“Are you a professional surfer?” I prod. “Pro … surfer. Huntington … Beach. First … place.” We’re in the parking lot of the West Union Sports Pub in landlocked Beaverton, Oregon.
It ain’t always easy driving drunkards home, but it’s as living.
You want to work for Uber or Lyft, you deal with the good, a little cash, flexible work hours and you deal with the bad, a spray of vomit here, a circular conversation there.
Peter Jakubowicz is a “science writer” and Lyft driver from Portland, Oregon.
In a mournful, ie cry-baby, story for Slate called The Drunk Men I Drive Around Every Night, Pete writes about meeting a “surf goggle” wearing pro surfer from Huntington Beach called James.
Come, sit on my lap, massage my legs and let’s read a little:
Pro … surfer.” I think that’s what he said after struggling to get out the second word. Sometimes I can’t make out what they’re saying, and I just nod and say “Yeah.”
His name is James. He’s wearing surf goggles and a cap pulled down over his eyes.
“Are you a professional surfer?” I prod. “Pro … surfer. Huntington … Beach. First … place.” We’re in the parking lot of the West Union Sports Pub in landlocked Beaverton, Oregon. It’s about 3 a.m. I’m his Lyft driver, or, as I have come to think of it, his designated driver on demand.
He has set a pho-and-burger joint as his destination. I suggest that most pho-and-burger joints are now closed. He says, “Go … go. Go … go.”
So, we drive there. The placed closed at 9 p.m., and we now sit in another empty parking lot. I ask him whether there’s somewhere else he wants me to take him.
He says “strip club.” I ask for a name and whether it’s open. He says “Costco.” I know Costco is neither a strip club nor open, but he persists. We head toward the nearest Costco. After a few minutes of dead time, he begins to gesticulate, seeming to indicate that this is the place.
“Right here?” I say. “In the street?” We’re surrounded by three-story condos. I stop. “You live in one of these, right?” I do want these guys to get home. He gets out, walks frantically toward the building, and then disappears through the door.
I quit for the night.
I begin my next run the following night at about 11 p.m. My first request is for a “James” at the West Union Sports Pub. The passenger gets in my car, and before I even look, he says, “Pro … surfer.” Same goggles and cap, less slurred. I refer to the night before. He has no clue who I am.
The story descends, as it must in these instances and in this epoch, into the misogyny of men.
I usually don’t censor my riders, but if they cross a boundary like that, I’ll say, “Change the subject, bro, OK?” If they don’t, I ask them to get out.
For our readers, however, the mystery comes in the identity of James, pro surfer, HB, surf goggles, living it up in Beaverton, Oregon.
Only surfer I know living in those parts is Gerry Lopez.
And he don’t drink.
Solve mystery in comment pane below.