Recently Nate has started to engage with the people of Phoenix in a whole new way. Working as a driver for Lyft and Uber, Nate navigates the streets of Phoenix, never knowing who may get into his passenger seat next. Each encounter has been a unique and special experience. Whether or not this business endeavor is profitable is moderately irrelevant – the real profit is human engagement in it’s most raw forms. Together for 10 to 30 minutes at a time, likely to never see each other again, the consequence of opening up is minimal at best.
In any given night, Nate may entertain a lobbyist from Washington in town to advocate for international humanitarian issues at 9:00 PM, then three far-too-post graduates headed home at 12:00 AM to do some coke and get laid by tonight’s lucky winner on a random weeknight. What is most striking to Nate is that these stories reflect the true nature of these individuals’ character. These stories are thoroughly engrained, and despite their perceived shock factor, there is no shock factor RELATIVE TO THE STORYTELLER’S PARADIGM. Each person tells their story with true authenticity and a straight face.
It has been truly enlightening to observe where people are in life – how they view relationships, work ethic, God, money, time, and social status. Nate has never intersected so many different types of people in such a concentrated period of time. Even if he had heard of such things, he always truly doubted whether or not they existed. They do. They are in full force. In some ways our society is far more advanced than it ever has been – perhaps too advanced. In other regards, people continue to embody primitive human instincts that date back centuries.
Will Nate remember each story in great detail three years from now? Likely not. Is there merit in posting each encounter on a semi-real time basis? At the risk of sacrificing presence for a written product, no. Documenting individual cases also hints at jeopardizing the authenticity, as well as creating implicit mockery at one person’s specific circumstance. That is by no means the intent.
The intent is to track how Nate will learn push his own understanding of human nature through themes extracted from the driving process as a whole. How will Nate learn to authentically engage with people he would never encounter under any other normal circumstance? How can Nate have an impact on each passenger and make their day a little bit better after a ride across town?
Lastly, Nate has learned that he can learn far more about life by listening to people from other walks of life speak authentically for 10 minutes than he can from any textbook. Each person has purpose and experience worth knowing. People love to talk about themselves – and hopefully by extending an invitation to do so, those people will realize their own purpose as strongly as Nate observes from the outside looking in.