Liza P. Burkin

How To Be A Female Pedicab Driver

  1. Be born into a society that values your body for its beauty, not its strength.
  2. Be educated to forge a career out of your brain and mouth and keyboard-glued fingertips. Feel the cold, hard floor of expectation crumble beneath your dancing feet when you realize you can support yourself through throbbing legs and burning lungs and pouring sweat.
  3. Be very nervous about steering and balancing the 185-lb three-wheeled beast you see before you. Clamber into the saddle, lean into the handlebars. Push the pedals down, and feel immediate despair at its colossal weight. But realize from the first turn that its generous booty, fancy hydraulic brakes, and tight turning radius make it incredibly easy to maneuver. Know you will struggle, but you will not crash.
  4. Realize that the hills never get easier, you just recover faster.
  5. Endure misogynistic comments and worldviews multiple times a night, every night. Hear thousands of men say, “I can’t possibly have a girl pull me around in that thing!” Finally ova up and say, “Do I tell you that you can’t do your job?” Smile warmly when they crack and get in.
  6. Eat like a 13-year-old boy at a sleepover. Savor every gulp of high fructose corn syrup and gloopy bite of processed cheese. For the first time in your life, send food down the freeway of your throat with zero thought or concern for how it will reappear on your body. Prepare calorie engines of bagels and pasta and rice and beans at home, and/or accept pizza and restaurants leftovers as a tip. Visit the donut shop ritualistically at 3am. Rejoice in the scientific fact that chocolate milk is proven to be the best thing for muscle recovery. It’s science.
  7. Dress like a 90’s-era soccer player who might go clubbing. Learn that showing more skin usually makes you more cash, but also attracts more catcalling sleazeballs. Choose based on your mood.
  8. Grow armor re: catcalling sleazeballs. Become a gleaming metallic ball of mental toughness.
  9. Learn to recognize the difference between a stupid drunk guy and a smart drunk guy and a dangerous drunk guy and a harmless drunk guy. Learn when to accept compliments about your body and when to reject them. Learn how to flirt and engage and entertain people with as much emotional self-preservation as possible. Learn that when you yell at drunk people and call them out instead of just taking it, most of the time they’ll actually tip you better. Find out how talking to strangers for eight hours is far more exhausting than pedaling their weight.
  10. Stay away from bachelorette parties.
  11. Become superstitious about your outfits, about your trike, about the days of the week. Anything that will give you some false sense of control about how much money you’ll make that night. Then surrender your superstitions and stress and just try to have fun and be kind to people.
  12. Discover the city in a way you never thought possible. Become intimate with every back alley, secret shortcut, and crooked intersection. Talk to all kinds of people you never would otherwise — hotel valets, dishwashers on smoke breaks, police officers, late night fishermen. Settle into the pulse and rhythm of this place. Become a fixture of its hedonistic, labyrinthine streets.
  13. Witness the most despicable human behavior you’ve ever seen. Wonder — often — why there are no evangelical Christians standing on street corners preaching morality like they did on your Midwestern college campus. Watch in genuine despair for the future of our species as the pizza zombies unleash curses and bodily fluids and all around you after the bars close.
  14. Become one of the boys. Get used to long periods of doing nothing and entertaining each other with dumb games and talk on slow nights. Fondly remember the intense bonds and loyalties of a high school sports team. But know this is so much better because you are a goddamned adult. And these people will be your brothers and sisters for life.
  15. Go skinny-dipping after the shift. Feel the dark ocean wash over your sweaty, aching body and praise every decision that led you here.
  16. Pay all your bills in cash. Get creative with your taxes.
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This entry was published on August 7, 2016 at 1:13 pm and is filed under Bicycles. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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