5/29/21- Sunny Saturday, Cool in the morning, Jorge Behn in the background.
A recent experience allowed me to consider more closely relationship with strangers in the greater world. The day began like any other at the Mulberry…. I was awoken before 6 am by my upstairs neighbor stomping her way up and down the stairwell in preparation for travel to what I hope was a better morning, for her at least. After channeling my disgust with a morning trip to the bathroom and a few F-bombs out the window in her general direction, I returned to bed to passively stretch since there would be no more sleep with the jolt I had just received. Already considering how this might affect my energy level and temperament for my first real paid directed session gig, I practiced breathing out my frustration through a morning meditation by the end of which all the fucks I gave about the neighbor or her heedless behavior were gone.
Recovering from a rude awakening through conscious effort, I prepared my gear, ride share, and attitude to situate myself in a better place for success. Since my car was still in the shop after almost a week due to a painstakingly slow electronics troubleshooting process, I had been prepared to find alternative transportation. Having reserved the ride early, I was pleased with myself for the comprehensiveness of my preparation. As I finished a double check of my apartment upon cell notice that my driver was arriving, I found that I was ready and without having been rushed. I felt pretty good about this start.
I walked outside to a message that my driver had arrived and would be leaving in 3 minutes, but I saw no driver on the corner I had specified for pick up. I texted that I was on the corner I had specified, to no response. Less than a minute later a black Prius screamed around the block to return with a swerve to my point of departure. Noticing the erratic driving, I anticipated something interesting.
Speeding away from the corner, cutting across 2 lanes of traffic in a matter of feet, Ross began to explain that he had been waiting for me in the alley way. He reiterated vociferously that he had arrived at the correct location as listed by the site GPS, Mulberry Alley and 12th Avenue, though I had specified the corner of Mulberry Avenue and 12th Avenue. In a friendly manner, I waved off his unsolicited advice, familiar with the rideshare’s often erroneous reliance upon GPS, claiming “No harm, no foul.”
But he refused to let the matter rest and proceeded to coach me on the proper way to list my location for pickup to an area in which I have resided for over 20 years. My internal monologue told me not to bite, not to take his silly bait, to maintain the calm I had purposely sought this morning to enhance my preparation for performance. I looked at my Google map to double check the location to which he had just pointed (and from which I had seen him peel out, yes in a Prius), and the street was in fact Clay, as I knew. Since he would not cease with his diatribe, I informed him that he had actually been on Clay Street.
Of course this set him off…he had to maintain the right of his point of view. I told him that it did not really matter to me, and might we ride in silence…to which he raised his voice the he was SIMPLY TRYING TO HELP ME. I laughed inside as I considered the ridiculousness of the situation in which I found myself. When he began again, I mused aloud that an alleyway might not be the likely first choice for pickup when there was a recognized avenue by the same name. To this Ross screamed at me to get out of his car. Surprised, but kind of relieved to bring the situation to resolution, I informed him that he was a fucking asshole, gathered my gear, and proceeded along my route on foot as I texted my new working partner of my experience and requested a pickup.
Humping it up Division to work out extreme frustration, really, the will to violent response, and to address the breach of service with Lyft, I then began to fret over the path my day had just just taken, what it might mean to the recording session to which I had been looking forward with great enthusiasm. Despite the forecast of rain, the sun had peaked out in comfort. I breathed deeply, attempted to process the encounter as I walked on, speculating as to my role in the interaction.
What could I have done to avoid such an encounter? I had started out so well with this intention. I did not want to bring any kind of contentious attitude to a new working partner. I did not wish my burgeoning resentment to derail a real opportunity and the possibility of future collaborative connection. Yes, I could have kept my mouth shut, and I tried. However, Ross’s persistence summoned my own. Anyone who knows me knows me.
However, once Steffen and I linked up, the day changed tenor dramatically. Easy going and kind, he allowed me to relate and process the experience for a few minutes before we arrived at the Sandbox recording space. I found that by the time we arrived, I had shifted gears, readily embracing his workflow ideas for the directed session and the wealth of knowledge I was already beginning to assimilate.
The session went amazingly smoothly: I was satisfied with my performance, I made new friends, they treated me to celebratory cocktails for the session! I was much relieved. After the long session, when Radio cab, decimated by the ascent of ride sharing, could not save me from Lyft, Steffen and Hannah joked with me on the porch while we awaited a driver who never showed. Shortly before 11 pm, and with slight trepidation I called Lyft again, rather than risk the imposition of spending the night with my new friends. As the driver arrived, they admonished me with smiles to be on my best behavior, Hannah now sharing that they had not known what to expect when I had told them I had been evicted from my ride on the way to their home that morning. Recalling my well ingrained southern conversational fallbacks of Sports and BBQ, I talked Blazer playoff stats with Rod all the way home and thanked him for a far different experience, to which he responded with surprise that I had ever riled anyone up so much.
I laughed, well knowing from personal experience that I could easily rile someone up enough to have them ask me to get out of their car, though I appreciated the corroboration here. But today, I was not the instigator; Ross, your bad attitude ain’t on me. I appreciated the grace to notice the difference between the experiences as my living situation has allowed much consideration of conflict mediation recently. Thank you Universe for a good day even if informed by a shaky start.