nothing in here is true

  1. Tuesday, October 4, 2016

    drove around USC last night and made a big mistake 

    yoAzdo i love driving? yes.

    have i figured out how to do this damn thing in pretty much the entire city?


    the reason to drive around USC is because it’s little quick trips that are easy on your car, easy on the gas, and very little traffic so easy on your soul.

    none of the rides will get you over $4 but like they used to say on tv, its all about volume volume volume. especially on a monday night which happens to be a Jewish holiday thus the rest of the city is dead.

    but whenever you figure out a trick, The System will screw you.

    the problem with USC is ubes never pays you right. its supposed to be like $3.08 a ride, but if its a pool the system only pays you $1.54 per person – which is half of what it should pay you. and you have to go back in your records and write them an email with all of the ride IDs — and guess what, sometimes Ubes wont write you back.

    so you have to write again. and again. and then fight with someone clear across the other side of the world who would be sooooo happy with making $1.54 in 5 minutes, but bro, im supposed to be making $3.08 in 5 minutes. im driving a Benz. im college educated. I HAVE A BLOG TO SUPPORT.

    im talking to chinese girls about their midterms. im talking to freshmen frat dudes who say getting girls is easy because the girls think bc youre young you dont know what youre doing, but you do know what youre doing, he says, on his way to taco bell to pick up food for the entire house. youre talking to sorority girls about their perfume. youre talking to a girl who got in on a full ride because shes badass at the Oboe. so i go, who is the greatest Oboe player today?

    and she says Eugene Izotov. she says he plays with the Chicago Symphony. i flip my Cubs hat around so she can see it and say, the Chicago? who was the conductor, is that Solti? she informs me that Solti has been dead for years, that the conductor has been Muti for a while. so we talk about Dudamel. i deserve my full $3.08, uber. no frickin robot is gonna spin his Cubs hat around and talk classical while playing punk rock in a benzo sipping on a super big gulp of cherry coke with a forgotten jack n the box taco in the glove box.

    at some point i felt like i had had enough. 21 rides in 3 hours. so whereas normally i refused UberX calls, i took one. hopefully they were headed to hollywood. worst case scenario they wanted to go to DTLA. but just my luck it was a french dude who had a tiny suitcase. an Oboe? no. he wanted to go to LAX. mama mia. ok, i’ll make $20 i thought. wrong again. $16.50.

    why would ubes lower its fares sooo low that an airport ride from USC (which is one end of LA) to LAX (the other) would net the driver less than $20 if he is trying to make the Uber X hustle? dont they know thats exactly what will kill the driver? that will make him stop – or worse – thats what will make him just switch over to Lyft exclusively because on such a ride, for sure the passenger will tip him a few bucks, because trust me, if i can exchange classical facts with a pretty girl on a 4 minute ride, what can i parlez avec un frog on his way to Chicago on a 45 minute LAX run?

    i told him to get a girlfriend immediately because when the cold wind blows he might need two girlfriends to keep him warm, skinny as he is.

    illustration by the French artist YoAz

  2. Sunday, September 11, 2016

    went to usc saturday night to sc what there was to c 

    uscthe football team played a game that had started at 11am for some reason.

    no one knew why because they were playing Utah State so at the best the good people of Utah only had to turn on the tv at noon.

    11am was way too early for my passengers, white ones, black ones, asians, they all said that they set their alarms to wake up

    but failed and just slept in.

    we bonded.

    what sort of country do we live in where a man has to set an alarm to wake up to watch a football game being played literally in my backyard?

    SERIOUSLY they said.

    in one ride i had four guys all from china. they were going to the grocery store. had only been here for a month.

    can you imagine? only been in america a month and you are living in south central and going to USC

    multiple culture shocks all happening at the same time.

    they were all roommates.

    they lived in a luxury apartment complex for usc students. im curious, so i asked them,

    hey how much do you pay?

    one of them said $850.

    i said per room?

    they said, no we share a 2BD, so it’s $850 each.

    i said, thats $3,400 a month?

    you can buy a house for that.

    they just laughed and nodded and repeated me.

    picked up all these black girls. so i turned on the black girl station.

    drake comes on and one of them starts singing to it.

    i was all, drake is playing at the forum, why arent you pretty girls there?

    they were like, tickets are $200!

    i said, thats what men are for.

    they said, aint no men up in here.

    just trifling little boys.

    and much later did it occur to me that i should have given them the chinese boys’ number.

  3. Wednesday, September 7, 2016

    girls night 

    pioneer speakerwhen i got the mercedes i thought it was going to be this amazing driving machine.

    sometimes it is.

    sometimes everything is flowing and the cars glide by and you can see clearly

    and even the radio is happening.

    three young ladies got me on melrose

    sometimes you barely touch the gas and it goes

    sometimes you can feel the weight of everyone in there.

    its weird.

    they said they wanted to go somewhere wild.

    i said damn i aint been to compton in days

    i get just enough people each month that it pays for the car,

    the insurance,

    the gas

    but it’s not so many people that it wears down the car. at all.

    the girls didnt wanna go to compton, it turned out. they immediately told me. with added volume.

    even after i listed several benefits theyd receive after utilizing the south central geo filter

    on their selfies on snapchat.

    even after i told them they smelled great.

    even after i told them about the tacos.

    sometimes the car can get super quiet.

    it’s weird.

  4. Friday, September 2, 2016

    cubs magic number is 13 

    starlin castro

    sometimes you have to trade your sweet sweet starlin

    sometimes you have to get rid of your extra fuel

    sometimes you have to drive through the tough tough traffic of labor day friday

    to make that money

    because youre saving up that money

    because your true love, da cubs, are gonna be in the damn world series in six weeks

    and those old styles arent gonna just flow from the sky.

    i had a fun day today. everyone was going to the airport.

    i tried to drive far away from the airport so my fares would be high

    but as soon as i turned on my thing, my thing rang and guess where they were going

    at some point the traffic was so bad that we were literally going backwards

    not on the freeway

    but in time.

    i could see myself get younger in the rear view.

    my hair was growing back.

    my voice got higher.

    my six pack abs were all whaddup g

    and i was like,

    i gotta get outta this traffic.

  5. Wednesday, August 31, 2016

    my mom, the most dedicated reader of this blog, says im angry 

    tonybecause i love her with all my heart i would never disagree with her.

    but i dont feel angry.

    am i angry?

    my cubs are like 15 games ahead of the Cardinals

    the stats of the social media feeds at my job continue to rise like warm loaves of delicious bread

    my phone’s blowing up from long legged ladies with the most fascinating messages

    and as you know, i am still fully enjoying the side hustle of driving LA’s most responsible commuters from one side of town to the other.

    have i told you about the senior citizen from Chile who was raised Jewish but whose parents made him learn the New Testament backwards and forwards in case the exiled Nazis returned to power and tried to kill all the Jewish kids, so he was to tell everyone that he was a Christian? And as he grew up he became an expert in the New Testament? And as we drove around LA he asked me if i knew where there were any hookers, especially african american street walkers, because he wanted to save them?

    what about the guy last night who hailed me on Lyft who has been driving as long as I have who reminisced how addictive it was in the “early days” of two and a half years ago when every ride would net us about $11 and every night we’d get at least one $40 one and every week we’d get a $100 fare so we’d drive and drive and drive fueled on adrenaline and the promise of bars of gold and buckets of diamonds with strings of pearls draped over them.

    the other day i had a dude heading to a famous steak house. we talked about pretty much every steak you could get in LA. Of course i turned him on to the Baseball Steaks at the Bounty. he was telling me Craigs has amazing food. i was all, isnt that where all the paparazzi are? he said yeah but it’s not super expensive. i was all perfecto!

    so i will have to take my mom there the next time she’s in town.

  6. Sunday, August 28, 2016

    uber had a bonus for certain drivers this weekend 

    east hollywood

    pretty sure they could see from my diminished rides that i have been happily driving more and more for Lyft so they gave me a bonus challenge for this weekend: do 12 trips and get a bonus of $80.

    Ask any driver and he would gladly accept a $6.66 tip for each ride, which is what this amounted to.

    On Friday my real job let us out at 1pm so my goal on Friday was to do 7 rides (you always need to do one or two extra rides on your bonus weeks in case some bean counter wants to steal one of your beans) which meant Saturday I would need to do 7 (since Sunday is the Lord’s)

    Friday was easy. At 2pm-5pm I was one of the few guys out there so I was busy. I could have done 12 easy but I needed to get back to Hollywood to get to the Cubs game. So I did 7.

    Last night i got out there around 7pm. I wanted to catch some people going out to dinner, which are usually ppl i dont like driving cuz im jealz. Also the sun was setting so it wouldnt be too hot. And I figured I might be able to get home in time for some Netflix.

    All I need is 7.

    First ride, pick up this couple and they ask me to do the one thing I hate doing when I’m trying to hit a number “hi, could you make two stops, first me and then him?”

    When you’re not trying to reach a goal the two stops are close together, when you’re trying to knock out as many trips as possible the two are soooo far away. Murphys Law. Whatever.

    It looked like they had met on a blind date or Tinder or something and he was so not into her. 7:15pm and the night was already over? Yikes. So I didn’t say a word and let them sweat it out.

    “So you’re on Instagram and not even talking to me?” she asked, smiling, trying to be happy.

    “Pretty much,” he said, young handsome, being a dick.

    Dropped her off near Sunset Pho, took him to the other side of Silver Lake. Coulda been worse. Didn’t say a word to him the whole time. 13 minutes total.

    Six more.

    Right away I get a pretty young lady near the Silver Lake 360 Whole Foods. Shes going downtown, naturally. But she’s nice. Little Southern Accent. The roads are empty but the freeway’s packed. Waze tells me to go through Elysian Park. Fine. She tells me she has lived in Silver Lake for about a year but never ever ever goes to downtown. I was like, live a little, baby.

    We’re heading to Perch where exactly two years ago today Leah, Lindsay and Amber and I all went for a lovely dinner and drinks.

    leah amber and lindsay16 minutes and we’re there. This night is gonna be great. OR SO I THINK.

    Right by Perch I get dinged again. Awesome. Bonus, here I come! Young lady wants to go to Little Tokyo. Baby, who DOESNT wanna go to Little Tokyo. Totally forgettable conversation. Who cares. 6 minutes. DONE. Four more.

    Get pinged again. A Select call (double the money). Thanks God! Get to the place. Busy street. People are honking. No one around. So I call. The guy says, we’re on Shaeffer Street. Aint no Shaeffer street in DTLA. Who knows what the guy is all about. Sounds like a freak. I ask for his address. I put it into Waze. Waze says, “this guy is a prankster, hang up.” I hang up, cancel him. Click the Wrong Address button and I get $7.50 because the dude didnt do it right. Sweet. Thanks!

    So I drive around Little Tokyo and all the asian hipsters trying to get into that one noodle place thats over priced. I drive down Broadway, LA Live, anywhere I can. Nothing. Nothing for like a half hour. People are either in or DTLA is now packed with toooo many Ubers.

    I drive to screwed up parts of town. Parts no Uber driver would be caught dead. But I aint ever gonna die. I’m gonna keep driving forever. With my arthrightous gloves on, my little bottles of water, and my extra battery cord that snakes back into the rear seats.

    I dare you to ping me Skid Row. East LA where are you?

    Finally a dude at the only grocery store in DTLA wants a ride to his loft. Him and his groceries. Perfecto! Five minute ride.

    And this is where Uber drivers think the fix is in when it comes to bonuses. Some say Uber will stop sending calls our way when we are getting close. I think that’s insane. Their tech is so buggy,  how could they put a formulae in there so perfect so as to block drivers and make them stay on the road longer than they want simply to keep the surge rates down?

    But alas, it was an HOUR before I got another call. And im driving around DTLA, Echo Park, anywhere.

    Then the ping comes in. Weird guy in KTown. White dude. First thing he asks me is if I am a comedian.

    “Have I told you any jokes yet?” I ask

    “Nope.” he says.

    “Do I amuse you?” I say.

    Guy admits that he’s stoned and is on a Tinder date. He’s a weird guy. He’s going to a bar in Echo Park because he says he doesn’t know of any bars for white male dudes in Koreatown.

    I say, you’re doing the right thing by going to Echo Park.

    Drop him off. Pray that he doesn’t murder his date. And get a teen leaving a party who wants to go to Silver Lake, a place he has lived his whole life he tells me. Before we get to his house he asks me to drop him off at his high school. Perfectly normal looking clean cut white kid who wants to study stem cells in college.

    If you are about to tag up your school, I didn’t see it, I joke.

    I’m so close to my house and I am exactly on my number. But the rules of Uber, you have to go over or they’ll screw you.

    Get an Uber Select ping at Blossom, my favorite Pho place. Beautiful brown princess of a girl gets in. Wants to go up in the hilly hills of Beverly Hills.

    I turn on jazz.

    She bats her lashes

    And slowly falls asleep there as we wind our way down Sunset then Fountain

    and then up to my dumb little goal.

  7. Monday, August 22, 2016

    was driving home through the fairfax 

    shooting star

    minding my own business. only had it so i would pick up Uber Select. really i was driving from one Pokemon gym to the other. it was night.

    got a ping and this guy comes out and says, hi youre gonna take my friend Mo. he needs to go to the Westin LAX.

    awesome. a saturday night run to the airport? why not.

    one of the more fascinating rides ive ever had. dude is Jewish from Chile but has been studying the New Testament his whole life. Bro is 70+ years old.


    because his parents were so worried that the Nazis would find out that he was Jewish that he would kill him.

    me: were there lots of Nazis in Chile after WWII?

    him: no. but my parents were very cautious.

    turns out he teaches the bible. lectures. mostly at churches. hes a scholar.

    then he asks me if i know where any street hookers are. i say, thats the most interesting question ive ever been asked. i say, yes. he says, im not interested in their business, i just want to tell them about the bible. i say i think they know about the bible. he says, yeah i know, but thats also what i do, i try to tell them about the bible.

    so i say, weirdly theres not a lot of street hookers at midnight. the last time i saw a bunch of them was at 6:30am in DTLA right by this strip club. apparently the men are all horned up and the club is emptying and there are all these hookers ready to finish them off.

    Mo says, you have quite a way with words.

    i say, gratzi.

    as we’re driving he tells me how much he likes black women.

    so i say, lets go through Inglewood. you never know we might get lucky.

    and sure enough, right by a knock off Motel 6, there we see a tall latino street hooker and i say, the thing is, you never know if thats a man or a woman until all becomes revealed.

    when we get to the Westin he tips me $20.

    thanks God!

  8. Friday, August 19, 2016

    it’s very important to have the right music going when you pick up ppl 

    lou reed

    got a ping in westwood, which was fine. normally im taking consultants from the hotels near UCLA to LAX on thursdays.

    yesterday, no such luck. a bunch of short and medium trips around beverly hills and westwood, which is actually better because im trying to lose a few pounds so zulieka will love my nude snapchat pics and any time i drop someone off at LAX late on a thursday i always make a run to in n out for my long drive home because there really isnt much business around there.

    so i got the call. the name sounded arabic. usually i’ll put on old school jazz like wes montgomery or miles or art or thelonious. but this place was south of wilshire so i threw on some solo lou reed. a nice little mix i made. you know.

    couple appear. they apologize for being late to the car. say they had problems putting their kids to sleep.

    i was all, say no more. (as if i knew what that was like) (i would let them cry. LIFE ISNT ALL THREE WAYS AND ICE CREAM ORGIES, KIDS, CRY ME A RIVER) and they giggled. then i made the worst mistake of all, i asked them how old their little darlings are.

    they said, “fine.” and then started bickering with each other about how they need to be tougher on their kids. then they argued about moving one of the kids from one class to another because he had no friends (this is day three of the school year) and none of the kids are persian and the teacher might be great but the class is too big.

    sometimes theyd argue in english but as i turned Sweet Jane up they started fighting in persian.

    it was very uncomfortable.

    finally they asked me if i had any kids.

    i said, the people i drive are my pride and joy and i hope they feel safe and loved on our trips.

    calmed them right the hell down.

  9. Thursday, August 4, 2016

    drove a young man last night who fought in iraq and afghanistan 

    The Hurt Locker movieso naturally i had a lot of questions

    Q: what movie about the Iraq / Afghanistan war was most realistic?

    A: Restrepo (2010)

    Q: what movie about Iraq was the least realistic?

    A: The Hurt Locker (2008). Remember when James Bond was dragging those six 155mm shells through the sand? Those weigh over 100 pounds each. Not even an NFL lineman could have done that.

    Q: Were you over there when Bin Laden was killed?

    A: Yes.

    Q: Did you guys party super hard that night when you found out?

    A: Yes, we drank many non-alcohol beverages.

    Q: O’Douls?

    A: There was also a Heinekin or Becks non alcohol option there as well. If I recall correctly.

    Q: Are there any towns in the USA that remind you of any of the towns in Afghanistan?

    A: We were in Northern Afghanistan in the mountainous region. If it wasn’t for the assholes around us it looked a lot like Flagstaff, AZ: beautiful trees, even white water rivers.

    Q: So if there wasn’t a never ending war, someone could white water raft?

    A: Oh yeah.

    Q: Back to movies, did you see American Sniper?

    A: No.

    Q: In the film there’s a sniper who could shoot a guy a mile away. Didn’t that freak you out?

    A: The only people who could do that would be our guys. The enemy were usually weekend warriors who weren’t capable of that sort of accuracy, thankfully. They had different ways of being annoying.

  10. Friday, July 29, 2016

    the best part of ubering people is you learn 


    picked up two saudi moms near rodeo drive. we passed a tiny park next to the montage hotel. the park was packed with people. it was 7pm but still super sunny because its summer.

    the two ladies exchanged some words to each other in arabic and laughed. i said, i think it’s a free jazz concert. they said, no it’s an arab meet up. one of the women told me that everyone gets dressed up and “casually” meets at the park and gets to know each other and they talk about all of their homes and cars and great schools their kids are going to and they show off their jewelry.

    the other woman told me that they both like to wear more subtle clothes and not try to be show offs.

    i said, ive been keeping it real my whole life. ignore the shiny benz. they laughed and told me how funny i was.

    i said and? and?

    they paused, not understanding.

    i said, and handsome…?

    they laughed.

    one of them got a phone call. two of her kids were fighting and the nanny was calling for advice. the advice was separate them, make them each read a book. they will be talked to when she returns.

    shiny porcheit was super intense and clear and i would be a little scared while reading my dumb book waiting for my mom to come home.

    the other lady continued saying how much she loves Americans. how nice we are. how helpful we are.

    it made me feel so guilty harboring all these bad 9/11 feelings.

    weirdly she was comparing us to the french. apparently they have a summer pad in the south of france and they demand that everyone speaks french even though they know english and they are not at all welcoming.

    i said, sounds like my inlaws. hey now!

    miles davis was playing on the radio because thats what i drive on the expensive platform.

    we made a stop at a fancy wilshire condo skyscraper and dropped off the scary mom. in the driveway was a porche suv but it had gotten customized so that it was metallic looking. and on closer inspection it had its rims Bedazzled. from afar they looked like diamonds.

    “see! see!” they said to each other. “arabs!”

    i had already taken a snapchat picture.

    more things the nice mom told me:

    even though she doesnt obsess over fancy things, she loves diamonds, great purses, shoes, nice dresses, and good hotels.

    she said shes never been to nyc but is going there in the winter because her son has three weeks off for christmas break. he goes to a british school. she told me she doesnt know how to drive. i told her i should start a school called “saudi lady driving school”. she said she would sign up immediately! she said she takes uber all over the world. she said life was so much harder before it was around because not all cabs were cool with driving way out to nowhere to pick her up.

    she said her husband loves jewelry and watches and good cars. and has them shipped to them if theyre going to spend a lot of time somewhere.

    after i dropped off the other mom, the nice one said she wished i was always her driver. i was all, meeeee toooo.

    i wished her a good trip to nyc. and she said Inshallah. i asked what does that beautiful word mean?

    she said, oh, it means if God wills.

    i said As-salamu alaykum

    and her mouth dropped.

    thanks ice cube.