It’s a Saturday night and my girlfriend is somewhere working a 12 hour-shift at a medical facility in San Francisco, California.
In normal circumstances I would go home, watch a few Netflix episodes, rub it out, and then sleep… until she arrived back home. But, tonight is different. I want to explore and I want to meet new people. I want to exhaust myself so when she does arrive back home we are both tired enough to sleep together.
So, I hop in my car and turn on the UberX Driver Iphone App.
Before I begin, I want to tell you a little secret about being an amazing UberX Driver. NEVER EVER use the UberX Driver App as your navigation system because it’ll get you lost. It’s so bad that one time I found myself three miles away from my actual destination.
This is why I carry an additional smartphone that carries the Waze navigation app. I’m not going to explain what Waze is or is not. It’s just the best. Period. Download it and then thank me later.
Besides the little hiccup of a horrible navigation system, UberX is literally the best ridesharing company in the world.
Other ridesharing companies, like Lyft and Sidecar, do not compare.
Lyft Drivers are forced to bug their passengers with a fist bump and bother them with inane conversations. In addition, a Lyft Driver needs to hang a really obnoxious pink mustache outside of their car. It broadcasts a message that you are a ridesharing freak.
It’s like being a corporate 50-year-old man with braces and yellow teeth. I do not care how smart you may become – no one really likes staring at you during the office happy hour. Eh.
Sidecar Drivers have it the worst. It’s a donation system and you’re always unsure if the passengers you pick up will actually pay you something. The first few times I used the app I was welcomed by hospitalized patients who were practically bleeding in my car. They did not pay full price and the cleanup cost me a white towel or two.
If you want to join a non-profit volunteer ridesharing service then join Sidecar. If not… don’t bother applying. Also, Sidecar Drivers are creepy. You don’t want to be stuck in that category.
UberX… now that’s the crème de la crème of ridesharing. Why? If your rating goes below a 4.3, you’re essentially ousted as a driver. It’s that strict. However, what’s also cool is that you get to rate and view the ratings of your potential passengers as well. Essentially, you are both keeping each other accountable. It’s a great way to check each other to do the right thing.
They don’t just hire or keep anybody. You’re NOT supposed to talk to the passengers unless they talk to you. You’re a private driver for a reason. I make it a point not to talk to my passengers unless they talk to me. No one likes a contrived conversation. Besides, the ones who will themselves to talk to me usually have the best stories.
People say that UberX can get expensive. It can. But, on most days it’s averagely cheap. Also, remember that UberX will always be cheaper than a DUI.
Me: Welcome. Where we headed?
Passenger: Can you drop us near campus?
I start off in a college town because college kids requests short distances, which is a perfect way to start off the night because…
Me: GUESS WHAT?!? THIS IS MY FIRST RIDE SO THIS RIDE IS FREE!
Passenger: WHAT?? YEE! You’re totally getting 5 stars!
Yes, the ride is less than four dollars, but the 5 stars are crucial to my rating. It’s my lifeblood and I like to start off on a high note. You never know if the inebriated guy, later in the night, might give you a one star for not letting him puke in your car.
Or worst, an old lady who gives you a one star because you missed her dropoff by a few feet. I hate these old women (and corporate men)… they’re the worst. Besides, I remember being a college student. Every single dollar saved is another day I’m able to eat.
The next stop consists of two Grad Students who are excited to see that I have an auxiliary plug!
Grad Students: You better love TSwift!
Me: The TSwift of love and compassion! THE TAYLOR SWIFT. INTO THE WOODS!
Grad Students: TURN THIS UP! If you don’t sing Along WE WILL NOT GIVE YOU 5 STARS
I’m reminded how we, in our late 20s, are still trying to hold onto what youth we have left. We only have a few years left to act like children…until it gets creepy… besides I love Taylor Swift.
The next few rides are silent types who just want to go from Point A to Point B. They’re just waiting and anxious to meet their friends in the city. There is nothing awkward about silences. Sometimes the one thing that can fill the spaces we create from others is our thoughts, which can be the one thing that drives us to peace.
It’s 12am. I pick up a couple and they’re extremely wasted! They’re in there 40s and they’re headed home. She’s kicking the backseat of my car seat and he’s calling her the C-word – all at the same time asking me if I agree with his statement.
“I don’t know your wife. She is or she isn’t… I won’t know unless I live with her.”
“You’re lucky you don’t – because she’s a C*nt!”
“Good to know!”
After I drop them off I wipe my car down with Lysol & Spray my car with febreeze. These people usually cost me a good 20 minutes of cleanup time. Oh well, it’s what I signed up for.
Before I go back on the road I text my girlfriend that’s she an amazing burrito wrapped up in magnificence.
At 1am a group of affable 30-somethings rejoice in my ear telling me their lavish night of greatness. They call me “Bud,” “Sport,” and give me advice on how I should live the rest of my 20s. They actually tip me some cash and say, “I hope you have a great night. Life only gets better from here.” I smile hoping that I will have as much fun as they are when I’m in my 30s.
At 2am a man greets me in his late 50s with a woman who he calls “My Dime.” She’s at least 20 years younger and her figure shines brighter than his glowing Rolex watch. He sits in the front seat directing me, showing the woman in the backseat that he is a man of purpose… a man who still leads. I find him domineering and kind of charismatic.
I get curious but right before I get to ask him what he does for a living… I hear the woman say,
“What will your wife think?”
I gulp. I’m not a fan of the ride anymore… the only thing I like about this ride is the gorgeous house with the 10 million dollar view. Also, because he’s so far off from the city – it’s the most expensive ride of the night ($61).
As I drive back to the city I text my girlfriend reminding her that I love her.
At 4am I pick up this bartender who looks out of it… like she’s been pushed down some stairs. I’m thinking Domestic Violence, but she explains that her work is just a beating. I can tell she’s depressed and ready to kill something.
I feel bad and I end her trip early (so she pays less). Right when I begin to drop her off she says, “Can we talk?”
It’s 4am. There’s no one out looking for a ride…
“Sure thing. What’s going on?”
“Would you like some Cocaine?”
“That’d be awesome! But unfortunately I’m driving. Another time?”
She lines up the coke in her Altoids Tin container, does her thing and we sit there for 30 minutes as she explains her past. The cheating boyfriend, the verbally abusive boss, and her HIV positive heroin addicted roommate who she wants to bang. I guess we can’t always get what we want.
Right when she leaves she gives me a handwritten receipt with her email address and says, “If you ever need a friend… email me and we can hang out.”
I know we’ll probably never talk again. I was just a one-time thing. I was her outlet and she was my plug. I’m beginning to understand that I’m more than a private driver to these folks. I’m their therapist, their confidant, and their friend who they need during those dark hours. And in turn, they’re everything for me.
It’s 7am. A 10-hour shift.
I netted $140 dollars. I’m tired. It’s time to pick up my girlfriend.
She asks me how my night was… I tell her that I love being an UberX driver.