Two weeks ago today, after a productive morning and afternoon, I got into my car, and decided to have a positive attitude for what laid ahead. I drive, part-time, for a Transportation Network Company. Let's call the company Lyuberdidi. It is one of those where riders request a ride on a phone app and, like magic, a car and driver appear, ready to take the rider to their destination for a very reasonable rate.
Typically, it takes me three nights of driving four to five hours to gross the $114 required for my car's weekly lease payments, That week, though, I needed to make the money in two nights. I set my goal for that Friday evening at $60. It was a doable but also ambitious goal. Only maybe five times in the nine months I'd been driving had I taken in $60 or more in a single evening.
I know from my life experience that attitude is important. I've built in myself, over the years and through the good, unexciting, and difficult times, a positive mindset. Not always do I remember or have a good attitude but, often, I do. I tell myself that God/ Source/ Universe, That Which Is, Life, however you call it (these are the things I call it) is for me. It turns out, by and large, I see good acted out in my life, as if it's true.
One of the other things I know is that I am an active participant in nearly all the good that I experience. At the very least, I have to show up, physically and/ or mentally, for me to be aware of good happening. The Universe and I are not independent of one another; I am, in fact, a part of it. So it is with you, too.
In any event, I got ready. I got ready in my mind, and I got ready by my actions. I filled the gas tank. Vacuumed the car. Opened the app, and started driving at 4:50pm.
I voiced my desire out loud, in the car, for $60. No one else was listening or needed to. I asked the Universe for good, engaging riders. And for long trips on the highway. Long highway trips are where I make the most money.
I'd rather have a good conversation with a rider than not, but I am also okay with not talking. I gauge riders at the beginning of the trip. If the rider gets into the front seat, it's a pretty good bet they want to talk (but not always). About a half of my riders are interested. I make initial queries of "How's your day so far?" and "What radio station would you like?" and "Tell me if you'd like it colder or hotter." On setting out this day, I decided not to go into tales about how I was making very little money driving, if anyone should ask me about how it is to drive for Lyuberdidi. I'm usually asked two or three times a night.
There were no philosophical discussions on that day. I do so enjoy discussing metaphysics and the meaning of life! But the evening's drive was good nonetheless.
My first ride was the best. I picked up a couple, a man and a woman, from their home. They were going to the large casino in the town next to mine. Along the way, I found out from the man about the use of water-based paints versus solvent-based paints in auto body repair. Temperature makes a big difference. He works in a "tin box," as he calls it, without air conditioning. No AC because the paint needs to dry. Two weeks ago Friday the temperature got to 104F. It was, honestly, interesting stuff. Different regulations for Sacramento and Placer Counties but why? (I live in Placer County; Sacramento County is adjacent, and to the southwest.) We speculated. There so many intriguing tidbits in every job done well.
I was then, after a brief discussion about music, asked about where I was from, how I got to Rocklin, etc. I abbreviated my story.
"It's tough," he said afterward. His response caught me by surprise. I hadn't made my story an heroic or pity-me one, just gone over some basic facts of the past few years in a light-hearted manner. On thinking about it then, briefly, very briefly, it was kinda tough. My life was a bit tough. Life itself is tough, sometimes.
But the words that came out of me, almost immediately, were: "Yeah, it's tough. But talking about it does no good. It just makes it tougher still." He nodded in agreement. "We live better that kings did a hundred years ago in many ways," I added. He said, "Even fifty."
I felt not discouraged but encouraged from the "tough" remark. Yes, life is tough. Sometimes. But so what? Am I going to let circumstance get me down? Is not every situation a chance to know ourselves and the Universe better? Life is tough, sometimes. It is also good.
So good to concentrate on the good.
A few minutes later, at the end of the 13 minute, 5.5 mile ride ($5.77 for my portion of the fare), he touched my shoulder, said something like, "Have a good day, man." Then, with a twinkle in his eye, he handed me a five dollar bill and got out. A tip.
I felt respected, alive, useful, appreciated. All from from a thirteen minute conversation and a thoughtful five dollar tip.
I had longer dives and longer conversations that day but that was the biggest tip, and the most meaningful talk. (I received two more tips. Medium French Fries from a Libertarian who worked at a school. And two dollars for a short $3.17 trip from a black t-shirted and shorted young guy maybe twenty-two years old. He reeked of smoke, had black, should-length hair, and nails painted a bright shade of blue. He took Lyuberdidi to go and pick up his father from a local bar. He'd drive his father's truck back so his pops wouldn't be driving.)
At around 9:15pm, I called it a night, 68.51 dollars later, not including the $7 in tips. $8.51 over the goal!
Attitude makes a huge difference. Maybe, sometimes, the difference.
The next day, I made my $45 goal to finish the week. Was home before ten.