My life is a TV show

Lyft Line is Lyft’s version of a carpool. It’s also like Forest Gump’s box of chocolates… you never know what you’re going to get when you pack a group of strangers into a car during a long ride in rush hour traffic.

Yesterday, I received a Line request in Santa Monica from Kathy. As soon as she opened the door, I had a huge grin on my face and involuntarily blurted out, “OMG!  Kathy, you sound like an anime character!”  She was a grown ass woman, mind you, but her voice sounded like Minnie Mouse. 

“I know!” She exclaimed. “I’m a voice actress!”

“Well, get in. I can tell this is going to be a great ride.” And so we began our cross-town journey engaged in pleasant conversation about voice acting and video games. Working in video games, I’d met a few voice actresses/directors and sat in on a couple recording sessions.  We were deep in conversation about her work when a chime sounded that a new rider had been added to the queue. 

I turned down a street to pick up Joe, a suited up businessman standing outside a dry cleaner holding a week’s worth of pressed suits. He was cordial enough, but he seemed serious compared to our previously light-hearted conversation about voice actors slipping in and out of character while you’re trying to talk to them. 

After a couple moments of indecision, I said screw it and resumed the conversation with Kathy, and we subjected Joe to our discourse about how nutty voice actors are. Then we heard another chime, signaling another rider. 

We picked up Thomas in front of the CAA building on Avenue of the Stars. As soon as he got in the car, it was all about Thomas. He was a real estate agent who just came from a pitch meeting with executives at a major TV network. Thomas was a wheel and deal, “I’m always right,” Hollywood guy who immediately started engaging with Kathy. He wanted to know about her upbringing and then tried to convince her to woo him so he could be her agent in charge of her career. Needless to say, she wasn’t taking the bait. Even though she sounded like an adolescent Japanese girl, Kathy was a smart cookie who’d worked in the corporate world and answered all of his questions effortlessly.  While driving, all I could do was share knowing looks with Kathy from the rear view mirror as she continued to deflect Thomas’ advances. 

As we drove to the first drop off, I marveled at the cast of characters in the car. A bubbly smart protagonist who sounded like she escaped from a Disney movie, a sleazy Hollywood agent antagonist, the serious “I just want to get home to my boring life” businessman, and a token minority comic relief character. I guarantee this motley crew is more entertaining than any script on AMC’s desk that doesn’t involve zombies right now. 

We dropped off Joe, then Thomas, and Kathy looked at me in disbelief. “That guy was such a douche!”  That’s when I learned she also cussed like a sailor as she went off on him. This was a million times more entertaining with her voice. I could listen to that all day. And so the ride ended with as much laughter and pleasantry  as it started with. This is why I love what I do. 

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I’d be angry too…

Dee was a petite young lady with a baby face who looked like she was 13.

As Dee approached my car, I groaned internally. The hardest part of this job is turning down rides… which I do all the time to anybody under 18 without a parent. Lyft’s terms of service require you to be at least 18. If a minor rides alone, it violates TOS, and they’re doing so without insurance.

Dee was a petite young lady with a baby face who looked like she was 13.  “Dee, how old are you?”

“23!” She said, beaming.

<in disbelief> “Can I see some ID?  You look so young…”

Sure enough, she showed me her driver’s license and she was 23. We proceed with the ride as normal heading towards UCLA.  In my head, I’m doing the math… “Wait, Dee, did you already graduate from college?”

“Yeah, I’m working full time now…” I found out Dee was on her way to work two hours late because fuck her boss. “I don’t even care. I hate her. She makes me work overtime without paying me. She emails me on weekends to do work for free.  When I make a mistake, she always complains because nothing is ever good enough for her. She really makes me feel bad about myself, saying things like ‘I’m useless.’  I’m so over that place. I can’t wait to quit.”

“Dee, there’s so much anger in you…” :O

“Yeah, I’m either raging or crying. Today you get the ranting…”

Dee, if you’re reading this, I hope you find a new job soon. That sounds like a toxic work environment. I’d probably be angry too if the world thought I was 13 when I was 10 years older… except when I’m 40 and everyone thinks I’m 30.  That’ll be nice.