Hey, Look … I’m a Writer

For the past nine months or so I’ve been driving part-time as a ride share driver. For those of you who may not know what a “ride share driver” is, let me explain. A ride share driver is a person who picks up random strangers and takes them to random destinations. It’s fun and awkward all at the same time. It’s weird to think about how someone came up with the idea.

CEO: “What if we drive around the city and pick up random strangers and take them places?”

Venture Capitalist: “Do people want that?”

CEO: “I don’t know.”

VC: “But will random strangers want to get in a car with random strangers?”

CEO: “I don’t know.”

VC: “So people would request a random stranger to take them to random places and then maybe another random stranger take them back to a random place …”

CEO: “Like home?”

VC: “Yeah, like home, which is familiar to them but not to the random stranger who is driving the random stranger. Is that what you’re talking about? ”

CEO: “Yeah, like that?”

VC: “Would people pay for that?”

CEO: “I don’t know.”

VC: “Let me get my checkbook.”

In all honesty though, it’s been fun and I’ve met a lot of great people and I’ve made a little bit of money. So there’s that.

The awkward part for most people is the “elevator small talk” people have to make in the car. I’ve been on both sides as a driver and a passenger and it’s just weird. So inevitably somebody will get in the car and say, “So do you do this full time or …?”

And my response is always the same, “It’s $2 extra for meaningful conversation.”

Ha. Just kidding. I usually ask for $5.

Not true.

I always tell them “well, I’m actually a writer by trade.” I don’t know what “by trade” means, but I’ve been saying it for quite some time now. I’m a writer by trade. Like I working at this Starbucks, but I’m actually a cobbler by trade.

“Oh, you make shoes?”

“Yeah. You want whipped cream with that?”

Yeah, I’m a writer by trade. I then go on to explain that I worked in the newspaper biz for many years and when I got downsized a couple of years ago …

Wait. What? What the hell does “downsized” mean?

Good question. I don’t know. I just like the word. It’s better than “laid off” or “fired” or “given other opportunities” or whatever else. Basically, it’s saying the management at the newspaper office decided they needed to save some money, so they chose the person who had the highest salary.

Me.

Haha. That’s a joke. I was the least talented and most expendable. The good news is that a couple of weeks later I was offered my old job back as a new “freelance position” for slightly less than minimum wage.

But I digress.

Anyway, I was “downsized” and I decided not to take another job in the newspaper industry. So I do a little writing on the side and I drive part-time. But basically, I say, “I’m a writer,” which is true but it’s also not so true. I am a writer. For sure. 100 percent. The problem is I haven’t been writing. It’s not that I haven’t written at all, it’s just that I haven’t written very much. After writing several thousand words each week and editing several thousand more for more than a decade, over the past two years, I haven’t been writing that much. That’s the truth. No reason really, just haven’t had the desire to write. I’m a writer without the desire to write. You ever feel that way? Something that you have been passionate about for years and then one day, you reach the burn-out point and you just stop?

It’s hard. Not the not writing part, that part was easy. But the not writing part when I should have been writing part, that was hard. It was easy not to do it — the actual act of writing, which is very hard. But it is hard on you mentally — the actual part that makes you feel whole. It leaves something missing. I guess because something is missing. So, I’m sitting down right now and tapping these keys trying to put anything down on paper, so that I can say “I’m writing.” And when people ask, “what else do you do?” I can honestly say, “I’m a cobbler by trade.”

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