Yes. Yes, it is.
First off, it's not THAT risky....I'm in control of the car, I can decide to accept or decline anyone and if they get in and turn terrible, it's my control to drive to a well-lit area or police station and get help. I have my phone that is GPS tracked by the company plus a backup phone if absolutely needed. That, and my Battle Buddy got me a knife necklace that seems to be a good shanking length, so I'm not too worried about myself.
I decided to become a driver for a few reasons. I’m a person who enjoys being busy and ever since I finished grad school, I found that my nights – which used to be consumed multitasking with homework and research papers and cramming while watching reruns of 30 Rock and doing a load of dishes or laundry – were suddenly just me single-tasking on a seemingly endless Netflix binge or other equally unproductive matters. I wasn't being efficient with my time because my schedule wasn't crammed and knew I had space for a part time job.
However, I didn't want a job that would tell me what hours to work. After a seasonal gig at Target last Christmas and missing every weekend event and doing 16 hour days back to back just to make $8.50 an hour, I knew it wasn't worth it. I’m a homeowner with two kids and two pets, a lot of volunteer projects and meetings to attend, a decent social life, and that’s all after my normal 40 hour a week job. I wanted to make my own schedule and make my time away from my kids worth more than minimum wage.
This brings me to the next draw: money! I generally only work weekends and events, so I average at over $20/hr to hang out in my car, listen to whatever music I want, and make pleasant small talk with strangers during the hours that my kids are asleep anyways – it’s great! I couldn't make this kind of money for this chill of work and these perfect hours anywhere else.
The secret reason I got into it, though, is to have something to talk about other than my impending divorce. I filed for divorce from my husband of almost a decade in January to kick off the new year, and knew I would be facing a lot of difficult conversations. Conversations with myself when the reruns weren't funny enough and the kids were spending the night away to leave me in a house full of my own conflicted thoughts; conversations with friends as I told them or, more often, as they found out through the grapevine, and would come up to me with that pity voice reserved for funerals and layoffs like “Heeeeeey, sweetie! How ARE you? If you need ANYthing, just call me anytime, ok?" It’s all really nice and genuine, but I’m a person who wants to laugh and joke and stop crying all the fucking time. So I did this as a conversation piece and as something to always change the subject to when I couldn't take unsolicited divorce advice or pity for another second.
So for one year, to stay busy, make some money, and build myself up in this new single life, I am driving around the Twin Cities with strangers, and these are my favorite stories.