Journey or lie homie – by Michael Estrin


“We’re going to the airport, proper?” the Lyft driver asks.

“Yup, except you wish to drive me again to Los Angeles.”

I’m joking, however in response to the Lyft driver, some individuals really rent Lyfts for the 270-mile journey from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. He thinks some drivers make good cash doing this, however they need to be keen to eat the price of the return journey as a result of there’s “no assure” they’ll discover one other passenger who needs to take a Lyft from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Additionally, he says, it’s a little bit “scary” driving with a stranger on such an extended journey.

“What if there’s a dispute?” the Lyft driver wonders. “If I’ve received a problem with a passenger in Vegas, I drive to the police station, or kick them out of my automobile. However what do I do in the course of the desert? It’s a lonely freeway to LA. Possibly they received a gun, or know jiu-jitsu. Personally, I’d fear about being murdered.”

Personally, I’d fear extra about being caught with a boring Lyft driver for six hours, since that appears way more seemingly than the app matching me with a killer. However that’s me.

“Good factor I’m flying again to LA.”

We share a chuckle. Then after a quiet second, the Lyft driver asks an ominous query.

“What’s the state of affairs like in LA?” he asks. “Are issues… OK?”

“The state of affairs?”

“Yeah, like, is it as dangerous as they are saying on the information?”

I’m undecided what “they” say on the information, or what information this man consumes, or if his information supply really practices journalism. However, the Lyft driver sounds involved by what they’re saying about my hometown.

“Are eating places and bars open, or does King Gavin nonetheless have the whole lot locked down?”

King Gavin? Final time I checked, Gavin Newsom was our governor, and America cancelled monarchs in 1776.

“I heard California is a leftist police state,” the Lyft driver says. “I heard you want papers simply to go away your own home.”

“I managed to go away the home with none paperwork.”

“So… you may exit and, like, get a taco, in order for you?”

“Each rattling day,” I say. “Los Angeles is a taco paradise.”

“Properly, I heard the COVID restrictions are intense in California,” the Lyft driver says. “That’s why everyone seems to be leaving California.”

“I wouldn’t say everybody is leaving. I nonetheless dwell there. My buddies nonetheless dwell in California. I’ve household there too. And we nonetheless have terrible visitors, so there are positively lots of people in California.”

The Lyft driver laughs. Jokes about visitors are common that means.

“However lots of people are leaving,” he insists. “I heard the inhabitants declined by, like, 5 million individuals.”

The Lyft driver is appropriate that our inhabitants shrunk final 12 months, though his numbers are as inflated because the tires on his Honda Civic. California has about 40 million individuals. A later Google search reveals our inhabitants declined by about 173,000 individuals.

“My household has been in California for greater than a century,” I say.

“You imply earlier than California was a state, again when it was a part of Mexico? You don’t look Mexican.”

“California was admitted to the Union in 1850,” I say.

“That may’t be proper. California isn’t that outdated. I don’t consider that.”

“You don’t need to consider it,” I say. “California grew to become a state in 1850. You may look it up. Anyway, my household got here to California across the flip of the final century. My spouse calls me a unicorn as a result of the general public you meet in Los Angeles weren’t born there. Level is, individuals are all the time coming to California, they usually’re all the time leaving it too. You ever hear that well-known quote, go west, younger man? Properly, loads of younger individuals do go west. However loads of them find yourself heading again east, besides there’s no well-known quote about that.”

For a second, the Lyft driver takes in what this Californian has to say about migration and the Golden State. However then he will get to the guts of the matter, the narrative he’s been listening to about on the information, the rationale so many individuals are fleeing California, which in fact, ties into the bigger narrative of decline.

“I heard crime is uncontrolled there,” he says. “Like, it’s completely lawless. I heard the cops can’t do something to cease it as a result of they’ve been defunded. I heard the whole lot is on the snapping point, that it’s anarchy within the streets.”

“I’m undecided about that,” I say. “The finances for the LAPD really elevated.”

The Lyft driver scoffs at my declare, as if verifiable details may be brushed apart with a guttural noise. However because it seems, I’m appropriate. A later search backs up my declare that the LAPD finances has been elevated.

“Properly, have you ever seen the tales concerning the practice tracks in LA?” the Lyft driver asks.

I’ve seen these tales. Native televisions stations, The Los Angeles Occasions, and KPCC, certainly one of two native public radio stations, lined the crime wave. Mainly, thieves have been ransacking cargo trains in Los Angeles rail yards. It’s a large number that solely provides to our nation’s provide chain woes. Additionally, the images are very disturbing.

“These practice robberies are uncontrolled,” the Lyft driver says. “I don’t wish to get political right here, however the Democrats are going to smash this nation the way in which they’ve ruined California.”

I’m fairly positive the Lyft driver does wish to get political right here, however I don’t. If something, I’d wish to clear up a couple of issues. So, I inform the Lyft driver that California hasn’t been “ruined,” though like in every single place else, the Golden State has its issues.

“Do you know that Union Pacific is partially guilty for this crime wave?” I ask.

“What? How?”

“Union Pacific is answerable for safety on their tracks, however they’ve received miles of tracks the place there’s no fencing in any respect. Plus, they’ve reduce on safety officers lately. It’s been everywhere in the information.”

“Not the information I see.”

I’m tempted to counsel that the Lyft driver develop his new weight loss plan, however earlier than I can say a phrase about that, he hits me with one other instance of California’s collapse, straight from the recordsdata of police squad.

“I heard the district legal professional in Los Angeles refuses to prosecute crimes,” the Lyft driver says. “Like, for instance, theft and theft and all that stuff isn’t against the law anymore in California.”

“Then why do I pay for groceries?”

“Since you’re an sincere dude, I believe. However you can simply stroll out of the shop with out paying as a result of there aren’t any penalties. That’s the progressive agenda: legalized theft.”

“Properly, after I get house, I’m going to steal all of the popcorn and hummus I can carry from my native Dealer Joe’s. On second thought, if it’s free, I’m going to loot Entire Meals. Their costs are prison.”

“It’s not humorous, man. Crime is a major problem.”

“I agree. Crime is a major problem, however let’s get our details straight. You’re saying California is on the snapping point. I’ve lived in California my whole life. Crime knowledge and my lived expertise tells me that the state of affairs, whereas dangerous, is definitely higher than it was after I was a child.”

The Lyft driver groans. I can inform details aren’t his factor. However he’s a giant fan of whataboutism.

“What about these flash mobs robbing retail shops in broad daylight? That’s what occurs while you launch all of the criminals from jail. That’s what occurs while you inform criminals they received’t be prosecuted. Did you see these tales round Christmas time?”

“I noticed these tales. I additionally noticed tales about arrests and prosecutions. Smash and seize jobs are nonetheless unlawful in California.”

“What concerning the homeless?” the Lyft driver asks.

“What about them?”

“It must be unlawful to be homeless,” he says. “However as an alternative, California offers them free medicine, to allow them to have orgies on the street.”

“Free medicine and orgies? I by no means get invited to the cool occasions.”

“I’m not kidding, man. The homeless are being handled like kings in California. I learn all about it.”

“Properly, I learn all about time journey as soon as, however that doesn’t imply it’s actual.”

“Are you saying there aren’t any homeless individuals in Los Angeles?”

“Nope. I didn’t say that in any respect. There are tens of hundreds of homeless individuals in Los Angeles alone. We really do an annual census of the homeless inhabitants. It’s a rattling humanitarian disaster. However I don’t know the place you’re getting the concept that it’s authorities coverage to advertise free medicine and orgies on the street.”

“The information.”

“What information?”

Silence.

“Severely, what information?” I ask.

“On the web.”

Abruptly, the Lyft driver sounds bashful. It’s as if spreading bullshit is his tremendous energy, however a easy request to quote his sources is Kryptonite.

“Which web site on the web?” I ask. “I wish to test it out.”

“Fb. It’s all on Fb, if you recognize the proper teams, those that consider in The Fact.”

“Oh! Why didn’t you say Fb was your supply within the first place?”

“Since you wouldn’t have believed me. That’s why.”

“Don’t fear about it. I didn’t consider anyway.”

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