am, I listen to a lot of NPR and podcasts in my time in the car. (It's either that, a football, baseball or basketball game, or my iPod that's clearly infested by Trickster Gods. See the rest of the blog for evidence on the latter.) I also read newsletters from the NY Times, Poynter (an insider account on what's happening in journalism), a bunch of stuff related to my career in marketing and advertising, and so on. I've also worked as a music and sports journalist, written books, performed as a stand-up, and logged a couple of hundred gigs as a solo musician and frontman.

So I can carry and spur conversation, and I've also learned something from over 3,000 hours and around 10,000 passengers (7,500 rides, but many with more than one passengers) being in close proximity while I fulfill their transportation needs.

Having established my professional standing, I'd like to tell NPR's Terry Gross that she's out of her mind for one specific point in a recent interview. To wit, that "tell me about yourself" is all of the icebreaker you will ever need, because people like to talk about themselves.

Well, sure... maybe in a well-lit world.

In mine, people are trying to overcome some amount of fear from being in the car of a total stranger with TBD levels of driving skill and attentiveness, not to mention fatigue and an inability to respect personal boundaries.

For a rideshare drive, the largest percentage of passengers are going to be single unaccompanied females who get to do the silent calculus of Is This Driver A Creep in the pickup stage.

Which is why I'm often name dropping my wife and kids, flashing my wedding ring, or mentioning the number of rides that I've completed.

So, tell me about yourself?

Sure.

But only after I show you that it's OK to...

It Was The Best Of Rides, It Was The Worst Of Rides

Not, to my knowledge, a rideshare driver I'm doing the hustle on a Saturday night, and trying to stay close to my home base because...