The main character is male and his only possessions are his car, a pair of socks, and this video or audio recording of a tour of an apartment that he wants to buy. The city in which he lives (or maybe even the whole word) is perpetually stuck in traffic. People sometimes try "start-ups" by turning on their cars (they're normally turned off to conserve gas or because they have already run out of gas) and trying to get other cars to finally move. Large drones fly around and dump hot, soapy water on the people stuck in their cars.
The main character obsessively watches/listens to this tape and becomes paranoid that a woman is being murdered/hurt in this apartment, and he becomes convinced that he has to help her. He enlists the help of the daughter of the family that lives in a mini van near his car.
Her looks get them "hired" for the day as advertising agents, they get picked up by a drone, and injected with something that lets them pass through the "semi-permeable barrier" that makes surface humans invisible to the richer class that lives under ground. They get dumped in this mall and try to talk to people to find the apartment but the only things that the injection allows them to talk about is the things they are advertising (beer? or pens maybe).
They eventually find the apartment and there is a man living there who seems nice, but then he calls the police on the main character and keeps the girl he is with, we assume to hurt her.
I found this story story in a paperback book in the value bin at Strand Bookstore in New York in 2016. The author is male I think, and has a pretty popular book, maybe about being in a gang in New York City? His short story collection has something to do with eyes in the title and the cover looks like one of those long exposure light photos, blue and red colored I think.