It used to be that no matter who they were or where you picked them up, riders would always walk around the car to be in the seat diagonally opposite from the driver. This means you can make eye contact in the rear view mirror.
Before the lockdowns I would occasionally get someone who sat right behind the driver’s seat, and you couldn’t really see them in the mirror. And I figured they were fucking psychos. I kept looking in the mirror to ensure that my end was not nigh.
However, since the first lockdown, and even more since the second big lockdown in New Zealand, I’ve noticed more and more people sit directly behind the driver. I’m hard pressed to call them psycho because actually what I think has happened is everybody’s turned into a little bit of an introvert and they sit there so I won’t talk to them.
There are a lot of Asian students who will sit there in order to avoid speaking as they often shy about their English. A couple of times I’ve said hello and asked them if they were having a good day. Twice, the person skooched to the other side to be diagonal. Most just look down and that is the end of the conversation.
Doing ride-share used to be so much fun, but now it seems that a lot people just can’t engage anymore.