What It’s Like to Bond With Your Uber Driver
EXT: East Village, 2018. 8:30 p.m.
In car with Julio. He’s very upbeat. Has fuzzy dice hanging from mirror.
So, The Wayland, huh? Hot date?
I actually messaged this guy I sort of know on Facebook because girls are supposed to be comfortable asking guys out now, but I still feel really traditionalist about the heterosexual dating dynamic. Although, The Wing makes me feel sort of guilty about that.
Yeah, I had to chase my girlfriend around for 3 months before she decided to date me. I bet those ladies who make all the rules are married anyway.
You know what, Julio, I think you’re probably right.
I know these things. But sometimes you just gotta grab life by the balls!
I like where your head's at. But now I feel weird for asking him out.
When Taylor Swift sang, “boys only want love when it’s torture” that's facts. My girl is crazy and I like it like that.
Wait, you like Taylor? I kinda do, too. But ONLY HER MUSIC. I can't stop listening to "Dress" and "Delicate."
Nah, I only fuck with “Blank Space.” But, you know, Jillian, everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.
You find that on BrainyQuotes.com?
No, I am just wise beyond my years.
This is an underrated occurrence that needs to be addressed: heart-to-hearts with Uber drivers. I’ve found they’ve happened to me in 80% of rides in LA (disproportionately so in New York City, but that’s to be expected). Uber drivers are so much more than your friendly transportation aide. They’re your therapists, philosophers, educators, and friends. If only for the moment. Or 20 minutes. Or the hour. Again, depending on what overcrowded hellscape you choose to call home.
There is something to be said for having a conversation with a complete stranger that makes all of your problems seem more universal (and somehow less acute) than they do when talking to a friend. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of times when I set the tone for the ride where I, like many others, stare at my phone like a zombie and make sure the driver knows I will be in a self-induced coma for the remainder of the trip. But there are also those other times when I’m feeling particularly chipper or relaxed, and I let the conversation roll out like a red carpet.
There are many things to glean in a casual setting such as this. During one ride, I learned about how many African American women are getting BBW’s (Brazilian Butt Lifts) from my driver, Tiffany. She told me that a myriad of her friends and frenemies travel to the Dominican Republic to get work done to emulate the carefully concocted wax figure Kardashian bodies. We spoke about the unfair demands on women to look thique but with Barbie proportions, and about Khloe’s evolution from hurt to hot (I’M SORRY, but I’m not).
The Dominican Republic surfaced again when my driver Michael told me he was a filmmaker who only distributed there, in his home region. We talked about the difficulties he faced making films that would be released in the U.S. I’ve never been to the DR, but I’m thinking since it’s a recurring topic, there might just be something there for me. I’m not interested in a new ass, but there are many other body parts to consider. (Totally rambling here, but how annoying is it when girls have nothing to complain about, so they highlight that their middle toe is longer than their big toe as if that’s rare or somehow unattractive to the male gaze).
I’ve had conversations about my drivers’ divorces. About Trump. Traffic. Dating. Restaurants. Music. We basically cover all newspaper subcategories and then some. At times, they share their hopes and dreams. Sometimes, I share mine. It's all very Mr. Rogers but, somehow realistic. While this all may seem standard in terms of conversational fodder, there's a distinct whimsicality between driver and passenger that feels different now because of the age we live in.
It’s rare to have a random conversation with a stranger. It hardly happens at bars anymore and it definitely doesn’t happen on the subway. Parties don’t count, because they’re not really strangers; someone you know probably knows them. We’re all increasingly timid to speak in person, but we’ll blast the hell out of someone on Twitter. Social interactions have become more cowardly. Boring. Uch.
So, a small panacea: give a random compliment because you like someone's shoes! Say something out loud to someone who doesn’t know who you are. Be fucking random! Make someone who has resting bitch face stop resting. We need more of this arbitrary exchange. It helps keeps life interesting and REAL. Especially in a time when it is possible for Grimes and Elon Musk to conceive hybrid alien babies.
Okay, now I’ll go back to listening to the “Reputation” album again, because it’s a) underrated and b) I sadly relate to Taylor Swift songs these days.