her name was Vina


i was in the valley. there is a famous porn star named Vina who lives in the Valley.

i accepted the trip.

$20 to take her from the hills of Encino to very close to Hollywood Forever cemetery. half hour, uber predicted. but i would need to get on the freeway, something i didnt wanna do because it was 4pm and that 101 can get gnarley over by the 134.

i thought about cancelling. i think about cancelling a lot. is this why ive never been married? commitment issues? i can’t even commit to a half hour ride with someone who might be using her xxx name for a lift to hollywood?

what would i even say to adult star vina?

“ever consider the radness of dating an uber driver?”

got there, a woman who was not the famous star was sitting on a short flight of stairs outside a small house like the one in Boogie Nights where Dirk Diggler and his pals wanted to rob the drug dealer.

her english wasn’t good so i turned up the classic rock station that was playing elton john.

but unlike most people with thick accents, she wanted to talk.

fine. even if i can barely understand you imma get your life story.

vina is from el salvador. housecleaner. fifties. two adult kids. she works for an agency that sends her around. during the pandemic her boss loved her work so much he kept paying her even though there was no work.

i pointed behind us as we weaved our way towards studio city, was that guy a doctor?

she said she didn’t know. rich, she admitted. he has another place over the hill. she cleans that one too.

$120 for 5 hours. but most of it is dusting. wiping down surfaces. folding laundry. he’s clean.

“why aren’t you married?” she asked, pointing at my ringless hand.

beginners luck

the hills going through the pass from universal and the bowl into hollywood were so green

how do you say green in spanish? is it verde?

si, she said, excited. so we kept playing that game.

earlier she had told me her rent was $1,700 a month.

how do you say 1,700 in spanish?

mil setecientos she said.

mill see un cent toss i struggled

mil setecientos she said again, but slower.

mill see un cent dose i blurted, then gave up. this is why i’ve never dated a mexican girl! i said.

how old are you? she asked straight up

56. Gen X.

Jan 8th? she asked, mishearing me. i’m jan 20, she said.

is that capricorn or aquarius? i asked as i noticed we were in traffic.


ahhhh, that means you’re down-to-earth. Logical.

Law ju-co? she repeated poorly.

hey siri, how do you say Logical in Spanish?

ló-he-co, siri said in the perfect accent.

ahhhh ló-he-co, vina said. si. im law ju co.

i knew where the damn cemetery was so i ignored waze and drove at it the way i knew i should. i tried to tell her who Lana Del Rey was because I had seen her at that graveyard, but she didn’t understand me one bit.

so I played Young and Beautiful for her. didn’t work.

ever go into Hollywood Forever and check out the peacocks?


Siri, say peacocks in Spanish.

pavos reales

oooooo pavos reales. pee cocks. jajajaja

yeah it’s a funny word.

then she said, cacatúa. what’s that in english?


yes. si. cockatiel.

she asked me if i liked the Bee Gees, so i asked if she likes Bad Bunny?

Si! she said excited. You know Bad Bunny?

I just know he stole my girlfriend Kendall Jenner.

vina laughed and said Bunny is conejito. Bad is malo. Conejito malo.

WAIT THAT TACO JOINT WAS CALLED BAD? I asked, referring to a now shut down mexican place on sunset many of my friends would meet at because their margaritas were so good, but youd never walk out of that place without spending $100 each somehow.

It was called Malo? she asked, extremely confused at the ironic way americans name some things.

I slithered through the streets of Hollywood beautifully.

Do you know Ozuna? she said.

Siri play Ozuna! I demanded and up popped a song I didn’t know but beneath it were other songs he was part of, including the party hit Taki Taki – which I quickly clicked and cheered I GUESS I KNOW OZUNA!

Taki taki.Taki taki. Rumba! she sang in the back seat.

when i dropped her off she said, i will always remember you when I hear Taki Taki.

Moi aussi Vina!

my st paddys night highlight

i dont drive at night. im nervous about drunks. but it was St. Paddys and i missed a day of work while doing the podcast, so i needed to make up for it by driving as long as I could.

even in the dark.

i had been doing long drives during the day. ones id normally ignore but they were giving me offers i couldnt refuse.

for example, i got not one, but two trips for over $60 that took an hour and 15 minutes each that went 54 miles. was this Christmas? sort of!

but after the second long ride i was experiencing the thing i feared.

it was 8pm. dark. and i was in an unknown part of the world: behind the orange curtain. i got a decent offer for a short trip so i accepted it.

naturally it was two drunk people. but they were adults. parents, probably. they complained about how they had committed a faux paux at the restaurant with one of the gay waiters and it escalated into dirty looks and shortness. and the couple decided not to leave a tip on $100 check.

“you know what you can do,” i said to the slurring pair, “you can give me his tip and all will be right in the universe.”


9 minute trip, $20 tip. $26.85 for the service of being their therapist, as she told me I had been.

great, but i was in yorba linda, in the dark. and thats when i got a ping to go from nearby Placentia to Reseda for $40.

when i accepted, i saw the guy’s name was Miguel. which made me nervous because i like to talk and hear tales and sometimes these nice people don’t speak english.

i thought i should cancel because that’s a long time of not talking to each other. but i resisted.

then i turned into a motor home park. i nearly canceled then too. who is this guy?

but i didn’t chicken out when i saw these were really beautiful motorhomes. double wides. whatever you call them. this was like the best motor park id ever seen. there were flowers in front people’s places. a covered parking lot. it was cool. better than my crib!

out comes a latino guy, middle age, cowboy hat, dress shirt, jeans, goatee. and a minute later, an even bigger guy with all that stuff too. they got in the back and we were off.

So we’re going to the Coco Bongo in Reseda? Is that a restaurant? I asked.

“Reseda?! we’re going to Downey,” Miguel said, looking panicked in the dark back seat.

I pulled over as he struggled to change the destination in the app. As he did he explained it was a “country and western” dancing place.

then he specified it is Ranchera. “Mexican country western music.”

he figured out how to change the address. my screen was updated and we headed to Downey. miguel breathed a sigh.

he asked me how much i knew about Ranchera music, Mexico, Mexicans? I told him I had been to baja countless times, even san felipe and cancun, but none of those probably count.

they count, he said. his buddy kept quiet. didn’t even fiddle with his phone.

why did you go to san felipe, miguel asked

oh, it was a long time ago, maybe 25 years ago. two of my stoner friends and i were at a lame party in san diego on a really warm night and decided to just drive all night into mexico and see how far we could go. this was before gps or smart phones. we ended up in san felipe.

i really want to go to mexico city tho. i said.

miguel told me he had been living in mexico city for a month for work and loved it. i’d move there if i could, he said.

whats stopping you? i asked, wondering if i had ever heard of a mexican dude fail at trying to move to mexico.

my family, my friends, he said

and my husband

he squeezed the knee of the big strong silent guy next to him.

MIGUEL! how long have you two been married?

truthfully, we’re gonna get married in june.

and like you, i suddenly had lots of questions.

when did he come out, has he kissed girls, how did they meet, were his parents cool with him being gay, was his husbands family cool with it?

25, several when he was younger to fool everyone, at a gay country dance club, yes, no but they’re warming up to it.

did you say a gay ranchera dance club miguel?


was it in DTLA?

no, Anaheim.

they got that in OC?

amigo, we’re everywhere.

looks like you are my man. i love this! i said. so let me ask you this, i am Black, and some Black men feel they can’t be open about being gay. they have to be on the ‘down low.’ is that how it is in Mexico too?

it depends on how catholic the family is and how much machismo the dad has. many mexican dads don’t want to tell their friends: my son is gay.

i shook my head and frowned behind my n95 mask

then he asked, but do you know how important Black people are to gay rights?

that page must of have been torn out of my critical race theory book, i said, educate me!

Stonewall. those were Black drag queens who had had enough, he said.

get out!

really! he said and then translated it for his fiance.

all i could make out was negro.

$7.85 tip


after many bouts of very good luck waiting for rides at LAX, i came up with a saying
good things happen at the airport.
i had just dropped off a very curt man with something mysterious in a half opened box in culver city and decided to head over to nearby LAX to see what was what.
if you drop off someone at LAX, they’ll put you in the Priority line to pick up people there. the wait is usually less than 10 minutes.
but if you just cruise over, like i did, you be placed in the back of the line, which at that time was 265 cars.
fret not, a few things can happen.
any time someone at the front of the line refuses a ping (you get to refuse 3 before getting booted to the back of the line), their rejected offer could get flashed to you and several others.
first person who says yes gets it. but warning, there’s usually a reason the person originally said no.
im easy. as long as the trip doesnt send me south to the beach communities or OC, i’ll take it. fuck it. no ones getting rich at the airport any more.
after a few minutes of getting zero offers, i headed east to inglewood. but before i could even make it to the 405 i got an offer from one of the hotels to get someone there and take them to pasadena for $40.
lets just say i have been known to take $20 trips to dtla from lax – which is subpar – and i should be ashamed of myself for whoring myself out for that low, but they dont call it a grind for nothing.
so this offer is double that to just get to dtla and scoot up the curvy 110 to pass? done.
she seemed armenian. was! she was flying out tomorrow to crash with her parents in oregon who had retired up there.
but when she got to the lax hotel she had forgotten something and needed to get back to pass to get it. then since she was out there, planned on having dinner with a friend.
what do you do up there? i asked.
im a student. was a student. just graduated. unemployed now.
what’d you major in?
oh you’ll be fine.
i dont know.
oh please, i said, what do you wanna do with your degree?
i really don’t know. anything, she said. i’ll work for whoever will hire me.
ok but when you were studying all those years you didnt have a dream, a goal, a vision in your head of cooking the books for a small amalgam of liquor stores? or working in a skyscraper? or pretending to use an abacus when people passed by your cubby?
she laughed and admitted she had never planned ahead to what to do once she got her diploma.
ive been playing a lot of classic rock lately. the sirius station Lithium never seems to be the right vibe in the car. and they play too much dave matthews and Live. so ive been toggling between the three classic rock stations. i figure if the kids dont know these essentials, imma teach em.
the doors’ Peace Frog was the groove at the moment. i tapped my gloved hand on the steering wheel as we crept along the 110 near staples
ever do shrooms
she laughed, no!
where you from?
so youre a native angelena and youve never shroomed?
ive led a sheltered life she sang and i coulda sworn twirled her hair
youre in luck. youre going to one of the only states that have legalized magic mushrooms, and you have the perfect question to ask them, wtf should i do next?
my parents would kill me. they’re very strict.
ray manzareks organ swirled in the background and my mind tried to weigh her options: prob shouldnt shroom around parents, or alone, or in the beautiful woods of oregon next to that cold umpqua river
exactly how strict are they? i asked.
im 23 and they just started being ok with me drinking wine at the table.
have you never smoked weed?
oh god no.
then thats what you do. go buy a joint, when your parents go to sleep, walk around the neighborhood, puff puff puff. come home, wash your clothes if you want, wash your hair. actually showers are really nice sometimes. do they have a hot tub?
omg jump in that bad boy, soak, get out, dry off. put on pajamas and open your computer and go into gmail
yes, it autosaves really well. and type: what do i want to do. and then under that just type as fast as you can. i wanna dance i wanna sing i wanna twirl a baton i wanna fly to the moon. just all the things. for a few minutes type the most ridiculous things. youre just releasing the energy.
and then type but what i really, truly, omg secretly want to do is
$15.20 tip


she was waiting for me inside the small parking lot of a koreatown Everything store.

you want something for your garden, your closet, or your kitchen, they had it.

Maria had a fluffy rug in a giant plastic bag and a long object in a square box. the korean uniformed parking lot guy with a whistle and two sticks to help direct traffic told me to park, but i waved him off and pointed to her waving behind him.

finally i was allowed to pass. someone helped her with her too-big for my Benz items, and magically they all fit snugly and we were on our way.

i was mad at Maria. you should get an XL if you have big things, I thought to myself. but not everyone knows the nuances of rideshare, i also thought to myself. theres a damn radio show going on in there.

i get angry over the littlest things sometimes. it’s unreasonable and illogical. in my heart i want the person standing in front of the address in the middle of the block, with an opening for me to turn into, and then deliver me an incredible tale along the way.

but reality isn’t like that, and i know it. odds are a few rides will be like that, but most will be slightly annoying for various reasons but ultimately beautiful.

and in this case, romantic.

Maria was bringing home baby gifts for her first and only grandson. she has three daughters who all live in the valley. the oldest one is her favorite because she brought this baby into everyones life, she said.

i was no longer mad at her.

i asked her all the normal things: has he pissed on anyone, does his poop smell nice, does he sleep well?

her spanish accent was thick but she didnt care. she spoke fast and full of love.

yes, yes, and only around me.

it was rush hour in ktown and waze was telling me to zig zag to the opposite side of the neighborhood. it wouldn’t take long.

i asked her if she enjoyed being an abuela.

she said it is the best.

of all the stories i like to hear, love stories are my favorite.

{earlier today i had a big time motivational speaker and his wife. they were going to a fancy hotel. when he told me what he does i asked her, “does he motivate you?” “nope.” everyone laughed.}

when i asked Maria how she met her husband — she, too, laughed.

“i worked across the street from a korean coffee shop and every day i would go in and get a cup,” she said. “his parents owned it.”

i turned down the classic rock and said, “wait, your husband is korean?” Maria is Guatemalan.


“How long have you been married?”

“25 years.”

“then I must know everything,” I demanded.

she told me that koreans are not like Americans. Central, South and North Americans are all loud, she said, koreans are reserved.

“i would come in every day and every day he would forget to put sugar in my coffee and say nothing other than ‘three dollars.'”

she said he felt bad for him because here he has one job and he’s terrible at it.

“one day he said, ‘three dollars and would you like to go to dinner on friday?'”

unfortunately for the cars behind us, Maria lives on a narrow, busy street. so when we got to in front of her place, cars honked but she hustled the kiddie things out.

Hasta, Maria! i said

Caio, Tony! she said

$2 tip

got more suits than jacoby got myers

she had stunning pink hair, a wildly colorful dress, and a blue eggshell suitcase

i was picking her up from one of the newer hotels in Hollywood to Rancho Cucamonga at noon on saturday. I would get paid $55 for a drive that would take about an hour and fifteen minutes according to Waze. Def a long ride but if I can gross $45 an hour during a slightly dead period on a weekend (mornings and evenings are way busier than lunch), then I would risk it.

my goal for a shift is $250. so if i can knock out nearly a quarter of that in one trip, lets do it. it’s also nice to get out of LA traffic for a while.
the luggage, though, was a bit of a surprise. Typically you only get people with luggage on airport, train station or bus depot trips, but this is why you should always have an empty trunk, you never know.
her name was Ruth. she was in her late 20s. she was a Beauty influencer who owned her own salon in Indiana. her parents were Seventh Day Advenists and all her siblings were named after biblical characters. they were very strict so any time I asked her about most things on the radio, TV or movies, she asked me what I was talking about.
if she wasn’t so open to learning about all the things she had been shielded from, it would have been a long drive. but we yapped and yapped and yapped.

somehow she taught ME about the Veggie Tales.

“it was bible stories told by vegetables,” she giggled.

“WTF I LOVE BIBLE STORIES!” I yelled through my N95 mask. yes i still wear one.

“No way!” I said. “ask me anything.”

“What’s your favorite story?” she asked suspiciously, as i had just told her about weed stores, a shroom expert I had just had on my podcast, and how there was ether at the first party I went to in Isla Vista.

“strangely, it was the very first story Adam and Eve that got me into the bible because it was so short and so believable, while having elements of being super weird: A Talking Snake with four legs?!?!” i said.

she laughed.

“it was believable because it was so human nature for the humans to pass the blame on someone else instead of taking responsibility. Eve blamed the snake, Adam blamed Eve. And then the vengeful God got pissed,” I said. “A pattern that would repeat all through the Old Testament and through some of the New.”

because she got that i really had read my Good Book she said her favorite Veggie Tale episode was one about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

even though I have been trying my best not to cut people off, I interjected.


“You know that story?” Ruth asked, now very impressed.

“Do you know the Beastie Boys’ song, ‘Shadrach?'” I asked and she said, “pop culture, Tony. I’m still catching up.”

“Siri play Shadrack by the Beastie Boys from Pauls Boutique.” I demanded and turned up the stereo.

From the opening disco beat Ruth was into it.

“Riddle me this, my brother, can you handle it” I sang along with the opening salvo and Ruth got it Instantly. The Beastie Boys were rapping to her soul.

“Well who shall inherit the earth? THE MEEK SHALL! And yo, I think i’m starting to peak now, Al,” the Beasties rapped and Ruth was dying the back seat as we sped down the freeway in the car pool lane.

“Just three MCs and we’re on the go. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego!” They rapped and I turned it down to super cute clapping in the back.
$15.23 tip.

todays bills birthday, hes 24

life is weird and then you go to college.

i had two college experiences: the first one i had for 2 1/2 years at santa monica college which was fine, i had cool jobs, had a girlfriend, got my first apartments

the second one was at ucsb where i met my lifelong friends, learned how to write, experimented, was engulfed in music, and read some amazing books.

but one of the coolest things about #2 were hanging with people who would influence me for the rest of my life. bill is such a creative dude. ironically he was not in the college of creative studies with me, greg, chris, and many others. he might have been too creative.

and that happens in life.

sometimes you are wildly over qualified for the matter at hand and you would just expose how behind everyone else is.

thats why the angels had to take away hendrix, kurdt, and mark the bird fidrych.

bill and i would stay up all night drinking cheap beer and listening to REM and the grateful dead. two bands you wouldnt think would go well together, and its too bad they never did a show but those warm nights in Isla Vista, waiting for the sun to come up and the birds to start chirping

they blended beautifully.

i say over and over ive had a blessed life and its so true and it keeps coming true.

today i am being paid a few hundred bucks to talk to a few gig-culture startups, take pics, and then write about them. then i have to drive 15 lyft rides for $300. i really need all that money right now. so i thank God for looking out for me so i dont have to sell my Ohtani rookie card.

alvarado ladies

Had four young women, all in beautiful outfits, on their way to a nearby Day Party at a swanky spot in East Hollywood that used to be a homeless enclave but had gotten millions poured into it and has since been renovated into a WeWork style rent-a-workstation office thingie with expensive coffee.

An up n coming DJ was charging $40 a ticket for the event. LA’s young adults were sick and tired of being cooped up at home due to the rain, snow, and mushy hail which has a name but its a dumb one.

Day Parties for rideshare drivers are dangerous because some of us intentionally avoid driving at night because puking passengers are our biggest nightmares.

Anyways these ladies were sober, pumped, but did smell a wee bit like they had pre-partied a few pitchers of mimosas at the crib.

With large groups I like to focus on one passenger. But always playfully.

“We’re going to the DJ Day Party are we?” I asked when I clicked the app and the address popped up.

“What are you, David Blaine?” one of them said in the back. Her name was Lily, she soon revealed. “How the hell did you know that?”

“You saw my license plate said XBI,” I said. “The X stands for excellent at ESP.”

Everyone laughed. Then I said, “I just took another carload of bougie bitches there 20 minutes ago.”

More laughs.

“Do you have to be 21 to go to this thing?” I asked.

They all said yes in beautiful harmony. I wish you had heard it.

I looked in my rear view at Lily in the center of the back seat. She was the tiniest one.

“Girl how old are you and why aren’t you in detention at Marshall High?” I asked.

Everyone laughed. Lily said, “omg I’m 24 but thank you.”

I said, “according to your Alvarado Street fake ID maybe, but tell me the truth. 16? 17?”


“I know, so annoying,” she said blushing, but happy.

“Seriously there’s no way I’d let you in if I was that DJ. You’re pretty but that’s not worth the po-po busting up my good thing.” I said.

Howls from the ladies.

Then the one next to me, who was showing way too much leg for an East Hollywood bash, said, “ok now go around and guess all of our ages!”

The laughing continued and then died down because they actually thought I would do it.

“These rides come with ratings. If you noticed mine is perfect. Only a fool would fall for this trap!” I argued.

“We’ll give you 5 stars,” the one next to me promised.

“Oh I’ve heard that before. One false move and I won’t get a tip.” I said.

“WE WILL TIP WE WILL TIP!” they started chanting in the back.

I was making expert moves around traffic. Starbucks lines that spilled out onto Fountain were avoided. College kids on dumb scooters were narrowly passed. Potholes were eluded.

As were their pleas.

“Why don’t you ask me to guess your dress sizes? No one is going to leave this car happy if I accept your double dare, Marc Summers,” I said and they laughed more and luckily we arrived at the destination before they wore me down.

$0 tip

she made me do three things i hate

she made me wait

she added a stop in the middle of the ride

and we had to wait on a crowded street for her child to get out of school

but she was poor, Black and carrying a newborn so what was i gonna do, add to her struggle?

i dont even know how i got over there but i was way over there around 2pm

i know because when i arrived i texted her in the app saying “im on 68th street, not Fig. at the corner.”

and she texted back, “ok, but my son doesnt get out of school until 2:11.”

most days i would have canceled right then because


when you order rideshare, it tells you how far away the nearest car is and so if your child’s school is 5 minutes away and the app says a driver is 10 minutes away, well, don’t order the car too early.

it was not the best part of town. hookers. motels. even the palm trees looked like they had seen too much and needed a vacation.

so i didnt cancel. i waited and waved people around me.

with one minute to go on the 5 minute timer, she came out with a 6 month old in a car seat wrapped in a few baby blankets. it was unseasonably cold. my car was warm.

she was beautiful. but in an ll cool j ’round the way girl type. like the palm trees, she’d seen too much.

huge smile despite being overwhelmed.

she explained we were going to the school

“snatch up my son”

and come straight back to the apartment complex next to the mexican mini mart.

any time a request comes in that mentions an additional stop, i decline the trip. in a way its double the work for not double the pay, and it involves waiting.

i have been waiting my whole life for things, namely the cubs to win the world series, but now that’s been achieved, the end of my life approaches, so i wanna get everything in as fast as i can

i do not want to be looking at women in lingerie and bikinis parading up and down this south central street while i wait for this that and the other.

this woman was on 68th Place on the east side of south central and i realized decades ago i lived on 68th on the other side, in inglewood.

she said, “oh the wild side!”

“thats the wild side?” i asked in a shocked tone, “you got big booty bitches out here twerking in broad daylight trying to make it happen, and the Wood is the wild side?”

she laughed and laughed. then said, “i could be pushing a stroller down that street on a sunday morning and a truck will honk and ask how much. i gotta move.”

we got to the school and the pickup side street was packed full of cars and minivans. it was a narrow street to begin with, but now there were cars on both sides trying to creep close to the chain link fence where their clueless kids loligagged on the playground side ignoring the calls and honks from their parents



my passenger chimed in TOMMY! oh thats not Tommy. Where’s my child?

i saw a little opening closer to the gate and creeped the Benz between on car or pickup truck, inches from disaster.

a kid in his parents car – which was creeping towards us – hung out the back seat window and then knocked on the drivers window at his mom. he was bored. she was in a frenzy like the rest of us.

Tommy, who is in 1st grade, and adorable, finally appeared and sauntered over to the car. not a care in the world.

now i had to get through.

it was not easy. and it took a while.

a man in an old oldsmobile saw i only had an inch of clearance on either side of my doors, and waved me to him. i trusted him. he knew neither of us should have been in this mess. i followed his hand motions and when i made it through and cruised by him

we high fived.

in the back seat, Tommy said, “mommy i love you.”

i said, “what about me, Tommy, did you see i just got us through all that?”

“how does he know my name, mommy?” he asked quietly, but not quietly enough.

“oh i know everything about you. I know you have two girlfriends, a Mexican and a Sister…”

his mom said, “oh he doesn’t like Black girls.”

why not? i asked.

“they’re mean to him,” she said.

“and I know you love Roblox.” i said and he gasped.

lucky guess.

when we were nearly home the baby gurgled and then coughed loudly.

“damn. that was a grown person cough,” the mom said to the little girl. “we getting you home baby. i’ll heat up some nyquil.”

$2 tip.


the miracle at weed

She had blue hair and reeked of weed when I picked her up at the Silver Lake gas station.

not old lady blue hair, punk rock blue, but she wasn’t punk. More like homeless-y but something different. Some people you can’t put in boxes.

I had fucked up and this ride was going to West LA, way further than I had thought when I accepted the trip for $17. But I’ve learned sometimes the best rides are the ones I wanted to cancel before I got there or the ones I accidentally clicked.

She was going to be one of those, I realized almost right away.

First she told me that her former fiance had died in a head-on collision a few years ago. Then she told me *she* got hit by a car and won a half million dollar settlement.

Then she told me she was newly engaged to a saudi businessman whose assets had been frozen.

As you may know, I’m pretty good with tall tales, and I suspected perhaps the skunky aroma in my vehicle was not satan’s sassafras, but the shit from a bull. Since it would be 27 minutes until her destination, I decided to challenge all of her statements.

Weirdly, she had pretty good answers for all of them.

Q: why did you get $500k for getting hit by the car?
A: he had good insurance and my back was fucked for a year.
Q: why didn’t you buy a car with the money?
A: i hate driving.
Q: do people who win huge sums tip outrageous amounts?
A: i can’t tip at all, my lawyer controls my Uber account.

that fact, tragically, checked out. Sometimes with very old people or car dealerships or pimps, drivers will get an automatic message when we approach the pickup that says “please call the passenger when you arrive at the location.”

that message popped up as i got near the gas station.

just my lucky, crazy stoned nouveau rich punk homeless person can’t tip me a dime. fine.

we had to go east on the 101 to get to the 110 south in order to take the 10 west, an excruciatingly long roundabout in the afternoon but at least she was entertaining. so i asked her more questions.

q: how did you meet your new man?
a: a friend introduced us through Whatsapp. he likes white girls but wasn’t having any luck.
q: white girls don’t like rich guys?
a: who said he was rich?
q: you’re engaged to the only poor saudi businessman?
a: he’s rich. his money is just tied up. thats why i have to go to the credit union, then western union and wire him some money.
q: wire him money? is he in jail?
a: no, hawaii.

at this point i said to myself, “i hate my life.”

“why?” she asked.

whoops turned out i said it out loud.

“you don’t think you’re being scammed?” i asked. “the only way this rich dude in Hawaii can make due is from your nest egg?”

she was a fast talker. nearly as fast as me. we were like two expert typists just rattling off sentences but verbally. it was ping pong. and we were both olympians.

“my credit union has to obey the court, and the court says i can only have a grand a week for now. i give him half and he’ll pay me back when he can get at his money,” she explained casually. zero concern.

“wanna know why i like you?” i asked, doing my best to make things weirder. hell if i was gonna let her outweird me.

“i like you because, like me, you’re a true romantic,” i stated as we finally got on the 10 west.

“im not a romantic,” she said. “i just like fucking and he has a huge hog.”

i looked in my mirror and noticed her eyebrows were tattoos of eyebrows. was she punk rock? who. was. this. woman?

i looked down at the app to read her name: mallory.

“is your name really mallory or is that the court or the bank or the credit union?” i asked.

“thats my lawyer. my name is Rainbow.”

the 10 was moving along way better than the 101 and 110 were. i barely noticed her weed stench any more. but i was concerned the next passenger might think it was me who was responsible for it, so i cracked the sunroof to let some of our unseasonably crisp air in.

“i was a romantic until darryl was killed in that crash, but then my heart broke. i cried all the time. we had just moved in together and he had decorated the place with all his black light posters and tapestries and then all of a sudden i was staring at them every day thinking about him. then it got creepy. like i was in his tomb. i had to get out, so i packed up my car and drove down from Oregon. have you ever heard of Weed, California?”

as a matter of fact, yes, yes I had heard of it, I said.

“in Weed i was at a starbucks and i just started crying uncontrollably. sobbing. and this woman made friends with me. i told her about darryl and she said she knew a guy nearby who, he isn’t Jesus, but he looks like Jesus and can heal people,” Rainbow said.

“so i went to him and he took all of that pain and grief right out of my heart.”

i felt like a sucker for believing her, but i *did* believe her. her stories were just too wild. if anyone was gonna meet quasi Jesus in Weed it would be Rainbow.

“were you two sitting across from each other? did he put you in a trance? did he touch you?” i asked. i couldn’t stop asking now. and she was way into it.

“he didn’t touch me,” she said, “he just…” and then she touched my back “put his hand near my heart and yanked the air away and i could feel it all leave my body.”

“what left you?”

“the pain. the sadness. all the dark crap left behind from darryl,” she said.

“did you cry out of happiness?” i asked.

“no, i laughed SO LOUD. I WAS HAPPY AGAIN!”

as we got near the credit union she did a little back seat driving, overruling the Waze and when we got there she said, “you are a great listener.”

$0 tip, as promised.

i feel great today

today is a day off, but i will go on a walk, eat a taco or two and listen to next weeks episode to make sure there are no mistakes

then i will come home and try to do as much on the blog for it as i can bc i really need to clean tomorrow and work and write

bc on wednesday, after 22 years, im getting a new kitchen floor, a floor that is probably 40 years old.

today is kurt cobain’s birthday and also leah in texas

this is a picture of OJ in 1984, the summer i moved to LA

he is carrying the torch up The California Incline

i was there

it was a cool moment

and then incredibly cool and touching when he passed the torch to a kid with cancer


everyone cried because first we see big strong OJ

then we see this little kid who needed help to walk

but he did it.

this is one of my earliest memories of LA

and one of many many reasons i love it so.