There we all were, at the wobbly end of my friend’s birthday party. Chockful of oysters, champagne and cake and merriment, and now, making our home-bound exits.
As for me, I called a Lyft. “Shayla” would be arriving in 6 minutes, said the Lyft app.
I slowly gathered my things, and started my goodbye preambles. Then, not even a minute later, my phone buzzed in my pocket.
“Arlene, Your Lyft is here! Look for Shayla in the black toyota Prius.”
“Oh shit guys, gotta run!” I said, grabbed my bag and dashed out of the house.
When I got outside, the streets were completely dark. I couldn’t see or even hear any cars. It was ghostly silent.
I looked back down at my app. Much to my dismay, Shayla’s Toyata Prius car icon appeared to be getting, not closer, but further and further away from me, on the virtual map.
“No, Shayla! Come back! NO!”
“You will arrive soon,” Said the little bubble above the car icon.
“Arrive? Where?” I said out loud. Then, I called Shayla’s number, but it just rolled over to a voicemail for a massage clinic. I tried again, same thing.
I searched in vain for a button to cancel the ride! But unfortunately there was no option for canceling anywhere on the touch screen menu.
“You will arrive soon” said the little bubble above the car.
I stared helplessly as Shayla’s little prius icon chugged its way up MLK Way, wobbled for a second, and then bee-lined straight toward the intersection of 51st and Broadway: My hood.
It was then that I fully realized: Shayla was driving me right to my house. Except I WAS NOT ACTUALLY IN THE CAR.
“Dropping off Jennifer” said the bubble suddenly, above Shayla’s car icon, as it made a quick turn-off at the Rockridge BART and stopped a moment.
“Who THE FUCK is Jennifer?” I yelled.
“You will arrive soon,” said the bubble above the car icon.
“No I WONT.”
I stared at my phone with horror, as Shayla’s car icon arrived at the pin-drop of my house. Paused a second. And then, drove off.
And then???? The tip screen popped up! Because Lyft thought I was in the car the whole time! (Was there some quantum parallel universe shit happening? WAS I, THE PARALLEL ME, ACTUALLY IN THE CAR?)
I declined a tip. And I typed in the feedback box: “Never showed up. Also, not sure who Jennifer is.”
After that, I called another Lyft. A guy named Thomas, who actually showed up. He seemed amenable to talking, and so I told him the whole ghost lyft story. He laughed and laughed. Then, as we got closer he said “Hey, I’m gonna stay, and make sure you get in the house safely, cuz you never know.”
“Right, like maybe Shayla is hiding in the bushes.” I suggested.
We were silent for a moment.
“Damn, now I’m kinda getting a a little scared for you for real,” He said.
But nothing happened. I didn’t run into Shayla, Jennifer, or my parallel universe self that was dropped off 15 minutes earlier, and sleeping in my bed already.
All I had, in the end was a fascinating mystery to ponder. And also, a bogus $6.00 charge on my bank account.