The Fourth of July was B-U-S-Y. Twenty rides over the course of the evening, which was a new personal record. But the best story of the night was from a guy I’ll call “Stoner Steve.”
I picked up Steve at a bar in Tempe. I made a casual comment that I was surprised he was heading away from the biggest fireworks display in the area that evening. That’s what got him started, and how it goes sometimes. One question leads a person to open up, and pretty soon you’re learning WAY more than you expected.
Steve’s opening line was that he was just starting to feel better after being hung over all day. Fireworks, he said, were not part of his game plan. Instead, he was heading to a friend’s house and planned to hit Netflix and relax.
Out of the blue, and without context, he tells me that he’s smoked pot pretty much every day for the past 30 years. I guess he thought that was something he needed to share.
When he asked how many more minutes until we would get to his destination, I told him and mentioned that the Lyft light on the dash also displays your ETA every few minutes so passengers can tell how long the ride has left.
“I wouldn’t be able to see it,” he said. “I’m going blind.”
Quickly he adds: “Well, probably not going blind. But I’ve got glaucoma.”
Steve tells me he’d been having trouble seeing so he finally made an appointment with an opthalmologist to get his eyes checked. As the doctor is examining him, she tells him he has all the classic signs of glaucoma — except one. His eye pressures were normal.
“Then she says, ‘I don’t understand it. Everything I’m seeing tells me you have glaucoma, but your pressure readings are normal. And the pressures are pretty much the definition of having glaucoma.’ ”
“So here I am,” he says, “this long-haired hippie dude sitting in her chair, wearing a Pink Floyd T-shirt, and she doesn’t even think to ask me if I’m high. I mean, this is a medical marijuana state, after all.”
And glaucoma, of course, is one of the top conditions that marijuana can help treat.
Were you high during the exam, I asked?
I followed up, already knowing the answer. Are you stoned right now?
Stoner Steve then got quiet as his mind wandered to other topics (that tends to happen). I broke the silence. So what happened, I asked?
The appointment. And your glaucoma.
At that point the ride was coming to an end, but from what I could gather in the last two minutes, the doctor followed up with an email, and then Stoner Steve revealed he had been high during the exam. The doctor wanted him to come back for another exam, this time NOT stoned.
They traded several emails, with Steve arguing that if he was already “treating” the condition himself, was there really any need to go back?
I dropped him off, and only at that point realized it wasn’t his own apartment complex, but one where he was meeting someone. He looked a bit confused, so I paused to make sure he was even at the right spot.
“Is this the address I put in?” he asked.
It was, I replied.
“Then I’m at the right place.”
As I turned the car around I passed him one last time before exiting the complex. Stoner Steve was looking around. Then down at his phone. Then looking around again.
He may not have been sure he was at the right place, but damn, his eye pressures were in good shape.
If you’re inspired to give Lyft driving a try, make sure to use a driver referral bonus when you first fill out the application. Use code MIKE17396 and we will both enjoy a bonus for rides you give during your first month. You don’t need to drive in Phoenix for the code to work.