26. Swipe Right

 

Failure after failure has weakened my resolve. I’m drinking like a fish. Like a school of fish. A school of alcoholic fish. Fuck the meetings and fuck Myra. Myra-pport with people is in decline. Myra-mbling thoughts have taken the wheel. Myra-tional brain is on an extended break. But it all makes me feel incredibly lonely. When I begin looking forward to delivery interactions, I know that I’ve become quintessentially pathetic.

It’s late one night in my apartment. I’m sitting on the floor. Drinking straight from a bottle. Nothing uncommon. Bored and alone with only a smart phone. Scrolling around, trying to entertain myself. It’s something to do between gulps. I accidentally click on a pop-up ad for a dating app. It takes me sometime to fill out the profile. I’m not the best at taking selfies. Then I’m supposed to list my interests. They can’t all be drinking-related. So I throw in rock climbing. Just to sound gutsy. Pretentious even. Swiping left, swiping right, and taking some time to learn the difference. But then I’m in a conversation. Then another. And another. Each runs the gambit of:

Where are you from?

Where did you go to school?

What do you do for work?

What are your hobbies?

How long have you been rock climbing?

I’m excited and having fun. One conversation in particular carries on for over an hour. I’m getting the hang of this. Until the question of Why do you keep calling me Myra? Shit, I’m confused. Forgot that easily. That won’t change the fact that I’m annoyed it happened. Stupid autocorrect, my apologies…Michelle. Lucky that started with an M.

I carried on for awhile after that. Drinking and texting. Texting and flirting. I think. I hope? I should probably check on that. I wake up slumped over on the floor. My phone still firmly gripped in my palm. My pants thoroughly pissed. Fortunately it won’t stain the carpet. Because that’s not possible anymore. I clean up in the yellowish-brown water of my rusted out shower. Then I’m out for pickups and deliveries. Smelling like the color orange. No one is the wiser though.

I get a few easy deliveries. Then I’m waiting on a bus that seems to have been delayed. Once I board it’s apparently just the driver. You can always tell where they are on their shift. A driver on their last run will keep the pedal to the floor. Uncaring of speed limits. I’ve seen potential passengers left to continue waiting. Even though it wasn’t an express. No one rang the bell to stop, so no one new is allowed on. In those situations it’s obviously quitting time. Conversely, a driver at the beginning of their shift like this one, will chug along slowly. Sometimes not exceeding 20 mph. Regardless of traffic.

We continue to a more remote part of the city, nearly the outskirts. This driver actually stops in the middle of the street to chat with another bus driver going the opposite way. I doubt this is part of some mandated break schedule. With limited options, I ring the bell. And it can only be rung once of course. This draws a look from the driver via his mirror. But the conversation doesn’t quite conclude. I get up and push on the back doors to get out. Causing a bell to ring. Drawing an even dirtier look in the mirror. Now he knows exactly who to blame. Not giving a shit, I walk to the front and ask to exit. The driver doesn’t open the doors, but begrudgingly finishes his point to the other driver. Something about an incompetent coworker. I’m not allowed off until the next stop. Which is over a small bridge a few blocks up.

 “Really top notch. You’re doing fantastic,” I say. Followed by a big smile and an emphatic thumbs up.

 “The fuck off my bus,” the driver says. But I’m already on the sidewalk. So what then?

I call a car and get on my way. It’s the kind of compact economy car that you’re seeing more and more. Surprisingly roomy enough on the inside. Great for city parking. Practical and nothing else. The driver and I have a friendly banter going. But I get the sense she knows more than she’s letting on. About what I’m unsure.

 “Do I know you?” I finally ask.

 “You don’t recognize me do you?”

 “I don’t. Should I?” I’m trying to get a better look. She manages to avoid the rearview, and turns towards the window. My view from the backseat limited. I go back to the rideshare app to view her driver profile. Still no bells ring.

Finally her eyes reappear in the mirror. “Who is Myra? Is that over?”

 “What? The fuck?”

 “How come you haven’t responded to my last few messages?” the driver asks. All the doors lock. I try the window. Those are locked as well. Her messages?

I pull my phone out again. Checking cross streets for reference. Before I call the police. The app is still up. Oh shit, this driver’s name is Michelle. I go back to the dating app to read the previous night’s messages. Michelle begins driving a bit erratic. Faster through several unscheduled turns. I’m almost past the point I remember in the message thread. We screech into any alley. Brakes are slammed. My phone thrown from hands.

 “I thought we had a connection!” Michelle says.

 “We did Myra!”

 “Who the fuck is Myra!? Get the fuck outta my car!”

 “Gladly. Unlock the doors?”

She does, and I exit. Then I open the passenger door to more confused screams. Needing to get my phone from under the seat. Huh, small world. I guess they have to match you with people in your area. Not sure if I’ll try that again. Seemed too consequential. That’s decided while waiting for another taxi on a different app. With a better company to patronize. If you’re the kind of consumer that has a conscience. I sometimes am. And fortunately, the next ride is more predictable. I finally complete the delivery. Then return to a deeper part of the jungle.

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