Last year, the ride-share company Lyft offered explosive financial incentives in order to generate a gold rush of business into the Chicago market. The bonuses being low-hanging fruit, I signed up as a driver last fall and banged out my 100 rides. But I walked away with more than just cash. Unlike my usual flâneurie, which is immersed in urban anonymity, Lyft driving opened access-ways into human experience unlike any I’ve known. First a question—a curiosity blooming into a discussion—then suddenly an entire human life opens before you.
Two tall, trendy women marvel at luxury lofts at a happening intersection in Williamsburg, Brooklyn:
“This placed used to be a dump!” One of them trumpets her words into the surrounding winter air. “Nobody used to live here!” As I walk home on this 2003 afternoon, I hear these words reverberate across the sides of buildings, each return of her voice erasing me further from memory.
Who exactly was this Nobody?