Puppies in my Uber

17 Apr

Uber. Uber drivers. People who drive around and take you places.

This year has been the year of the Uber, for me. (For no one else. Just me.)

Before Uber, I used to spend my time walking from place to place. My feet ached. My Forever 21 heeled booties lost their heels, and so my heels were coarse and cracked. My poor skin was exposed to the elements – rain, snow, sleet, beverages being thrown from buildings, bird poop, tree limbs, spit, spittle (very different from spit), flying hunks of pepperoni, deranged birds etc. etc.

(Ah, city life.)

Now, with Uber, I can zip from one place to another without much effort. I just hop on my phone, indicate my location, and wait for an unknown driver to say my name out a window. (If he/she says “Sophia,” I refuse to enter the vehicle because A.) NO, Sophie is NOT “short” for Sophia; they have the same number of letters, and B.) He may genuinely have the wrong person, in which case, I don’t want to accidentally steal someone’s ride.)

Back in the day, I never used to take cabs because they were “so expensive.” My youth was full of money-saving tricks. For instance, I used to not buy pizza at 3am because it seemed too expensive (and because I wasn’t awake at that hour). I was loaded. I could afford shampoo. My hair was so clean.

In my old age, I’ve started to choose convenience over responsibility. Why walk when you can…pay?

This rationale works for older people who have money and who can say things like, “I spent forty years walking around on paper towels that I used as shoes. I’m taking a damn car!” (Older people can also get away with lying because today’s youths have forgotten about the pre-digital age, where people wore actual shoes instead of just hovering above the ground with bare feet.)

But for a college student who equates Uber to teleportation savior, it is a very fiscally dangerous concept. You’d think that “Uber” was my local grocer, or my ice cream dealer…that is how often I relinquish my money to its services.

Last week, I found myself in several Ubers.

On Tuesday, my friends and I went to visit a friend who was undergoing a minor procedure. As always, I typed the end location – which, this time, was the hospital – into Uber and awaited my vehicle.

When *Bob* arrived, I climbed into the vehicle and was immediately offered a water bottle and hand sanitizer.

Did I look incredibly parched while waiting on the sidewalk? Could Bob see that my lips were dry? Could he tell that I had pizza under my fingernails and was he afraid that I would stain his 2005 Honda Pilot?

Thanks for the incredibly boring car perks, Bob.

Were I an Uber driver, I would offer my riders any and all combinations of the following perks:

  1. Puppies
  2. Un-caged butterflies (preferably monarchs because they’re inspirational)
  3. Veuve Clicquot
  4. A neon sign that says, “Veuve Clicquot is not to be consumed by passengers, but is reserved for the driver to be consumed AFTER completing all driving duties. PAWS OFF. THAT GOES FOR BOTH PUPPIES AND HUMANS.”
  5. (Not communal ones. That is grotesque.)
  6. A Beyoncé concert
  7. A blow drying bar
  8. A Hillary Clinton-led book club
  9. Suede couches with seat belts. This isn’t an archaic vehicle, people.
  10. A small Zen garden for those who get a little too heated in Hillary’s book club.
  11. The day’s edition of the New York Times.
  12. A brick oven. (Please someone make sure the puppies stay away.)
  13. A little Italian man who throws dough into the air and lets people pet his twisty mustache
  14. A talking crab. I’ve been looking for one for a while, so hopefully by the time I’m an Uber-registered driver, I will have found one.
  15. A small pool with a small yet aesthetically pleasing water slide. No eyesores in this car!
  16. A chocolate waterfall
  17. An inspirational quote written in glow-in–the-dark pen. Something like, “Not all who wander are lost,” or “If it looks like mold, it probably is mold.” (I envision the inspirational butterflies flying around the quote.)

(Better make my car an Uber XL, just in case.)

After presenting me with lame perks, Bob started doing that thing where you slowly integrate yourself into someone else’s conversation.

“Oh,” he said, “you’re going to the hospital.”

“Yes. We’re visiting a friend,” I replied.

Now, can anyone tell me where the fatal error was in my response?

Yes, you there, in the back!

That’s right. I revealed too much information to Bob. I should have just said “yes” and ended the conversation. But nooo, I had to yap away about “visiting a friend.”

As my friends and I discussed our intentions at the hospital, Bob came up with several additional questions.

“Well, since you ladies are laughing back there, it must not be that big of an emergency.”

Astute.

“Are your friend’s parents coming? Do they need directions? Let me tell you, I-95 is crazy. Maybe they need a chauffer. You know, someone to help them out. Do they have the Uber app?”

“I’m sure it’s okay. Not a huge deal,” we said.

“Well, I used to be an EMT.”

As most conversation encroachers do, Bob had kindly provided us with his justification for encroaching on our conversation. Did he think we’d unleash all of our anxieties and bask in the glow of his experience?

“It sounds like *lead poisoning* to me,” Bob announced, unprovoked.

(*All real ailments and proposed ailments have been changed to protect the privacy of the ailed – not a word, but let’s go with it.)

“Yeah, I’ve seen a lot of cases. Lotssss of lead. Lotssss of poisoning. You might want to tell your friend to stay away from lead. It’s not good for her. Mechanical pencils seem fun and all, but those little bastards will kill you! You. Cannot. Trust. Anyone.”

BOB!

Not only had Bob incorrectly guessed what was plaguing our friend, but he’d also managed to scare us into thinking she had used a pencil too aggressively and had somehow contracted a serious ailment.

He then ran a red light, so as to rush us to the lead victim.

So now we were tense and in violation of the law.

“Water? Sanitizer?” he offered us, on our way out.

If I ever work for Uber, and if I ever go into advertising, here is what I will pitch as an advertising slogan:

“Why walk when you can ride! For the low price of $15, you can hydrate, clean yourself, and be falsely diagnosed. Uber your way to a cleaner, more stressful life.”

Sorry, gotta run. My Uber just called.

“NO, FOR THE LAST TIME, IT IS NOT ‘SOPHIA.’”

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