Saturday, October 10, 2020

False Prophesy

An anecdote on the toxic mix of gullibility and false authority

Somewhat recently I went to visit my mother. I'd seen reports of a lunar eclipse that night. We went outside at the appointed time and watched the moon turn red for a while. While watching the progression of that eclipse, I remembered the time I'd amused myself by becoming a false prophet.

On a night with a total lunar eclipse, maybe 5 years before, I picked up a group of three people in their 20's - two males and a female. I gleefully told my passengers about the imminent eclipse. I don't remember my exact delivery, but I made an effort to be a 'goofy taxi driver' to amuse my passengers. I was kind of like the crazy neighbor Kramer from the 90's TV sitcom Seinfeld.

I might have said, "... and tonight, on your taxi ride, THE MOON IS GOING AWAY."

The guys recognized my faux seriousness. The woman cautiously asked, "What does that mean?"

I might have responded, "Everyone needs a vacation, the moon is no exception. The moon is going to dim for a while. "


"It's not like it's getting moon-napped, it's just taking an involuntary break from its duties, of lighting up our night sky."


"It's completely normal, it's called a blood moon." I tried to explain a lunar eclipse, but she didn't have the references to understand my explanations. 

Failing to explain, I sensed an opportunity to amuse myself. 

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Small Acts of Kindness

A few months ago I got a txt message from my one-time taxi passenger. It said she'd passed:

Screenshot: txt message from 'Cab Lori Terrified Hot Flashes Calmed Down'
I sometimes saved passengers' phone numbers with little notes to jog my memory, if I thought they might call me directly for a ride. But it's been years since I was active. 'Who was this?'

I tried to search my notes, but I put most of them in a file format that's not easily searched. I recently heard about ripgrep, a command line tool for searching all types of files. I thought back to Laurie again this afternoon, installed ripgrep on my linux machine and used it to find the note:
216241 - 15555 N XXth Pl Pho - Lori 602-888-1111 - drove up, called, pulled forward, found her sitting on the back of a red truck. Totally spooked - first cab ride ever. I turned around, she got in, wanted to go to 2212 E Bell Rd, the QT, to redeem her winning scratchers. Got back - she has hot flashes. Later called me to thank me for helping her feel safe.
She'd never taken a taxi before, and had a problem with anxiety. I tried to get all my passengers to laugh, usually adopting a 'goofy taxi driver' persona. Some did not appreciate my antics, but they apparently were calming to Laurie. I'd made her entry bold, probably because she was one of those passengers whom I had the impression was sent to me specifically.

I recently saw this tweeted picture from CALM magazine:
Not all of my passengers needed "small acts of kindness", or big acts of kindness, but I tried to take the opportunities when they presented themselves. These moments were satisfying in a way that a normal job would not have provided.