Today’s Uber ride starred Anthony, formerly of Spanish Harlem, who picked me up at a neighbor’s house in his gray Toyota Prius on Hamlin St. for the 35-minute pool ride to Studio City.

A friendly, chatty, 40-year-old New Yorker in dreadlocks, he started off by ignoring an incoming phone call from “my best friend” who he said never returns phone calls.

But his friend, he explained, was a stand-up guy, a former addict who was spending the weekend up in Santa Barbara to help his sponsor who had fallen off the wagon, gotten back into drugs and alcohol and whose sister was illegally selling the house from under him.

We turned up Calvert Street to pick up a second rider, Ryan, a tanned, curly haired guy from Santa Clarita who worked as “an outdoor cinematographer.” On the ride down to his apartment on Valleyheart Drive he bemoaned the lack of money in his profession, but he also said his friends who travel the world and post about it on Instagram are mostly paid with products, not money.

After Ryan left, we picked up a ride at Fashion Square. This time it was a lanky, tall, black cigarette smoker, Albert, who threw out his butt before he got into the backseat of the car carrying his bag of new shoes. He was on his way down to Studio City to do some vintage shopping at Crossroads. He wore long red basketball shorts and had a dead-eyed expression on his young face. 

He said he was short on funds, but made good money as a restaurant delivery worker, as well as getting Social Security money from the government and food stamps. His ambition was to work in fashion, either in films or TV.  He wanted to buy a car, but he was also struggling to pay his $1,000 a month rent.

The driver said he made great money as an Uber driver, as much as $1500-$1800 a week, and that he could pay himself up to five times a day as funds came in. He was working to achieve success as a standup comedian. He was excited when I told him he had picked me up in front of the Workaholics House where the owner currently has monthly comedy shows in the backyard for $20 a head attended by hundreds of people. 

Finally, we got to Peet’s Coffee and inside there was a regular: Actor/Comedian Jane Lynch (Glee, Best in Show). 

I’m sure she would have loved my Uber ride.

Writer/photographer

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