I don’t know what kind of person I am. I don’t think I’m a morning person, but I’m definitely not a night person. I like to be in bed by 10:30 but have been known to sleep well past noon. Also, I do not function without coffee. Like, at all.
I paint you this picture to illustrate my mindset the morning of Saturday, December 23. I had an early flight home for Christmas, so rather than take the train (which typically involves a few wrong trains before taking the right one), I decide to hail a Lyft.
At approximately 5:45 a.m., my driver pulls up, and, within seconds, I know I’m in trouble. He’s the chipper sort, and I can smell the sickly sweet remnants of Red Bull on his breath.
I sit in the front seat, not as to engage, but as to avoid vomiting all over his backseat. “I get carsick,” I tell him, setting the bar as low as humanly possible.
He asks what I do, where I’m going.
I tell him I’m a dog walker, and that I’m going home to Kentucky.
He asks if I’d like to start driving for Lyft. I say no, I get car sick. That I don’t like driving. And I don’t like driving with other people in the car. So, all around, a terrible fit.
He tells me it’s fun. That you get to talk to people – all kinds of people! – all night.
I cannot conjure a more perfect vision of hell, I think, so I nod and say, “Yeah, that must be interesting.”
He tells me I never asked him what he likes to do for fun.
I ask him what he likes to do for fun.
He says karaoke.
I ask him where he likes to do karaoke.
He says he’s never done it in public before.
I wonder how much longer I have until he abducts me.
He fiddles with some dials, and soon, his entire dash turns into a karaoke screen.
“This one’s my favorite,” he says, cuing up Shania Twain’s “Man I Feel Like A Woman.”
I laugh politely. He’s so happy. And I’m so tired.
He asks me to sing along. I oblige, barely – talking the words rather than singing them.
“Come on!” he says. “You know it!”
I tell him I’m tone-deaf.
He tells me it doesn’t matter.
I give him my worst.
He loves it.
“Right there! See, I heard it! You DO have a good voice!” He’d say whenever I’d land in the general vicinity of the note at hand.
Soon, he drops out of the song all together. I’m singing solo. He’s backing me up with the chorus. Aside from a few “Oohs,” “Ahhs,” and “Let’s go girls,” I’m totally and utterly alone. I’m so very embarrassed. Which is odd for me, really. I love karaoke. But this feels different. It feels vulnerable.
I look around the car to see if there are any cameras. Surely there are. Surely this is some sort of prank. And, if so, surely I can refuse the use of my footage, right?
I decide the best way out is an honorable decrescendo — a slow descent into silence. I begin to soften my voice until it becomes no more than a whisper. I then sigh heartily, as if I’m pleased with our work, and I’m eager to end on a high note. I clap my hands on my thighs for a final touch – a nonverbal “Well! That was fun! I must be off now! Ta-ta!”
It doesn’t translate.
“You don’t like this one? We’ll find another.”
He finds Spice Girls. Then Christmas songs. Then Mariah Carey, which becomes the climax of our carpool concert.
Every time I stop and try to strike up a conversation, he sings at me. He looks at me, locks eyes, and sings right into my soul.
This continues for the entirety of our 35 minute trip. By the time I arrive at Midway, I’m hoarse, exhausted and car-sick from reading the lyrics on the screen. I’m a little annoyed, honestly, until I realize something: I’ve been strugging to come up with blog topics, and this guy just gave me a gem.
So, thank you, dear Lyft driver. I hope you get more willing passengers in the New Year.