Another Dotted Trifle

Yoast pander: another dotted trifle to fill 1500 words including more about what’s wrong with Marxism, some of my buddy’s literary crimes and the foolishness of some of my fellow Uber and Lyft drivers.

I thought I had a couple of thousand words to say about Marx and his childish fantasies. I don’t. Marx was a drunk that failed at most everything he tried. He and his buddies sat in bars near universities and between shots, came up with a political philosophy responsible for the deaths of millions. So . . . yeah, socialism/communism is a danger worth fighting against.

Kublai Khan

The new thing is this: the companies that control the Internet have decided to make an end-run around governments worldwide and create their own empire rooted in Marxist ideas. Right now they are still benign enough that the ideals almost match the implementation. But the move toward a world government operated by a small cadre of very rich companies is visible in the behavior of Google, Apple, Facebook, and their subsidiaries.

✠ ✠ ✠

The next bit will make more sense if you read my buddy’s post. I said in a previous post that my Dad passed in December. In March I went home to help empty the house. The emotional touchpoint for me is this: I would rather have someone stick a red hot skewer through my nut sack than go help my sister empty out my Dad’s house. I went because I felt an obligation to help my sister get the house ready for sale. It used to be that I would choose the skewer if it meant I could do what I want. These days, not so much. And . . . in hindsight, it wasn’t worse than a sizzled nut sack.

The way it ended is about right. I had big ideas about taking a U-Haul full of the things I wished were mine. I took home things that would fit in the back of my buddy’s Toyota Yaris. My head believed I could handle a U-Haul full of my Dad’s stuff. In actuality, I can handle what fit into the back of a Toyota Yaris. So it worked out.

I was useless for the few days I was there with the stated purpose of helping to empty out my Dad’s house. There was too much emotion wrapped up in my Dad’s stuff and the life he lived. Simple things like one of the watches he got when he retired could have been a ton in weight for the way that I felt about them. The day we left and headed for Richmond was huge for me. The sign announcing Virginia on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge was a joy.

Crimes Against Good Writing

My buddy has parents who are capable of being complete asshats. His Dad shares with my family the surety that we are entitled to his opinion. So I get annoyed with him because too often his reply to, “what do you want?” is “I don’t know, what do you want?” There is a part of me that wants to answer, “I dunno, can I shove a red hot poker through your dick?” Probably not. What scares me is that he might reply, “Ok.”

So his piece about the trip to empty my Dad’s house is timid. He’s afraid to have an opinion, to describe the conflict. Fiction gets its energy from strife. Strife births pathos and pathos is still an emotional dish we hunger for. So when I ask him what the central conflict of his piece is I get, “I dunno, what do you think it is?” Yeah . . . that’s a thing with him.

I think the moment emblematic of the emotional truth of those few days is when my sister was asked to move a cabinet from the basement to her house. She’d been asked repeatedly and each time, had a good reason why it had to happen tomorrow. Today became tomorrow and it was time. So she sat in a chair in my Dad’s basement and commented while my buddy and I disassembled the cabinet. We stacked its parts in a corner for her to move and she stayed glued to her phone. Woo.

✠ ✠ ✠

Protest at Wall Street

Tomorrow Uber drivers in several cities are going to strike. Woo. I dunno if they’ll do the usual picket line thing in front of a regional office of Uber. I sort of hope so. The optics will be awesome. The strike is not awesome.

Rideshare drivers are self-employed. In my city, the municipal government wants us to create a registered company that has a business license. So I made Transit Webb. As best I can tell, the dispute is over the usual union demands: better pay and better benefits. It rests on the premise that Rideshare drivers are employees of Uber, Lyft or whatever. The ask is for the things you can expect of a traditional employer. But we are not employees of the rideshare companies.

I’m a cab driver that did stints as a programmer and break/fix technician for banks. I started out working for Taxi Unlimited, which was a front for Humboldt County marijuana growers. Working for Friendly Cab was an upgrade from weed money to cocaine money. When I was younger and more earnest, it bothered me that the people I worked for were crooks, liars and thieves. I got my panties in a twist and tried to tell them they were bad people. The answer was curt, “do you want to work?” Yeah. “Then shut the fuck up and go work.” So I did.

Unfriendly Cab

The way dispatchers at Friendly Cab dealt with whiny cab drivers was to send them on radio calls that were either not there or didn’t pay very well. It didn’t take me long to realize that success meant keeping the dispatcher happy and being quiet. Veteran drivers would poach fares from lazy, incompetent or whiny drivers and complaints about them just made things worse.

Now, hearing that some of my fellow rideshare drivers are upset that they don’t have union jobs and feel that they are treated unfairly has me whipping out a very tiny violin. This song pretty much sums it up:

So, tomorrow, on the day of the strike, I am going to work in Washington DC. My cab driving career stretches back to the ’80s. I agree with the veteran cabbies who taught me to hustle by making me compete against them. I’m going to D.C. to take the money from those whiny drivers who believe they can matter by sitting at home and sulking.

Shut Up and Work

The move is not throwing a tantrum and asking to be treated like a Teamster. The move is to use the fact that we are small business owners to grow into wealthy small business owners. Businesses either innovate and grow or they die. It’s that simple. So while stuck waiting for a ride and sulking that you are not making any money and nobody has any fucks to give and maybe the world would be better if you ate worms maybe figure out how to grow bigger than one driver and one car.

It is hard to work for just one ride-share company. Many of us sign up for multiple gigs and juggle them to stay busy. By doing that you can make a living.

Average Shift Gross through 2019
Average gross earnings since August 2018

Beyond stacking multiple gigs is smart small business ownership. Fiscal discipline is crucial. It’s something I suck at. Further, take some of the cash flow from ride-share and find places to put it into things that will generate passive income.

No, There Is Not a Point

So, if this was college writing I’d need a conclusion. This isn’t college writing. It’s not even good writing. It’s shitty writing so I can get some shit off my chest. Though, the thing that annoys me and made me write this post is wussies who either won’t stand for something or whine about not being treated the way they want to be treated. Striking has worked in the past. This time it’s just virtue signaling and self-flagellation. I’ve yelled at my buddy about his writing in the past. He hasn’t changed. Whatever.

So, yeah, another dotted trifle that stole some of your time you could have used to watch stupid cat videos. Go back to work.