Thursday, October 8, 2015

Death cab for cuties

Bowie still looks this good. Drinking the blood of young virgins has its benefits.

There were little cupcakes with pink mustaches, trays of them, actual employees of Lyft handing them out to sugar-starved drivers. By the time I arrived, about a half hour late, most of the buffet had been picked clean but I managed to scrape together three beef tacos and a Coke. Some attendees were carrying around plushy Lyft mustaches, like kids with stuffed animals.

I wondered if the Nazis served cupcakes with little red and black swastikas on them. Probably no one was passing out little Hitler doll pillows but they would have had beer.

Rush hour was over by the time I left, the sun almost set. From the parking lot across the street, I watched the room drain while I smoked a cigarette, AC/DC’s “Let There Be Rock” pounding on my pod. Then, I got in my car and drove, apps on and sipping an energy drink.

I probably should have skipped the party and taken advantage of fewer drivers working the streets. God knows, the rest of the night sucked. For instance:

“Where are you at?”

“Where you asked to be picked up at, on the west side of O.H.S.O.”

“No, I’m at 39th and Camelback, I don’t know why you’re there.”

“I’m there because that’s what you punched into the app.”

I cancelled the call and then let his new request time out when it came. I’d taken a new call in the interim, a rider much closer than he. He’d messed up and he looked like one of those “Can I play my music?” whiners with shitty taste.

Many times (Tempe, mostly), I don’t indulge that, you’re not going far enough for me to care. It’s the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band or stick your head out the window.

Once, I picked up a car load of servers who had been on a field trip to their west side store. It seemed like they initially thought they were going to Water World or someplace else fun because none of them seemed happy with having been taken across town to their own damned job in a bus that broke down and made them even more late for whatever teen gathering they had on their agenda.

We were on I-10 and Bauhaus’s “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” was on, not the most upbeat tune in the world but enough to drown out the puerile prattle bubbling in the backseat.

“Do we have to listen to this elevator music?” some girl said in a voice as pleasant as a cat being strangled.

“What do you want to hear?” some obsequious seat sitter asked. I hadn’t said anything, wondering how anyone could consider Bauhaus elevator music. My mind was on the road, traffic still heavy on the 10, me flying down the HOV lane like a seasoned smuggler pilot looking to drop his load as quickly as possible.

“Ummm, I dunno,” the voice crinkled like a sheet of tin, “Maybe some Country?”

I wanted to cross five lanes of traffic, stop the ride and scream, “Get out! Now! No one asks for Country in this car!”

The last guy I let put on his own music provided some pretty good stuff from a DJ I’d heard of but not heard. I’m pretty good about picking the right people to allow monkeying around with my music. Mostly though, passengers are really good with what’s playing or it’s good enough for them to get through the ride. And, if I’m driving Miss Daisy, I’m going to skip through the Geto Boys. More often than not though, my passengers say they like what’s playing.

Back in the day before You Tube, a common blog meme was “random shuffle” post of 10 songs they’d heard. It was pretty self-indulgent and a lot of people cheated so that no one would know that they had “We’re an American Band” on their pod. With that aside, I’m going to revive that meme corpse in order to illustrate what riders of mine might experience:

Yes - I've Seen All Good People
Black Moth Super Rainbow - Hairspray Heart
Beastie Boys - Intergalactic
Burning Spear - Walk
Machine Head - Aesthetics of Hate
Half Japanese - Gift
Share - Empathy For the Devil
Elton John - Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds
Tom Waits - Clap Hands

The other night, an older couple was stoked when an aria from “Aida” came up. Last night, some doctor I picked up at the VA downtown remarked, “Good song,” when Miles Davis appeared with “So What?” At times, my pod seems to get stuck in a Stax/Volt groove and it’s occurred to me that I loaded way more Zydeco into iTunes than I’d thought.

Obviously, I’m passionate about music and making me drive people around without my tunes would be a good way to get me to set my car on fire.

Setting your car on fire close to gas pumps ensures that you get the job done right.

Good music takes the edge off of driving around the city, dodging amateurs and dealing with drunks. Asking me to play some crotch-punchingly bad song on your iPhone is a safety issue, so don’t do it. It’s better for everyone in the car if I remain sane and my ears aren’t bleeding as we careen our way to your destination.

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