He lifts, Bro

I was in the middle of a Lyft Line in West LA when a new rider was added to the queue. Glancing at the picture, I commented, “This guy looks like a Greek God…” Naturally, I picked up Mike at the gym. 

As we continued the drive and dropped off the original passenger, I started talking to Mike, who’s very down to earth and friendly. “So what do you do, Mike?”

“I’m a personal trainer.”

Of course he is… We pull up to his destination, and I look at him confused. “Wait, I’m not dropping you off at McDonalds, am I?!” 

“No, I live right next to the McDonalds…” His voice grow distant as he trails off in thought. “Bro, you don’t know how hard it is living next to McDonalds…” he says wistfully. 

I’m cracking up as he continues with a straight face. “Bro, this McDonalds never closes, man. It’s open 24 hours… it’s even open on Christmas and New Years when everything else is closed.” At this point I’m laughing so hard I’m worried we’re going to crash. 

So if you’re ever craving a McDonalds fix at an odd hour of the day or night, head on over to the McDonalds on Pico Blvd in Santa Monica. And if you see a muscular man on the sidewalk staring at your french fries longingly, they will taste extra special salted by the tears of a Greek God. 

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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.