The death of small talk
“How’s business going?” “Aren’t the streets empty..?” There is a device preventing the usual pleasantries. These days the so-called ride-share companies Uber and Lyft have encouraged their drivers to keep themselves and their passengers as safe as possible, which often means the driver has constructed some kind of barrier between the front and back. The rule of thumb is that the better the car, the better the quality of membrane. They range from custom-made perspex to a more Heath Robinson affair made from a shower curtain and gaffer tape. As with black cabs in London, regular NY taxis have always had this partition in place, and in the initial days of COVID, business was up as customers wanted the extra germ barrier.