Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Driving people to the Moon

If you don't play this video while you're reading, there won't be another Super Blood Moon for 18 years.

Here I went on about the Super Blood Moon (which sounds like a Chinese appetizer), pounded keys until my fingers were splintered with plastic over the matter, searched high and low for videos to share and data to spew, and I didn’t even get to see the big show. No pics from me, my friends.

Instead, I was Uber driving and heavy Lyfting, chatting it up with riders, for once earning some serious scratch. Of course the Super Blood Moon (herein known as Liz) came up during the early hours of Saturday evening and I got to impress people with my knowledge of perigee… and puns.

A nice couple, on their way to a restaurant in a tony section of Scottsdale, knew Liz (the teacher of the two had assigned students to either photograph or draw Liz) but were confused about the mechanics. “Dreams” by the Allman Brothers had just begun when they got in and was still playing when the topic turned from the obligatory “How’s your night?” to Liz.

“You’re rocking out tonight,” said the passenger who was not a teacher.

“I picked some music for Liz,” I lied, the song actually being on a mix I’d made for LomL.

“Yes, Liz!” the teacher responded enthusiastically, apparently glad they’d been picked up by a driver who was informed about things instead of some meathead who squelches all conversation by saying, “Do you mind? I’m trying to get drunk up here.” In the meantime, talk floated between the front and the back as the three of us shared what we knew about Liz and how she behaved in her house in the sky.

“It looks much bigger near the horizon,” the teacher continued, sounding a little disappointed, as if her students would soon be sending letters to NASA complaining that the Moon wasn’t scary enough.

“That’s the Moon illusion,” I told them. “It appears larger in relation to the landscape, things we see and know that are relatively close. It’s a trick our mind plays on us. It has nothing to do with Liz’s size, that’s because the Moon is at its perigee.”

The teacher added her own Moon lore, adding in orbital shape and the fact that Liz wouldn’t return for another 18 years.

The Allman brothers finished just as we were done Moon talking, and I skipped my pod past The Cars to Ween.

Unable to determine a pin, Google navigation misplaced us a block from where they needed to be, so we took a slow drive down cobblestone streets to the correct location. I’ve learned to trust Google Map navigator about as well as Carly Fiorina’s story about her record at HP.

After dropping my Liz devotees, I got pinged by Lyft several times, riders 18-20 minutes away from where I was in north Scottsdale. Uber was surging 1.7x in my vicinity and Lyft wanted to send me to Tempe for inevitable cancellations (Lyft users are notoriously flaky) and much less money. Lyft was desperate to get drivers near ASU – exactly where I didn’t want to be (short rides, heavy traffic, whiny Sun Devils fans) – and was not ashamed to insult my intelligence in order to pump up their brand.

I turned off both driver apps, found a parking lot and rolled a cigarette, playing Ween again, blasting it while I smoked. My only regret in refusing the Lyft riders was that I couldn’t share the song with them.

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