There’s a first time for everything, they say.

Sidebar: there will be no sidebar tangent on the whole “they” phenomenon of deferring judgment of our own to that faceless, possibly all-knowing cabal known only as they. But you just know I’m dubious of their wisdom. Especially if they simply turn out to be nothing more than garbage-variety stupid Americans. <gasp>

There does, though, seem to be a first time for everything.

Just about two weeks ago now, I got my first non-5-star ride rating from a passenger.


I was amazed at how much this affected me. I mean…

Out of about 7300 rides at that time, one measly 4-star rating. I couldn’t tell if it was the loss of my 5-star streak after almost two and a half years (August 2019-December 2021) or the overwhelming randomness of its presence against over 7000 other ratings.

I mean, I know not everyone bothers to rate me after a ride. In those instances, my rating defaults to a 5-star automatically.

Maybe it was that she chose to click a box to support her rating.

Unsafe Driving.

Yeah….that was probably it.

I’m not meant to know who these ratings or comments come from. But this was a particularly gnarly week. It was the holiday week. And it snowed.

Of course, that created some shitty driving conditions. Particularly since the snow followed a day of rain where about 2” fell before sundown and carried on into the night. Snow was really only falling in the higher elevations…y’know, like 500 feet.

That’s high elevation for Portland!

But on Highway 26, coming into town, that created a real shit show driving situation.

That highway is a steep grade down hill into town – heck, out of town for that matter…I’d hydroplaned going uphill on this freeway on my way to the pickup. That takes some doing.

I digress. Water was running across the lanes and down hill, then running even deeper with traffic where tires had grooved each lane. It was like a liquid tic-tac-toe board.

Since we were still at about 400 ft above sea level and a good 150 ft above the valley floor, there was snow coming down with the rain. But not just any snow. It was big, wet flakes. Like Mother Nature’s minions had confused Portland’s weather with their children’s home room winter decor.

Seriously, these snowflakes looked like they were cut out of construction paper by second graders, they were so huge. When they hit the windshield, they made an audible thwack.

It was no Snow Falling On Cedar moment,

Highway 26 is also windy – in both senses of the word, but in this case you just need to know it was twisty and turny. Did I mention we were heading downhill?

Even going only 40 mph, I hydroplaned. Twice.

And this is the weather this suburbanite chose to go into town in.

Lucky me, I got to drive her.

And then she said my driving was unsafe.

Girl, your judgment is unsafe!

Best part? She tipped me!

That’s what really made her stand out. I knew it was a white knuckle ride. Mainly because I’m referring to my own knuckles! But I remembered seeing the tip and thinking that was really generous of her, given the hairy road and weather conditions.

Then she fucked me in the comments.

It wasn’t that big a tip.

Anyway, the app itself does a fairly good job of building in an occasional rogering for us drivers, too. In this case, it’s that we don’t see individual ride ratings, we get a weekly recap about nine days later. That means that I’ve given between 50-100 rides between the time someone rates their ride and I see the recap.

But! There’s an appeal process.

All I have to do is scroll through my history to the ride in question, mind you, this is all we see in our ride history

No addresses, rider names, rating…just the date, time and earnings. So, sure…let me scroll back through the rides for that day – I give 20-40 on Fridays and Saturdays – and take my best guess and then tap “I Was Rated Unfairly”. I can narrow it down by filtering out the riders that didn’t tip, but I’m usually getting tips from 40-60% of my riders, so of the 15 rides I gave that night during that nightlife ride window, I’m still gonna have to take my best guess out of about nine possible rides.

Nine days later.

On the plus side, the app does default to a 5-star rating if the passenger does nothing. And it’s not like I’m really suffering…

I mean, roughly 20-25% of my passengers enjoy the ride with me enough to bother to tap a button telling Lyft I’m friendly or go above and beyond during their ride. Hell, 1445 riders tapped a button saying I’m a good driver.

So, why let one rider out of 7300+ get under my skin?

I dunno. Maybe they are right. Maybe with me, it’s always gotta be something.

But, honestly? I think it’s C-PTSD. My therapist talked a little about this with me during my too-brief mental health tune up this past summer when Black Sheep Bro came prodigally back.

I can’t let go of something that’s wrong. Not easily, anyhow. It’s why I left my last professional job, and why I left my part time gig with Amazon. Not to mention one of my temp jobs – credit to me, though, I finished the assignment but passed on the request to extend when the owner asked for me to stay longer.

All of those situations had me in places where I was witnessing bad behaviors from leadership. I had to go. That’s my trigger, bad behaviors. Specifically, people getting away with them. Especially if that creates a double-standard.

This? This was just one passenger prioritizing Saturday night fun (or whatever night it was) over personal safety and then making it my problem/fault she felt unsafe. And tipping me to cushion the blow.

Or at least that’s how my mind spins the blanks that it fills in. Blanks that are created by the absence of immediate feedback.

Whaddyagunnado, though, right?!?

Normal People: Fuggeddabowdit!

Me: …

I tried to shake it off. Carry on like normal. Move on.

How that manifested in the doldrums between Christmas and New Years, though – when ride demand is down because people are holed up with family, not to mention the exacerbation Omicron added to the mix – was me trying to soldier on but failing to be busy enough to distract myself from the trigger.

I went out Monday to do some afternoon/rush hour rides. Because New Years weekend was so slow – seriously, NYE was a Friday and it’s typically my biggest night of the year…I did half the business I do on a regular Friday night! – so I quit “early”. After the ball drop, before last call. So, I had three make up rides to pick up in order to true up my Lifetime Rides number.

What? I like it to end in a 5 or 0. That’s not weird. It’s tidy. I’m fastidious!


I was in my third make-up-rides ride, trying to decide how awful long another five rides would take – those three put me at the two hour mark, usually I do 3-4 rides in one hour – when one of my drinking buddies texted me. I saw the preview drop down from the top of my phone, “Tanner Creek at 530?”

Fuck, yeah! That was a much more therapeutic better use of my time!

The next day, I got my 4-star ride. I didn’t drive again until Friday. Outside of my vacation in October, I hadn’t taken three days off in a row since…I don’t even know when! In non-challenge weeks (where I drive about 25-30 hours), I’ll take three days off, sometimes even four. Just not together.

I didn’t get out of bed until after noon each day, including Friday. That was the week of bad Bruce Willis flicks where I stayed up until daybreak at least twice. I over ate, over drank, smoked too much weed and didn’t exercise at all.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give that week a…4.

But I came out the other side of it, so there’s that. Note to self: I gotta stop letting things get corkscrewed up into my psyche.


15 thoughts on “4

  1. Given the Meyers-Briggs theory that 25% of “they” won’t like you, rolled into the “like button or no comment” impersonal zero conflict electronic interaction mentality you’re doing fine. I’d be more worried about the flat no comment response ratio considering the “if you can’t say something nice say nothing” adage. Better 4 as a known.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. While we’re at it, is “white knuckled” racist? Or reverse racism? Can white knuckles actually BE whiter? Is it a euphemism of culturally embedded inequality or an all races access thing? Do everyone’s knuckles go white on a treacherous drive, or just white folks? Is there such a thing as a “black knuckle ride”? And would that be racist or descriptive? Ahhh, the joys of modern inclusivity. we must be ever mindful of what and what we say and how we say it. Take for instance pink knuckiing…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I know the descriptive intent behind the phrase, but have not done any/sufficient “research” to know whether or not it transcends skin color, my cracker. But I know that phrase lacks the same power as some other reclaimed racial slurs…I doubt it will catch on.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You would be surprised at what minutiae mainstream publishers bring up these days, inside or outside of dialog, for fear of reprisal. If, as writers, we were forced to correct them all we’d be writing oatmeal. One very successful author was questioned for his use of dialectic syntax and asked to remove it. His response? Fuck it. I’ll publish it myself. No no no… haha… just checking. Translated – never mind, we like the money. The point he brought up was making everyone write everything in correct white academic syntax was more racist than giving people from da eye-lands mon dare own voice.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. And you have enough sense to stay home in that weather!
      Also, you’re back! Haven’t seen you here in a while…does that mean I’ve been missing things or that I have something to look forward to in my Reader? 🤞🏽🤞🏽🤞🏽

      Liked by 1 person

  2. For someone who had no regard for the weather conditions or your feelings, she surely left her mark on you. Perhaps, she blamed all the weather conditions as your fault. Not to worry, she’s only one out of many that are pleased with your efforts. Let her go – she isn’t worth the trouble. Naked hugs! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know you’re right. Absolutely.
      The weird thing is that this last week felt like I was overcoming every retail business trope about that it takes for a business to offset a bad online review.
      The good news for me is that I get a 5-star rating even if the rider does *nothing*. A restaurant gets no rating for its effort *unless* a customer does something, so I know they got it worse.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. No need to go into a tailspin; nobody expects you to be perfect…except maybe YOU. Besides, some people almost never use the 5-star option, reserving that for the possibility that their driver may one day turn up and be Jimmy Kimmel, or for us old ladies, Jay Leno.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The old, “there’s always room to improve” rating system, eh? I’m familiar! I’ve actually even considered it from the driver side. We can rate passengers, too…with the same 5-star default if we do nothing. But the trick on our end is that anyone we rate 3-stars or below, we’re never paired with again. That turns the whole rating dynamic into a real crucible. Luckily, I think I’ve rated only around two dozen folks a 3-star or below…Lyft passengers are pretty awesome!


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