Tag Archives: #AlternativeTransportation

Alternative Transportation and Me

On account of having one car between us at the moment, I often find myself choosing to call an Uber to get me to and from work. Hubs has much farther to go to his office than I do, so it makes sense for him to have the car most days.

One of the things I learned quickly about Uber is that they have a rating system. It goes from 1-5, 1 of course being crap and 5 being quite top notch. Oddly enough, this ratings system is for both drivers and riders. I can’t help but imagine if the servers at all our restaurants had the opportunity to rate us as customers, just as we rate them when it comes to how much of a tip they get. I think perhaps if that was the case, there would be a decent percentage of folks banned from dining establishments, or at the very least given a red flag type of warning to the servers assigned to their tables.

Anyhoo, according to Uber, thankfully, I am a 4.97. That’s essentially an “A”. The only thing that perhaps could be preventing me from achieving the elusive 5 star rating as an Uber rider is my inability to be at precisely the right spot when my driver picks me up. Because I’m frugal and always choose Uber pool, this means that the driver is going to collect me at a destination convenient for them, and not me. Meaning I have to walk, say a block or two, and park myself on the northwest or southeast corner of whatever the designated street happens to be. Except I am directionally challenged. As in, I have really no clue about north-west-south-east. I’m more of a right-side left-side or tell-me-the-nearest-landmark kind of gal. So I make my best guess instead, which typically leads my driver locating me at the last possible second because they are looking for me at the northwest corner  as opposed to the southeast corner where I am standing.

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As an extrovert by nature, and a curious one at that,  I typically employ the following mode of chit-chat with my Uber drivers. It goes something like this:

Me: So do you like driving for Uber?

Driver: (always) Yes, I do.

Me: Is it your full time job?

Now this is where it gets interesting. More often than not, it is not their full-time jobs. Some are insurance agents. Some are realtors. Some are small business owners. Some play in rock bands on the weekends.

One of the more dynamic Uber drivers I’ve had was a woman in her late 50’s. In a previous life, she lived and worked in New York City. She was an investment banker there, as I recall, and she left NYC for Colorado after going through a years long sexual harassment suit which she won. Uber was her side hustle. Her main hustle was starting a non-profit in conjunction with the NFL (or was it the NHL? Or the NBA? Something sports related), aimed at mentoring poor, at-risk kids. Teaching them compassion. I wish I could remember the name of her non-profit. She reminded me of Carol from the Walking Dead. Who was also a bad-ass.

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My worst Uber experience was the crabby guy who complained incessantly about how difficult it was to find me (I was smack dab in front of the building), because he apparently first went to the incorrect entrance. His car was a bit of a junker, there were crumbs everywhere, and the worst bit was that he was listening to Rush Limbaugh. So here I was, strapped in for a good 20 minutes, forced to listen to Rush (would have much preferred the band) complain about all of the supposed rapists, murderers, and assorted criminal types coming through our southern border. As a special treat, a young white teenage male called into his show to complain about how his adoration of Mr. Limbaugh and his ilk was not understood or appreciated by his peer community. Instead of hurling and/or launching into a diatribe about the legit reasons why this misguided youth wasn’t getting the feels he desired for his backward political views, I opted to have him drop me off a bit farther from my destination so I could get the hell out of that car quicker.

Another Uber driver I rode with told me how she had to quit a job she had for close to 30 years and find another job that was flexible for her schedule, which included raising her two elementary aged grandkids with her husband. Being an Uber driver fit the bill for her. She shared that her once beautiful and very smart, college-educated daughter had fallen prey to a very bad man. A man who introduced her to hard drugs. Her daughter lost custody of her children due to her drug addiction and now this Uber driver believes, but isn’t certain, her daughter is now with a much older man, living in a rathole of a trailer, doing drugs. I couldn’t help but think to myself, as this woman was no more than 2-3 years older than me, that this could have been my life. Our oldest spawn made many a questionable choice between the ages of 18 and 21, and she got knocked up at 22. Thank the good Lord this pregnancy and her determination to get her ass back to college and finish this time put her on a healthier path.

Another Uber driver pointed out that he was only driving me a mile away. He offered, in his lovely Indian accent, (as I’m enjoying the exotic music and marveling at the cleanliness of his car and how delightful it smelled), that I could easily have walked to my destination. My (lame) comeback was that then I’d have to get up earlier in the morning. Of course I couldn’t deny that he was completely correct. So now whenever I need to go to this work destination (since November, I am housed in two different buildings at the direction of my boss’s boss),  I now walk there. Unless of course it’s freezing rain out or simply too hot (both relative rarities in this climate).

Suffice it to say I have been enlightened and entertained by my Uber experiences.

Anyone else out there have some Uber experiences to share? I would love to read about them!

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