My First Day Driving for Lyft

Day before yesterday was my last day working as an underpaid contract archaeologist. The good news is that I’m still an archaeologist – but not employed as one. Maybe there are archaeology jobs out there that wouldn’t make me scramble to pay my bills or question my self worth with fry-cook pay on job sites … Continue reading “My First Day Driving for Lyft”

Day before yesterday was my last day working as an underpaid contract archaeologist. The good news is that I’m still an archaeologist – but not employed as one. Maybe there are archaeology jobs out there that wouldn’t make me scramble to pay my bills or question my self worth with fry-cook pay on job sites where the guys who spray the ground with hoses to keep the dust down earn two to three times what I was getting paid… I thought about it, realized that if they wouldn’t pay me what I felt I was worth then I would go out and earn what I’m worth elsewhere. As a tour guide, I earn the same monthly pay I was getting as an archaeologist – but in just four days. So, I’ve given myself almost an entire month of free time if I choose to take it and during that time I’m setting up a new tour business, buying and selling online, at the swap meet, and on amazon and ebay – and I set myself up to drive for Lyft.

I don’t have any friends I’ve talked with who drive for Lyft or Uber, so I went into this blind. My application took a bit over two months. When I signed up, I thought I would do archaeology during the day and Lyft at night – but I’ve read that Lyft stretches applications to prevent drivers from completeing $350 sign on bonuses – so by a strange quirk of luck, on my last day as an archaeologist – Lyft approved me to drive.

I’d read a little bit online and decided that I was not going to be a driver offering free water or snacks etc to my riders. The margins are not super to begin with, so I’m not going to throw 50 cents hoping to get a $1-$2 tip that probably will come anyway if I drive safely and am friendly. People either tip or they don’t – there isn’t really an in between – at least in my experience as a waiter, bartender, driver, and guide. If they tip, they will tip even if the tip is included. If they don’t tip – they simply don’t tip. So there is no need to invest in it. Just smile, keep the car clean, and drive safely.

I went out in the middle of the day because I wanted to start slow. My expectation was that, this being Hawaii, I would be driving a lot of tourists around. I was completely wrong. I thought I would be doing a fair number of airport runs and drives to Kailua. I was completely wrong. I gave seven rides and every one of them was less than five miles and to people that live and work here. The rides were short and the interactions were fun. My first ride was a large man – a gay hairdresser on his way to work. 2.4 miles and he tipped me a buck. Nice guy. That was at 10:30. I drove around for an hour and twenty minutes and missed a ride because I didn’t reply in the 15 seconds. Then I missed another. My second ride was a bartender on his way to work 2.3 miles. Funny guy. The next ride called, I accepted and started driving to him then he cancelled. After about an hour and ten minutes, my third ride hailed me. I thought he was a crazy person because he was dancing with his phone in front of safeway – I called to make sure it was him, it was, he was. Nice guy doing some grocery shopping. A little off, but pleasant. 15 minutes later I picked up a mom and her son from school – they were nice. Just three minutes later I picked up a girl heading to Safeway. She was a tipper! 10 minutes after that was a girl heading to work in Waikiki…friendly and nice. Finally a woman who had relocated from Palau hailed me twelve minutes later from Walmart and I drove her home with her groceries. My longest ride was 2.4 miles and 16 minutes. In all, I had passengers in my car for 61 minutes and earned just shy of $40. The other three hours were time I spent wandering into different neighborhoods to see if rides would pop up. Mostly they didn’t. Lyft shows where peak ride areas are and it seems to me that there is a good argument to be made to find a place to park in those neighborhoods and wait for the rides while working on my laptop.

So, depending on how you look at it – I either made $39/hour or about $10/hour on my first day during non-peak time. The people were nice and the interactions were between 4 and 16 minutes which is just about the right amount of time for short character sketches. I think I can do much better than that as I learn more. In any event, I like it. I recommend it. If you want to give it a shot, I encourage you to give it a try. Here is my signup email…if you signup with my code, we both get paid extra – providing Lyft doesn’t take 60 days to approve you like they did with me…

Hey!

I think you’d make a great Lyft driver. Lyft matches drivers with passengers who request rides (and pay for the trip) through a smart phone app. As a driver, you’ll earn money by driving your own car, on your own schedule.

If you apply using my referral link, you’ll also pocket an extra bonus. (For example, Honolulu referrals get $750 after giving 150 rides in their first 50 days.) See the terms at https://lft.to/terms.

Here’s where to apply: https://www.lyft.com/drivers/CHRISTOPHER85479

Moving is Hard Work….

Just in case I forgot to mention it – moving is really hard work.Mentally and physically it is extremely challenging and the past month, I’ve been working in a state of hyper-overdrive. The amount of stuff that has been accomplished seems insurmountable when I look back on it…this is just the major list…there were countless smaller tasks and heavy objects…

1) Selling our antique store
2) Selling our little community paper
3) Training the new owners and taking care of details
4) Finding a job in Hawaii before moving here
5) Finding an apartment in Hawaii before moving here
6) Coming to Hawaii on a brief trip to secure said job and apartment
7) Packing our lives up into a 10×6 trailer
8) Delivering the trailer to Oakland and then driving back (1000 mile trip)
9) Liquidating our entire household (except what we shipped in the trailer)
10) Selling our vehicles and other cargo trailers
11) Storing my Vanagon
12) Flying across the ocean with my wife and five year old
13) Buying a car
14) Renting a storage unit
15) Furnishing our apartment
16) Starting a new career
17) Selling the trailer
18) Selling at the Hawaii All Collectors Show
19) Unpacking
20) Registering my daughter for school
21) Changing my phone anddrivers license over to Hawaii
And the list goes on and on …. technically, to be fair, this process started at the very end of May, so it’s been about 40 days … I’m exhausted and my body and mind feel like they’ve been through a serious beating…thank god it’s time to get to work. My vacation is now almost over.

May Day

It’s a beautiful day here on the Oregon Coast. The kind of day that almost makes me forget about how difficult the winter was this year. I walked my daughter to school – as I do most days when it isn’t raining – and took my time walking back. It wasn’t until I looked at the calendar that I realized it was May Day. A few years ago, while I was living in Istanbul, I went to the May Day celebrations in Taksim Square – it was nothing less than astounding. Wonderful. Beautiful. Thousands upon thousands of union members, communists, anarchists, students, and workers marching and singing and smiling in the sunshine. Of course, that was before the current president of Turkey began cracking down on such gatherings. Two years after I was there, the celebrations involved riot police and teargas. Now, as I understand it, the gatherings are outlawed all together. This is what it is like this year in 2017

That video was recorded five hours ago.

But here I am, on the Oregon Coast, a million miles away and reveling in the sunshine of a long awaited spring day. There are no May Day celebrations here – it is simply May 1st. May Day is important. It is actually International Workers Day that I am referring to, but most simply call it May Day. It is a day to remember that we are all humans. That we are not products. That we are not commodities. We are free and we are human and all of the things we take for granted were made by other humans doing human work, by workers. We are workers. We are human. We are one.

The Thoughts and Questions That Plague My Mind

Is this the best that we can do?

That’s the first one. It’s the most depressing one. Humanity has failed. Not only is it not the best we can do, it’s not even in the top 90% of what we can do. We have failed on so many levels that it is impossible to list them all. Here are just a few with no statistics because I’m sure the statistics would be even worse.
Child Starvation
People with no access to healthcare
Suicide
Hate crimes
Addiction in all of it’s forms
Environmental degradation
Mass Extinction
Homelessness (while speculation homes sit empty)
I could go on…and on…and on…and on. We have failed. This human civilization is a complete and total failure. We have failed each other and we have failed ourselves in the process.

So that’s the first question that plagues my mind. And it brings me to the next question which is more personal “Is this the best I can do?” and the answer to that is no too. My ego wants to give me all the excuses in the world – starting with blaming this human culture I am forced to live in. Ultimately, I want to do more, but I fail. I’m like the old woman with $1 who donates half of it to charity. It’s 50% of what she has and it doesn’t make a difference. 100% of what she has wouldn’t make a difference. I’m like that – unless she can do something to get a much larger sum of money – her charity won’t matter a bit – and neither will mine. I have to scramble, duck, and roll and focus my energy non-stop in order to take care of my family and keep myself in a position to do so. And that excuse sounds pretty good – but the truth is I am not doing the best I can do and I don’t know exactly why that is.

Love is the answer. I’m pretty sure that’s true. However, I’m so filled with anger and rage at the injustices of the world that it is sometimes impossible to give a stranger so much as a smile. Especially if I’ve just read about a child being separated from their parents and the stranger is driving a $50,000 truck with a Make America Great Again sticker on it. Man, those awful baby boomers – they’ve made the world a thousand times worse than it was before them. All the wars in history before them didn’t do as much damage to the planet as they have done in their lifetimes with their greed and hypocrisy. And they’ve tightened the chains around those who followed and reduced the chances for us to achieve any sort of real meaningful freedom besides death.

I’ll tell you what hell would be – to die and wake up surrounded by all the baby boomers. It’s hell on earth and it would be the worst sort of eternal hell. I’ve never been scared of death, but that thought makes me want to cling onto dear life with a death-grip. The soldier-hippie boomers of the 60s, the disco boomers of the 70s, the awful yuppie boomers of the 80s,the disgusting bootstrap-upper management boomers of the 90s, the foul early retirement boomers of the 2000s, and the RV-downsized-still-most-selfish-generation-but-now-need-to-be-taken-care-of boomers of the current decade. God, I want to puke. So, yeah, love may be the answer but I can’t love them because I don’t have Stockholm Syndrome.

What the kids today need to do is have a Lord of the Flies party where take out everyone who is already an adult or who thinks like an adult in the world today and then re-create society. Lord of the Flies would be messy and I don’t want to be killed by gangs of tweens, but for them it would be a better solution.

I wish I could tell you I have an ideology that would make things better – but I don’t. All of the ideologies are bullshit. The ideologues are assholes. And of course, money is the problem – I’ve been to Sardis where the first money was produced and while it was a beautiful ruin – I’ve never been somewhere that so completely emanated evil – although the Pentagon has the same sort of vibe and when I’ve visited concentration camps – those have a similar aura. Do you want to understand money? I wanted to. It’s part of what led me to Sardis in the first place. Money makes slavery possible. Without money, slavery is impossible. People like my sister – who work hard and study and stay on course and spend their lives working working working (but rarely at what they are passionate about) talk about working hard for a purpose – that purpose is ‘buying their freedom’. They want to be free someday – which tells you the truth – they are not free. And if you are not free you are either a prisoner or a slave.

I am a slave to money. I admit it. I do what money needs me to do. I do what money tells me to do. Sometimes it is fun – usually, I feel like a prisoner forced to labor.

Backing Up in Multiple Locations or Cheap Computer Crap or Website Headaches

Backing Up – A Cautionary Tale:
During the entire time I lived abroad I did virtually all my work and stored my photos on a cheap little Acer Aspire Pro – I backed up all of my photos and data on a little external sony harddrive and despite five years of hard use and the original machine being a first generation cheapo netbook – it never failed me and my backups were unnecessary – fast forward to last year at about this time – for the first time since 2005 I bought a full size laptop with a full warranty and all the computing power I thought I’d been missing. It was great and frankly, I became complacent – there was a complimentary cloud storage and backup feature which it turns out expired after 60 days and deleted all of my data – but I had nothing to worry about – the laptop sat on my desk, never left the house, and was new and warrantied – and while I continued to download backups of my websites I stopped using the external storage unit for backups – I felt confident that I was saving all my data. I’d been using my old android phone more than my camera and when I upgraded to an iphone I did the right thing – downloaded all of my photos and data from the phone and reset it – so now that new laptop had all my website backups, most of my photos since we had come to the USA in April of 2013 – and all the writing I’d done since December of 2014 – fast forward again to August of 2014 – the new warrantied computer’s hard drive failed – no problem – under warranty- I sent it to the factory and they fixed it and reset it and sent me a new laptop – a month later – my hosting company detects a virus in my website code and deletes all of my site data – no problem – I had backups – uh yeah, they were on the failed harddrive and are long gone – the online backup in the cloud – expired after 60 days – no backups since 2013 – virtually all of the online work I’d done in 2014 was lost – fast forward and I start thinking about Halloween and Christmas photos of our daughter in 2013 – can’t find them on my camera, must have used my phone – oh yeah, on the old phone so look on the computer – crap – all those photos were on the old harddrive, all the videos (first Christmas morning in the USA, first trick or treat, etc) all gone – fast forward to a few days ago – I remember a story I had started and written about twenty pages of and guess what – it was on that hard drive too – so there it is – I fell into complacency and lost five websites, hundreds of important pictures and videos, forty or so articles, the beginnings of two books, and more – all because I made the mistake of thinking a new and expensive computer was safer than my old cheap netbook and my little external harddrive – a terrible mistake – and one I hope you don’t make. Get a little external harddrive and back everything up on it…I hope this saves you some headaches.

Here’s a side note – yesterday right after I had written this and then saved it as a draft, I clicked the button on the backend of this site that updates plugins – without backing up the site – well, the plugin update failed and I was locked out of this site’s admin panel and had to go through about four hours of headaches to get things right again – the moral of the story? Back up before you do anything!

#vagothinks

I have strong opinions and good ideas – I’m tired of keeping them to myself. I’m going to be sharing them from now on on twitter using the hashtag #vagothinks – I’m still a week out from completing my 99 day fast from Facebook – I may do another 99 day break from it after I check messages, check up on friends, etc.

Here are the first of my #vagothinks:

#vagothinks The USA should offer Syria to Turkey if they go in and kick ISIS out – just give it to the Turks.

#vagothinks the US economy is failing miserably for everyone who is not already middleclass or higher – I propose locialism as a solution…

@vagothinks locialism is a universal safety net including free medical, food, and housing assistance for anyone earning less than $40k/year

#vagothinks #locialism should be free and available for anyone who asks for it – no proof necessary – those who opt out get special benefits

#vagothinks taxes should be paid by employers before wages – flatly – every employee gets taxes withheld – not an employee=no taxes !

#vagothinks Trash trucks should have scales on them – every household gets charged by weight – less garbage=lower bill, more garbage=higher

#vagothinks No one (including corps) should be allowed to own more than two residences but no limit on commercial or industrial properties

#vagothinks There should be a children’s judicial system where children can safely appeal unfair treatment from adults with no consequences

#vagothinks a person’s record should only reflect judgments against them -everything else should be expunged – including credit data

#vagothinks The US government should wipe out student loans and make all Universities public and free of charge – funded by taxes, resources

#vagothinks the US government should use (and disclose) alternative funding for maintenance of parks, universities, schools, highways, etc

#vagothinks the sale of raw materials to other countries should be outlawed. The USA should export finished products only.