Five Stars

It was an entire day of hazards. The light was out, either causing or because of an accident at Sepulveda and Venice. There was the lady who backed up a whole block just to get a parking spot. And, of course, the bus just never came. 

I waited 35 minutes, even though 22 would have been enough to know, and then I called a Lyft. Lyft Line to be precise, because at 3:15 it said I would be there no later than 3:38. My first class is at 4PM on Fridays, at my new studio wherein this is my second Friday. 

The driver was 10 minutes late to pick me up. Ten minutes later than the expected seven minutes.

“Just give me a second,” the driver said as he turned into an alley to press some buttons on his phone. The phone dinged with a second rider request. 

“I’m actually in a rush now, could you cancel the other rider requests? I have to get to work.” 

“You’re in a rush? Why did you get the pool then?” He laughed.

“Well, you were supposed to be here ten minutes ago, sir, and ten minutes ago I wouldn’t have been late.” 

He turned off the requests. 

I think if he hadn’t laughed, or maybe if he hadn’t started driving with his flashers on for a whole block and a half, or if he hadn’t followed the truck with the refrigerator strapped badly on its bed without any attempt at passing, I might have felt more passive, not said anything, and had just been late. 

But he laughed and none of this was my fault.

There is a Black Mirror episode about rating other people that I saw once and have thought about every single day since. It’s horrifying. It is where we are headed and I hear the way people talk about the periphery of it as if it is helpful, and all I can hear is how likely it is that the world will end with superficial judgments and a staggering lack of empathy. 

We want to blame something when things go wrong. It was the bus and the driver and the light at Sepulveda. But sometimes you sit in the back of a Lyft, listening to the Grease soundtrack playing on medium volume in a gas-efficient car and you panic-breathe at your dying phone, realizing you have no control over any of this, and, to quote your mother, “This too shall pass.” 

Nothing like living your yoga minutes before teaching it. 

I took another pool ride back from the studio because it was too late for the bus. The driver sings in a church on Sundays, but not this Sunday because they are doing home service. I do not know what this means, but I nodded. 

I helped the girl in the back seat find a liquor store near her drop-off to get a bottle of wine as a hostess gift for a house party. 

“If you do not have patience, you have no love in your heart,” the driver told me as he waited for a guy to walk across the road, out of turn and without motor control. 

“Mmm-hmm.” I wasn’t convinced of this blanket statement, but mostly for selfish reasons.

I was nearly home, but we picked up another lady a few blocks away, and given the driver’s views on patience and my own self-immolating penance due to my earlier ride, I resisted the urge to jump out of the car and run the rest of the way. 

“Am I supposed to sit in the front?” She was drunk. She didn’t realize she had called a pool. She turned all the way around to see me. “And you are?”


“How old are you?” This she said not so much as a question but the way you would say it to a grown adult doing something strange, like wearing only a diaper, or eating paste. 

“Oh, no thank you.” This is my reaction to anything offered to me that I do not want to be a part of, conversation not excepted. 

“She’s rude,” she said to the driver. “You need to drop her off. Get her out.” 

“Actually she’s very nice,” the driver said. “You asked her something rude and she didn’t want to answer.” 

I’m so very glad we can’t rate other humans based on minute interactions because there are a lot of these scenarios and they shouldn’t prevent people from buying houses or having friends. 

But as for the driver, five stars, sir.