Unscheduled Ride-Sharing Tours

Posted on April 16, 2021


Having now been fully vaccinated (Note to Readers: Life in the Boomer Lane experienced absolutely no side effects from the second vaccine. It was a non-event, leading her to believe that it was a fake vaccine created by the same folks who brought you pizza parlors and child molestation), she can now get on with her usual business-at-hand: interesting anecdotes about travel.

In LBL’s memory (iffy at best, chock full of fascinating events that may or may not have actually happened), she is fairly sure that taxi drivers knew where they were going. Now, in this glaringly bright new universe, GPS allows any humans to hit the streets, with no actual notion of where they are going, where they started from, or why this matters.

A couple weeks ago, in an attempt to entertain her visiting eldest grandchild, LBL suggested an outing to the newly refurbished wharf area of Washington, DC, cleverly referred to as the Wharf. What used to be an authentic staging area for arriving fishing boats and fishmongers, it was decided that using the area for tourism would bring bigger bucks than selling fish. Fish smelled, they didn’t come in an array of bright colors, and the fishing industry wasn’t popular enough to be the focus of chain enterprises. The Wharf was born, boasting an array of restaurants, shops, and a musical venue. The water was left intact, allowing people to view it from a safe distance. Both influencers and fish were satisfied with this new use of the old wharf.

LBL decided to take Lyft to the Wharf. She noticed fairly quickly into the ride that the Lyft driver was choosing an interesting way to get there. What would normally be a fairly quick zip between her house (conveniently located just a few minutes from DC) and the Wharf, turned into a tour of several DC neighborhoods that she had never associated with the Wharf area. It also involved the driver spending more time looking at the GPS than the road. The trip took an unusually long time. But, because LBL has a long, tragic history with navigating herself in space of any kind, she has learned not to question how others get from Point A to Point B. She was thankful when the journey ended.

After a bit of a challenging time strolling along the Wharf (the forecast was for a high of 70 and LBL dressed accordingly, with an extra layer, assuming that an area near the water would be more like mid 60s. DC provided a shriekingly sunny 82 instead, and the water appeared to be on a break), both LBL and her grandson agreed that it was time to depart.

LBL called another Lyft. The Lyft driver didn’t seem to be able to find the Wharf. A second Lyft driver eventually arrived, GPS prominently displayed on the dashboard. They set off. Near as LBL could tell, they covered almost all areas of DC in an attempt to cross a bridge that would take them back into Virginia. The minutes ticked by. The GPS screen was starting to resemble a Mondrian painting.

LBL went from cautiously optimistic to concerned to appalled to full and complete surrender. What should have been a 15 minute drive took 55 minutes. Finally, 50 minutes too late, LBL offered a weak comment to the driver, something along the lines of “Oh, I have never come this way before. I didn’t realize the new Nats stadium was on the path from the Wharf to my house.” The driver responded with “I just follow the GPS. I think I’m going to get another system. I hear that Wayz is good. I’m always happy to go whatever way my riders tell me. I really don’t care.” LBL agreed that Wayz had a great reputation (said to driver), that she showed that she obviously didn’t care (not said to driver) and committed herself to seeing the bright side. $18 for a 55 minute tour of DC, including seeing the new baseball stadium from all angles, seemed like a real bargain.

Arriving home, LBL received a text from Wayz, telling her that her ride fee had been adjusted. It was now $47.00. She would be leaving for Brooklyn the following day to deposit her eldest grandson back at home and to then spend a week in the Epicenter of Cool. She anticipated having to subject herself to more Lyfts and Ubers. She steeled herself for more mishaps. Luckily, she had no idea of what was ahead.