Ah yes. Another Driving for Uber chronicle is here. For those of you who are just now joining us I’d like to offer some background. I started writing about my experiences with driving for Uber as a social experiment to see if I wanted to remain in Houston and continue fighting the conservative fight or pack it up and hit the road. I also started driving for money. This is the second digest.
My Saturday night ended with me telling a girl that she shouldn’t feel bad for having a man and sleeping with another one. Wait a second, before you start thinking “Tiff, WTF!” I’ll explain but first let’s start from the top.
I went online at 8:09 p.m. a tad bit frantic because I was late. I like to be online exactly at the top of the hour. I had my normal cabinet, a 32 oz of Topo Chico, which was later mistaken for a “40”, my book, my charger and my mints. I was rets! Instead of doing what I normally did which was drive to Midtown I drove to the inner loop and waited because that’s where the surge was reported. After sitting and reading for 15 minutes I gave up and headed towards Midtown. Got my first call from a family who had visited the Aquarium. I pulled up and they all got in, Mommy, Daddy and cutest 3 year-old little girl. She had her face painted and it was a spanning black butterfly. I made sure to tell her how much I loved her butterfly and then asked her to put her seatbelt on. When she didn’t and neither of her parents enforced it I found myself a tad irritated. That’s one thing I’ve never understood, why people don’t feel obligated to strap their children in a car. Anyways, they didn’t enforce it and I drove as safely as possible towards their destination. Halfway into the ride the tracking GPS started fritzing so I asked the woman if she knew what the exit was. She responded with the street name and I proceeded to revive the GPS. It started to work again and I finally got them to their destination. When she got out she told me to drive safely. I thanked her and gave her and her family 3 stars. Sorry chica, next time strap that baby in!
It was a pretty steady night when I think about it. The next request for a ride came immediately in after I dropped off that family. It was a couple leaving home and going to a spot overhead one that I’d dropped off many at before. As soon as the guy opened his mouth I knew it was going to be one helluva ride. He was hilarious. Told me that he needed to go and get his license from a friend’s house and said he would direct me there. When we pulled off he told me how to avoid the speed bumps we’d encounter by veering all the way to the right and mashing it. lol. I can still hear his voice in my head as I type saying “DO THAT!!!”. He said it all the way to the expressway which he referred to as “the thingie” and explained that people from Houston identified expressways as such (no seriously-this conversation really happened). That led us to talking about where I was from and the next thing I know we were talking about my hometown (Detroit). He excitedly told me how he’d just been there to visit for a concert. It was to see one of my favorite producers, GRiZ, and an upcoming band who I’ve since forgot their name. We talked about GRiZ and how he was from Detroit (unbeknownst to me) and how he loved being in Detroit. He talked about how he wasn’t caught dead in certain parts. I agreed with him knowing he wasn’t caught dead (jk). We didn’t even go into the certain parts thing but skipped right over to the food he had and how much he loved it. That brought us back to talking about food in Houston and how he’d like to open up a restaurant but he didn’t have any money. That led to him asking to borrow some from me and telling me how I could eat for free every day if I loaned it to him. All that brought us to arriving at his friend’s house to pick up his license. He went in, came out and we were on our way again, this time to the club. We talked a bit more about politricks in Houston and him being a libertarian. On back to BBQ again and then to listening to GRiZ. His friend laughed at him the whole way. She said it was the primary reason she hung with him and I gave her a thumbs up. “There is no-thing like a funny guy, girl” is what I told her! Had it been available they would have gotten 10 stars.
My next request came from a new rider. He telephoned me right after he requested the ride and when I answered he explained where he wanted to be picked up and dropped off. I told him that I’d gotten his request and that I was on my way. I got there a few minutes later and shortly thereafter he and his friend approached my car. They were big buys. By big I mean taller than 6’0 and bigger than 250. Ok I have a big guy fetish. They got in and told me how it was their first time requesting a car. I congratulated them and told them how it’s actually a pretty cool deal. They’d been advised to do so by a friend and was visiting Houston for the first time. I asked if anything in particular brought them here and they told me no. They explained that they would be in town for three days total and said they wanted to do as much as possible but hadn’t so far. They were going to a bar that they heard was pretty cool and was hopeful that they could do some sightseeing Sunday. I gave them the name of a new app I’d heard about (Zerve) and they made mental note. The one with the piercing in his lip ok, ok I like piercings too! offered that he was presently living in San Antonio and was originally from Baghdad. When I asked how the economy was in San Antonio the friend responded saying it was pretty stable. I eventually got them to their destination and the friend offered to tip me. I declined (Ikr) and wished them a good night. Yup, 5 stars.
My next request came in at the same rate, almost instantly. It was a girl getting her hair done at the inner city’s most popular natural hair salon. She needed to run and get money from the ATM because of the salon’s card reader had issues and eventually needed to come back, pay them for their services and then be taken home. After she paid them and got in the car again she told me how it was her first time having color in her hair. I told her it turned out nice and I thought it really complimented her skin tone. She thanked me then proceeded to blurt out to her phone “I sent it to you Dummy!”. I got her to her destination and as I was pulling up she pointed out that her house was the one with all the cars in the driveway. She followed it up with “yea, I know..all those cars and I had to call an Uber. I don’t understand.” I responded with “I feel you. It beez that way sometimes”. She got 5 stars.
My next request was probably the most involved of all of them. When I got the request I knew it was at the city border not too far from where I lived judging by the address. As I drove there I tried to recall what and where it could be. When I couldn’t, I sped up a bit more to get there quicker. I was really curious. Ten minutes later I pulled up to a hole in the wall bar. A guy flagged me down and I rolled down my window to ask if he requested a car. He told me that he had and waved his friends over. There were 4 of them. Yup, 4. Making the gang 5 total. Don’t ask me how 4 of them fit in my back seat, use your imagination. So we take off and the guy in the passenger seat is telling me how the bar they’d just left is called a “dive bar”. When I asked what that was he told me it was a hole in the wall bar. I laughed and asked when people started nicknaming nicknames and he laughed too. From there the gang in the back went on talking loudly amongst themselves about everything under the sun while my passenger started telling me that he too drives for Uber. He pointed to his subdivision as we passed and said that it was a safe place and not “ghetto” Ok, I have to insert this here-many of my Caucasian riders automatically assume that I am familiar with slang, urban lingo and Rap music and when they head in that direction I have to ask them to define and/or explain their understanding so that I understand. After we got through that, he told me that he’d been hassled by all types of people at the “ghetto” gas station. We talked a bit more about that and then he pointed to the black man who was with the gang in the backseat and said that he was a neighbor who’d been invited to hang out and that he liked hanging out with the bunch. When I asked the man if that were true he responded with a very vocal YYYYYYYYEEEEEAAAA BABY!!!!! There were conversations about how the two ladies in the back were going to transfer drinks from mouth to mouth and then conversations about how they pretend to be lesbians all the time and get drinks from bartenders who are interested in them as a pair only to give one or more of the drinks to their male partners. My front seat passenger laughed at how “taken” the bartenders and waiters always seem to appear after they realized they’ve been played. Again, they went on laughing the rest of the ride and when I got them to their destination one of the young ladies in the back thanked me for driving much safer that their previous driver. She told me she’d never been out of her neck of the woods and that she was enjoying herself. I told her to continue and yup just because they were a rowdy bunch having a good time I gave them 5 stars.
By this time I need gas. Remember I was running late, there was no time to stop so I figured I could stop in between calls. They were coming in back to back and as soon as I rated the 5 star gang another request came in. This time it was a couple. They were literally standing in the street waiting for me. I pulled up and they almost rushed the car. (Mind you it’s cold in Houston right now-colder than it should be). They were heading home from a few drinks. They were pleasant and asked the usual questions about how long I’d been driving and what I thought about the set-up. The lady in the party then asked if anyone had ever thrown up in my car. I told her no and told her that she was the second person to ask that and that I’d hope that wasn’t a sign to come, in fact I refuted it because…well yea-it’s throw up. I don’t mind cleaning up after my babies but adults. Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. So anyhoo, we talked more about mishaps and it led to talking about smoking cigarettes. I pronounced disgust way too soon, right afterwards she admitted to being a smoker. As soon as I got my foot out of my mouth the male passenger told me we’d arrived at their destination. I didn’t have a choice but to give them 5 stars and afterwards went immediately offline to find some gas. Thank GOD I did because I was 4 gallons away from being stalled. Onward.
The next request was from a guy and two girls. They’d been to the Monster Jam and out to dinner. They talked about how it was a good show and how there was tons of kids there. I told them I’ve wanted to take my suns and they recommended it but said it’s a fairly loud show. Soon after the male passenger started talking about how they were just pretty regular people and how they didn’t have any stories for me. It was weird because I wondered if he knew I was riding around looking for stories. Paranoia. We passed their exit because he told me how the GPS was taking me out of the way and kept chatting about nothing. Then suddenly we all saw a car in front of us cut across all five lanes on the expressway and swerved in and out of the lane almost hitting the embankment. It was pretty scary. I hung back a bit because it happened again and from there we talked about how I’d seen some of that all night. We pulled up at their gate and they thanked me, woke their friend up and exited the vehicle. Gave them 5 stars.
The next request came from a couple. They were hanging at what appeared to be a questionable bar. I shouldn’t say questionable, I should say a bar with tons of youngsters-most of them were outside of the venue and clearly intoxicated. I pulled up closer to the curb and saw a young lady walk out and look around. I assumed she was the requestor and noted a guy across the street putting a leather jacket on. I phoned the requestor and when I saw the young lady answer the phone I knew it was her. I directed her to where I was parked and she and her accomplice walked over to the car. Shortly after the guy who was spotted across the street putting on his jacket walked up to my window. When I rolled it down he gave me an eye fluttering compliment and asked if we could exchange telephone numbers. Mind you all, he was attractive as all get out which was why I noticed him across the street putting on his jacket. I explained to him that I was working and told him that I would try to give him a ring when time permitted. By this time my passengers are in the back and ready to roll. I apologized to them for the hold up and they accepted saying it was ok. We dropped off the male in the party off first and then the young lady and I had a bit to chit chat. We talked about my suitor and then of course how long I’d been driving, if I was from Houston and how my night had been so far. I eventually dropped her off at home and gave her-you guessed it-5 stars. She was really sweet and I think she was sober.
Alas, we’ve arrived at the last call of the evening where I told a young lady it was ok to be a harlot. [Disclaimer: I didn’t actually tell her that it’s ok to do so, I merely asked her a question that led her to answer herself about doing/being so out loud. Everyone knows what they truly want to do and normally seek advice to prove to themselves that they in fact do…know that is. How ironic to disclaim that.] Back to it, this young lady was picked up at one of my favorite art bars in midtown. She was going back to the place of a guy who she’d admitted being in love with. This came soon after she explained that she had a boyfriend who she wasn’t in love with but were very good friends soulmates is how she described their relationship who was on the other side of town hanging with his brother. She told me how basically the boyfriend wouldn’t ask her where she’d been (she was toasted) as if she was tallying up her response beforehand. When I asked her why she thought he wouldn’t ask she responded and said that he just wouldn’t. That’s when I started asking the questions. The first one was why be with a guy she wasn’t in love with. The second was why not be with a guy she was. The third was what did she want. She responded to all of them in a nut shell and said that each of the guys knew about each other and that the guy she was in love with didn’t take life seriously as he didn’t have a car and a license. The soulmate was not a rebound and overall she wanted a bit of everything. I very lightly reminded her to be safe during and dropped her at the love shack. You already know I gave her 5 stars.
There tis. I’m thinking I’m going to start working on a post or two about the visitors from the UK, the interracial couples that were awkward and the woman who constantly asked if I was scared to be driving and how I should google taxi attacks and devise an escape plan. Yea….there is so much more to tell. Stay tuned!