I’m here. The lights are on. My blog is back, though at a different URL: http://worldofwebb.azurewebsites.net/. The weather has turned and last night was a bit chilly: 44°. The Weather Channel forecasted sunny and 62 for today. The trend remains. Things get bad and I fear the worst but the worst isn’t as bad as I feared.
All that fussing and rumination yielded a few things. I kept getting little affirmations that my choice to invest myself in building a strong competitor to Uber and Lyft was the right choice. There were three garden spiders in my yard. Spiders are good omens for me. This week I got a letter from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that they approved my application for a USDOT number. I don’t need a USDOT number for TNC work. But I will need one as I grow into a fleet and start doing interstate charters.
Since June when I wrote Nothing Left But Faith I got back to work with Lyft, caught up with the rent, car payments, and the phone bill. My Subaru, which had a flat, got that fixed yesterday. I succeeded in getting Azure to host a WordPress instance so the blog is no longer in a deep freeze. It was a long, hot summer full of worry. And as fall starts to take its chilly hold on the weather the heat I felt has subsided. I made it through.
In This Summer’s News
The next thing I got from this summer isn’t news. If you read Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life you know this. Knowing the answer to, “What on Earth Am I Here For?” is huge. Mission, visions, purpose, these words are questions that need answers. Or . . . I needed answers. You do you.
For forty years I’ve cycled through feast and famine. I’m just happy to have my physiological needs met in times of famine. You would think that in times of feast I’d remember the famine and prepare for its return. Well adjusted people do that. I’m not well adjusted. I am a glutton in times of feast. All my pent-up desires for first-world indulgences get satisfied. And with time, rinse repeat.
The first thing about those words, mission, vision, purpose, is that they gave shape to the misery I was in. There was a vision to pursue which gave hope and made the misery more sensible. The vision is of my company, Transit Webb, offering better transportation options for Central Virginia riders. Now I had a quest to complete.
On to another thing. Reputation. We are suspicious of ambition. Ambition is bougie and bougie is evil so it follows that ambition is evil. And ambitious malcontented near-do-well who iterates between feast and famine just sounds like trouble. So here I am wanting people to buy into my vision. As I ask the memory of forty years of recurring trouble shouts louder than my exhortations that this time I mean it. I’ll come correct and stay correct. But . . . forty years.
I am not going to get people to follow me if those forty years are still lurking about. Why trust me with my desultory reputation? So the first step is to earn the respect it will take to accomplish the mission. This isn’t going to be easy or quick. One doesn’t erase forty years of annoying people around me with a few words. And as I’ve started down this path I’m finding that building reputation leaks into every part of my life.
Let’s start with money. I love to shop. I’m a dude but there it is. I have a long wish list of first-world toys that I want. Part of the reason losing Uber as a client was such a shock is that I had no cash reserves. First-world toys? Yeah. Why? I lived week to week. I was already behind on my bills before Uber told me I was done. It was bad.
What Do You Want?
Last thing that came to me this summer: mission, vision, & purpose—three really annoying words. How many of us tick off the days through a familiar narrative and close the novel with an open casket memorial service? I’d say most of us. This, also, many of us spend our time fighting against what we don’t want, “I don’t want to relapse.” “I don’t want to go back to jail.” “I don’t want to get married/get divorced.” “People in the church are too pushy. They want me to change when it is them that need changing.” I’ve lived for fifty years or more fighting against what I didn’t want. What do I want?
Baugh Holding Company started as a defensive move. I thought that if I built a company that earned its living on passive income I could have a financial fortress against eviction notices. In 2019 Altria and Compucom let me go.
The usual move is to file for unemployment and look for my next job. I was 59. I didn’t want another job. And as usual, I had overdue bills. I didn’t want to get into bigger trouble with my bills. So I used the cash I had to register TransitWebb as a dba of Baugh Holding Company and get a business license. Transit Webb was born. Still no answer to, “what do you want?“
You Want Money?
It’s October. I made it through. But . . . I should not be surprised that my money habits give potential investors considerable pause. I’m already bad with four and five-digit amounts of cash. It’s nuts to think that without demonstrable change I’d be any better with six or seven digits. So I’ve got some work to do.
My Mom was a social worker. Her thing was a case management assessment and out of that a plan. To keep the welfare checks coming you had to hit the targets for improvement in her plan. I grew up with this so I am brilliant at what to say to people who have money. Promises are easy. Words are easier. Talk walking isn’t.
Old words—do what you say, say what you do. Don’t talk about it. Do it. So the caseworker thing is a pretty speech about how I have a spreadsheet I use to balance my checkbook. Take it from me, it’s usually bullshit. So I’ll just walk right by the progress report about my money woes. It’s still bad but I’m working on it.
Yeah. Usually, this is some testimonial about how someone prayed for a color TV and God gave them one. Someone cut both my yards and the little strip of grass between the sidewalk and the curb. They also removed the debris from this summer’s pruning of the overgrown bushes along both fences. It looks really nice. I tried to keep up with yard work along with fighting to stay housed and keep the lights on. But I wasn’t doing so well with yard work. So seeing someone cut my grass was huge. Now I want to know who paid the guy and whether I owe them for the bill. God has been listening to me fuss about the yard all summer. So maybe this is His answer.
Prayer works and not for the usual reason. About 30 years ago I trained for 5 years in Japanese Yoga. There were three main meditations: seated, breathing, and moving. Meditation is a huge subject. Now, the reason for mentioning it is that I needed to quiet down the noise in my head. God was there but His voice was hard to hear for all the rumination and fuss about the mess I was in. So I returned to seated meditation. A half-year in I can hear God more clearly.
All daisy meadows, sunny and 62? No. It’s rough going. There is a fight within myself each morning as I get on the floor, stretch and start meditation. The urge to do something else was stronger in the beginning. Last week I completed meditation three times. Yeah, You Meditation BadAss and meditate all the time, even when you take a shit. Whatever.
Iterate Sunny and 62°
My 62nd birthday was ten days ago. I’m eligible for early retirement. No. Settle for this hobo life never quite rising nor falling? No. I have my vision, a mission, and a purpose. It’s a big windmill I am tilting at. I am a Rideshare Driver struggling to make ends meet. I’m not much better of with Lyft than I was with Uber. If something happens and Lyft drops me it’ll be rinse/repeat. I have no backing, no help in this big boast that I can grow to compete with Uber and Lyft. It’s nuts. But . . . it’s the craziest thing I’ve ever committed to and even if it never goes anywhere it’s not a waste. It’ll give a grumpy, crazy old man a reason why he should persist even though he’s in the middle of one more famine.
A long time ago someone asked me this, “what if you win?” Failure is easy. A lot of us fear failure. Failure isn’t bougie so it isn’t evil, “At least I tried“. You get a lot of sympathy from failure. But . . . what if you win?
I know how to fail. I know what to say to caseworkers so they’ll bail me out again. There is no frontier there for me. No personal growth in failing again. When that guy asked me, “what if you win?” I had no words. So that’s the frontier. That’s the land on which I’ll find more personal growth. Stay tuned.