Yesterday, my friend Kelly texted me asking for some help moving boxes. Her place is across town and it was about to storm, so she offered to send a Lyft to pick me up. When the dumpy Mazda showed up at my corner, the female driver eyed me suspiciously until I knocked on the passenger window to make sure she was my ride. "You're not Kelly," she said, still looking at me funny. I explained that Kelly had ordered the car for me. She hesitated a few more seconds, then unlocked the back door so I could get in.
Unlike every other rideshare I've ever been in, this driver asked about which way to go. She explained that the GPS on the Lyft app kept going down and that she wasn't familiar with this neighborhood. After struggling with her phone for a bit, she resigned to having me direct her. She told me she'd only been driving about three months and that she'd come from a far south suburb to pick me up. "A lot of the time I lose money just paying for all the gas driving to and from the city," she said.
A quarter of the way into the ride it was very clear to me that she had no idea about the geography of Chicago. We were traveling north on Ashland Avenue—one of the city's major thoroughfares—but it was a brand-new street to her. She complained a lot about other rideshare drivers, especially foreign ones, not knowing a left turn from a right while barely knowing much more than that herself. All the while the nav system occasionally squawked wrong directions which she did her best to ignore.
I never told her I used to be a cabbie. Why make her feel even more clueless than she already knew she was. I wished her well when she dropped me off and quietly mourned the dying profession I was once part of.