I’m a Lyft Driver. My Passengers Act Like I’m Part of the App

i’m an attentive listener, but sometimes i zone out. however, machines are indefatigable listeners. my gig work has made me cognizant odat. here’s an ex.

on dec 25, 2020, i drove to pick up a woman and her mother. when passengers request lyft rides, they can drag the “zone pin” inna app to precisely where they wanna be picked up. the pickup zone for this ride wasn’t somewhere i ‘d drive my car, although i was able t'get within 25 ft. as the two got into my car, the daughter lit into me bout not bein’ where she had placed the pin. she called me every name inna book and demanded i “call lyft” for a refund. the mother dramatically began to say her daughter’s name over n'oer, astonished that her daughter was doin’ this and pleading with her to apologize. the daughter ‘dn’t let it go. i canceled the ride. i remembered how the mother had said her daughter’s name over n'oer. i retain vivid memories of the worst-be’ved passengers. i assume retaining images of these faces increases my survival odds, and some pplz ‘ve suggested it’s a symptom of ptsd.

two mnths l8r, i looked at my f’bok feed and saw the woman’s face in my “pplz you may know” section. this spooked me. how’d she get there? wha’ if she were stalking me, wanting t'get in another rant bout the zone pin? i didn’t wanna friend her on f’bok or befriend her irl. i ‘dn’t help hearing her inna car, n'it seems that f’bok was paying attention too. g may ‘ve been tracking the ride too.

30 yrs ago, hanson says, “b4 there was so much surveillance or computer information on pplz, when the issue came up, everyone was really concerned bout it,” he says. now, pplz keep “wishfully thinking that even though they’ve given away lotso' information, it’s not bein’ used against them or it won’t be used against them very much.” n'it’s never been made clear to them how easy it ‘d be for the information to be shared, he says. in my experience as a driver, when viewed through an app like lyft, it’s easy to view others as abstractions, as ≤ real, and treat them accordingly.

i provide an primordial srvc to many of my passengers. for ≠ reasons, they are incapable of driving themselves, and i serve as a sort of souped-up, albeit ad hoc, srvc animal. passengers may not ‘ve access to public transportation or they may ‘ve med conditions that prevent them from driving. it’s gratifying to know i’m helping pplz get t'work or just t'get out o'their house.

in order to make the most mny inna shortest time, though, ye do ‘ve to pick up pplz from bars. so alcohol consumption is a catalyst for many lyft rides. the friend sitting nxt to you inna bar who tells you you’ve had enough to drink s'been replaced by a ride-hailing app that gives you the ability to drink as much as you want cause there’s always a driver to come get you, a few taps away on yr phone. some of these rides are harrowing for me.

my mega-app theory remains the best explanation i ‘ve to account for the things that pplz say and do in my car when they feel that no human worth acknowledging is round. na issues aren’t as obvious as the stain left by that instant pot’s worth of sweet-and-sour meatballs spilled on my back seat. they are things like privacy and med issues, my own liability for wha’ passengers do, and maintaining our senses of human dignity.

original content at: www.wired.com…