Road Journals #1

Day 1: Welcome To Uber, n00b

Went online and hung out near John Wayne. Within five minutes my phone started buzzing. I accepted the ride and was surprised to discover that I was being directed to the North side of the airport. I picked up my fare at a private building, likely a jet charter. It turns out that the destination was in Beverly Hills, 45 miles North. I asked her if the temperature was acceptable and offered her a charger for her phone. She had an iPhone, and I hadn't picked up a thunderbolt cable yet. She had her own, which I connected, and she thanked me. The rest of the trip was silent.

After dropping her off, I was still 50 miles away from where I wanted to drive, so I opted to run in LA. I was, after all, there. I ran non-stop fares until dark, grabbed some dinner, and headed home.

Day 6: Just Wait

The call was initially innocuous enough. I went to the location, picked up three riders, and asked for the drop off location. Uber riders can opt to put one in or just tell the driver. Most put it in, but some don't. It never indicates anything. This was different, though. The guy to my right gave me directions. I'm fine with that. What was weird was that they were trying to figure out where their postal box was.

We eventually got there. They checked it out, then it was off to the next stop. Then a third, fourth, and fifth. Then sixth was a grocery store, and it became clear that I was the vehicle component of their errands run. This goes on for four hours.

Four. Hours.

Needless to say, Uber ended the ride for me and asked me to drop them off somewhere safe. I did.

Day 7: Cool, dude.

Late on a Wednesday night, I'm in Dana Point after dropping off a rider from Laguna, so I hang out down at the Denny's parking lot (you peeps seriously need to finish construction) for a ride. I don't have to wait long and head over to San Clemente. The rider has had a "fun" night. His friend asks me to take him home then bring him back. Fine. As soon as we leave, he wants to smoke in the car, to which I say no. He wants to roll the windows down. Fine. He adjusts the front seat all the way back and deeply reclined. Fine. Then he compliments me on my music (I play the Real Jazz channel on SiriusXM).

He talks really quietly. I can barely hear him. He asks me if I know this or that artist. I've never heard of them. He also directs me to stop in three different places. This isn't a repeat of the four hour epic, but by the time we get to a gas station so he can buy ice cream (he repeatedly asks if I want any, which I decline), his girlfriend has texted me.

She had been watching the trip on the app and seeing that he was stopping a different places. She tells me it's not my fault and thanks me, but that I can just leave him there and she'll cancel the trip. I'm about to tell her that I'll just take him back, but she's already cancelled. I don't so much feel bad for him, but I did feel bad for her, so I took him back. It wasn't that far.