Saint Patrick’s Day, sort of
So today was not going to be a day to judge whether winter is returning to the Uber and Lyft business because Pittsburgh celebrates Saint Patrick’s Day, always, as one passenger explained it to me, “on the Saturday before.”
Which meant traffic in the Southside district, where mostly a lot of drinking happens, was impenetrable and I spent way too much time there.
But then there’s coronavirus. So I also had a bunch of grocery store runs. I really don’t make any money on these because I spend too much time getting to too-short rides, but I remember the old taxicab adage that if you want them to call you for the long rides, you need to take them for their short ones. And because people are hoarding—nobody really seems to understand why—that means even more time loading and unloading the car. Oh yes, and listening to them bitch and moan about how the shelves are empty.
Yes, I’ve really been reduced to this level.
As previously noted, my planned communication disruption is now expected to occur on Monday.
New York Times, “There’s a Giant Hole in Pelosi’s Coronavirus Bill,” March 14, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/14/opinion/coronavirus-pelosi-sick-leave.html
As previously noted, the communication disruption is now expected to occur on Monday, March 16.
Since we all seem to be focusing more on the economic effects of COVID-19 more than on the disease itself, apparently economists recommend giving everybody in the U.S. $1,000 to mitigate the downturn. Note, this is a long ways from what politicians currently seem to be contemplating. James Hamblin’s article is a rather serious exploration of the larger situation.
James Hamblin, “What Will You Do If You Start Coughing?” Atlantic, March 11, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/03/where-do-you-go-if-you-get-coronavirus/607759/
John Cassidy, “What Would a Proper Coronavirus Stimulus Plan Look Like?” New Yorker, March 14, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/what-would-a-proper-coronavirus-stimulus-plan-look-like
- Originally published, March 14, 9:48 am.
- March 14, 10:35 am:
- The Los Angeles Times has a list of events that have been canceled or postponed due to coronavirus. Of course, this emphasizes Southern California and, though the Times has made a stab at more global coverage, cannot reasonably be expected to be comprehensive elsewhere. But as the social world shuts down, Uber and Lyft drivers will, of course, be affected, even if they aren’t quarantined or diagnosed with COVID-19.
After a transit lasting 27 hours and 45 minutes, for a trip that should have taken less than four hours, my Pixel 4 XL has apparently finally made it to Pittsburgh, is now scheduled for delivery on Monday, and the planned communication disruption will, assuming no further stupidity, occur on that date.
FedEx Ground is just inexcusably stupid.
It doesn’t sound like there’s anything in this “sweeping” legislation that will help gig workers.
Gig workers are generally forgotten whenever it comes to labor protections of any sort. That’s the point.
Even those oh so pious words uttered by Uber and Lyft in response to Mark Warner’s request have yet to be followed up with any substance whatsoever. Not even the promised hand sanitizer. Not even the promised cleaning supplies. (Even that ever-so-controversial California bill banning misclassification of workers is still, in the words of the headline attached to Diane Mulcahy’s article last year, all bark and no bite.) There has been no direction on what to do if we are quarantined or diagnosed with COVID-19. Just oh so pious words. That is, when we’re remembered at all.
Los Angeles Times, “Here are events canceled or postponed due to coronavirus,” March 13, 2020,https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-03-12/events-canceled-postponed-coronavirus
Sarah Ferris et al., “House passes sweeping coronavirus response package,” Politico, March 14, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/13/congress-coronavirus-stimulus-package-deal-friday-128140
There is still no new information on the Pixel 4 XL. In desperation, I’m reaching out to Google about this, hoping they have some pull to get some real answers.
I’m seeing some folks on Twitter, even some with experience with economic hardship, castigating others who insist they have to go to work despite a widening shutdown of the economy. There’s something these folks need to understand:
People whose lives have been reduced to a struggle for survival against a relentlessly cruel and oppressive economic system for long enough can imagine nothing else. The relentless traumas of such an existence have pushed everything else aside. We are victims, just as surely as those who actually come down with COVID-19.
Criticizing us only amplifies our trauma. Telling people who rely on tips for their livelihoods or who work in the gig economy that unemployment insurance is on the way, telling people who’ve spent our entire lives struggling to pay rent that evictions are being frozen—all this only minimizes what for us is an existential struggle. None of it explains how we will survive, how we will ever recover from lost income, because even those of us (not gig workers) who will be eligible for unemployment benefits will receive a mere fraction of what we would otherwise have earned.
We still have to buy groceries (and by the way, food pantries generally aren’t vegan). We still have to pay the utilities. We still have to pay rent. When we lose income, we fall (further) behind on all this. We wonder how we will ever recover.
People like me are way past the point where words reassure. We’ve heard words before. Again and again and again. We see only the threats of yet more traumas.
If you’re among those critics, you need to shut the fuck up. Because all you’re doing is reinforcing the sense of being judged, the sense of being blamed, the sense of oppression from forces over which we have no control.