If you are reading this, you survived Florence. Congratulations. I did too, want to hear about it? Uber did a major overhaul on their driver app. I like the new sound cues but I’m not fond of the fact they took away Pandora. As a result, I’ve been listening to audio-books. Garrison Keillor is possibly the whitest human being alive but David Sedaris is fun. Last Wednesday, I was called upon to deliver a bunch of flowers from one florist to another and on my way witnessed a car that had flipped over on the highway. The following day might have been more productive if my alternator had not died in the middle of a trip. Luckily, the rider was cool about it and we were in a populated area. Trying to compensate for lost time on Friday found me in the Davidson area for most of the night trying to work around the fact that the main highway exit I needed to be at was closed for construction all night. Saturday, I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation between the two women in my backseat wherein one of them was confessing her desire to become a mother, not in a take-the-next-step-with-my-partner way but in a way that includes the words “turkey baster.” Strangely, I’m not sure if this even cracks the top 10 of wackiest encounters in my car. This past Friday when the hurricane was beginning to make its presence known, I had a group call to warn me about a tree being down a block from their home and then tip me $5 for my time when they flaked. Finally last night was devoted to driving through the rain doing long trips around Gastonia fueled heavily by long pickup fees. Hopefully, we’ll still have functional roads by next week. Stay gold.
The schedule of things has been pretty chaotic these past couple weeks and so it’s all kind of a blur. Let’s see if I can sort it out. I would like to open with a public service announcement to dispel the rumors that Jews don’t tip. To that end, I present my counterexample of my pizza delivery to the local temple last Wednesday where I was tipped 128%. Post-football game pickups on Friday night were a delight with people wanting to get picked up two blocks from the stadium and asking me to find vague landmarks in the dark. I also had a guy who wanted to go to Black Finn in the Epicentre but accidentally selected the restaurant of the same name in Alabama. On Saturday, I went to a local anime con and was greatly disappointed so I tried to drive away my sorrows and ended up having a 20 minute conversation with a rider about Overwatch that was way more fun than that damn con. This past Monday, I had two airport pickups that took me to Belmont which is not a common occurrence much less twice on the same day. On Wednesday night, I accompanied my rider into a convenience store because he was treating me and it was there at an Exxon quik-e-mart in the middle of the night that a former student recognized me from my days as a tutor. Existence is fucking weird. Come back next time for the random happenstances I find myself in.
I am convinced the Russians are fucking with Uber’s systems. There has to be a reason for the frequency at which McDonalds’ are not having their delivery orders come through. It’s frustrating wasting 10-15 minutes waiting to find out you’re not getting paid for your time. I also have to reboot the location finder sometimes just to get up-to-date directions but maybe the upcoming app update may fix this. We can only dream.
Last Monday, I listened to an employee’s advice and got in the regular line at Moe’s to pick up my delivery order rather than the designated pick-up register and got my food much sooner. My last ride Thursday night left his whisky bottle behind which I did not realize until my first Friday ride found it. The following Sunday, I delivered some McD’s in the middle of the night to a nursing home. There wasn’t any hoops to jump through or anything; I just walked in and found the room. However, last night proved to be the main event. On the positive side, I had a pleasant cultural exchange with a Turkish immigrant going home after a late night of work as well as a pop-punk jam session with a lovely young miss. However, they pale in comparison to my last-call ride where I was basically a Jerry Springer episode on wheels with two drunken 20-something girls screaming at each other for most of the 30 minute trip while a third struggled to keep them from ripping each other’s hair out. In short, it was the kind of trip that inspires this blog. Stay gold.
Blah, blah, Book of Mormon was great. Moving on to the juicy bits. Last Friday, I exchanged ideas with a rider about fun things to do in Charlotte wherein she sold me on giving TopGolf a try and I told her about House of Purge. I got shafted this past Wednesday night because a food delivery order called to have the delivery address changed which wouldn’t be a problem except the amount I earn is set the moment the order is put in and the new address was much farther than the one the app had. Still, they did tip. On the subject of earnings, my timing was perfect last night as I made serious change from surges bouncing around Uptown as the bars were closing. Finally, I discovered what I believe to be my ideal Pandora station for rainy weather and that is the one dedicated to jazz guitar. Not much to talk about this week so I will see you again in the next entry.
I’m seeing The Book of Mormon this week, hence the title, but you don’t want to hear about that. You want to hear about the weirdos in my backseat. I took two girls to a concert at the PNC Pavilion last Monday where the traffic was so bad one of them left the car to pee in the woods and came back and found us with no trouble at all. Last Friday, I took a drag performer to work which led to some fun conversations on what ended up being a 45-minute trip. I also made a food delivery that night to a hotel in possibly the most sketchy location it could be on a highway access road. Furthermore, I had a rider cancel on me because of trouble with the police. I wish I had more to add to that story but all I can say is there was about 3 minutes between when they ordered me and when I arrived and the police were there when I showed up. Jumping to this past Friday, I had my time wasted by an Indian restaurant who left me waiting by the register for a half hour before realizing they never sent the order to the kitchen. Finally, last night, half my trips were deliveries and half of those didn’t answer the door or their phones when I arrived with their food. I’m convinced people are drunkenly ordering food and then passing out. Either way, I’m free to do with the food as I please after I wait long enough with no answer so I’m good for lunches this week. Until next time, stay gold.
July 4th week turned out to have a drop in requests rather than more of them. Go figure. Last Thursday night, I picked up a gentleman that, based on some subtle nuances in how he spoke and the flow of our conversation, I believe was on the higher functioning end of the autism spectrum but I also believe he tipped me because I didn’t treat him any differently after I got this idea in my head. On Friday, I picked up a guy who worked in construction and he was determined to have me use the pickup/dropoff area outside of his destination that he had a hand in making. Also that night I had a food delivery debacle. I won’t call out the restaurant out of professional courtesy but I’m probably going to be a bit snippy if I ever return. What happened was I went there to pick up the food, saw a table in the dining area with various pick-up orders all bagged up and marked with the names and list of contents, found the one matching my manifest, grabbed it, and went on my merry way. As it turns out, that was not the full order but I put it to you, dear reader: why would you put half an order in the pick-up area? At least the recipient didn’t give me any major grief for it but it’s still enormously irritating. The next day I had a rider who had Uber stories that beat some of mine. She opened with asking me about the quality standards for Uber cars as she had a past driver whose car was crumpled up in the front. She also mentioned another driver who had to have his wife riding with him so he could pick up female passengers. I never realized I was such a paragon of virtue among Charlotte drivers. This past Wednesday, I chatted with a guy who was comparing Uber rates in Charlotte to those in LA as he had been there in the past as a witness on Judge Judy. Finally, last night I had to deal with the outer loop of highway surrounding downtown being completely blocked off by emergency vehicles while I had riders so that was certainly a treat. All and all, it was a pretty compelling session this time. Stay gold.
Well things have gotten more interesting than previous weeks so let’s get to it. Last Monday I took someone from the airport to Asheville so I got to have a lot of time with my thoughts driving back through the mountains. At least the girl at the Waffle House I had dinner at liked my shirt. The following Friday proved unexpectedly profitable as many of the people who had their flights cancelled the previous night were looking to check in to their new flights all at the same time, creating surged all over the city. I also narrowly avoided being caught up in relationship drama between a young couple who both clearly a. had a few drinks already and b. had a fight earlier in the evening. Luckily, he compromised with her by the trip’s end so all’s well within my domain. Furthermore, I made a delivery from a food truck (is that ironic?) aptly named the Garbage Truck because they specialized in the kind of greasy, starchy, bad-for-you food that one craves when they’re 5 beers in so they clearly know their market. In short, that Friday marks the first time I put in so many hours that the app cut me off for my health. This more recent Monday I took a father and preteen son from Monroe to the airport, the latter of which was a good kid but very talkative. On Wednesday, a guy failed to answer his door or the phone to receive his five sandwiches from McDonald’s so after multiple attempts, they became my five sandwiches from McDonald’s. On the subject on that particular restaurant, some of their locations need to get better about posting their available hours because I have been sent to pick up food from closed McDonalds’ on multiple occasions. Anyway, stay gold everybody.
Either I’m becoming jaded or the people of Charlotte are getting boring because there isn’t much to report this time. The list of restaurants that utilize UberEats seems to expand in strange and new ways such as when I delivered a custom pint of ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s last week. I also had back-to-back deliveries from an Indian place in SW Charlotte that Friday night. My regular job worked me pretty heavy this past week so there wasn’t much opportunity for driving. Let’s hope the next two weeks prove more compelling.
Another two weeks came and went so it’s time for another entry in the chronicles of the Uber King of the Queen City. I shared a genuine human connection with a CATS bus driver last Monday as we agonized over the landslide of problems life tends to hit you with. God bless post-concert surges and the $17 they can add onto what would normally be a $4 trip last Wednesday night. That same night I delivered some McD’s to a blind woman which I guess is something of minor note. I made the night of my last ride on Friday by playing my show-tunes station while they were in the car. Last Sunday, I experienced a weird bit of serendipity when I picked up a two-meal order from McD’s only for the person who ordered to reveal that they were in Connecticut and cancelling, leaving me with some free food. Upon review, it appears all of the things of significant interest happened in the first week so I will finish this entry here and bid all of my readers a fond farewell.
This period was more interesting than last time if nothing else. On Tuesday night May 1, a 20-year-old woman fell out of a party bus on Tryon Rd. when the latches on the emergency exit window failed and was immediately run over. I learned of this fifteen minutes after it happened when I gave a ride home to a group of people who were also on that bus and were still reeling from the shock, fishing for answers as to what had just happened. Sorry to open on a downer like that but it seemed ridiculous to bury the lead. Last Friday, my last three trips were deliveries from three different McDonald’s. In similar food news, I tried the new Shake Shack and find the food to be very good but not enough to match the upscale prices they charge. I learned this past Thursday that the local bar The Brass Tap also does Uber Eats which is not something I nor the woman tending the bar anticipated but she was nice enough to give him a Coke while I waited so props to her. I had a repeat rider last night who I recalled because of the out-of-the-way location for the pick-up compounded by the fact we had to go back to get the keys he forgot last time. Finally, my “last call” trip last night was a group of people from Coyote Joe’s, one of whom had clearly had too many. Fortunately, someone else in the group had the foresight to steal a bucket so my interior remained clean. Hooray for proactive thinking. On a more personal note, that Arrogant Worms Pandora station I was moaning about last time as morphed into my new go-to since I started thumbing-up songs from comedic musicals and I’ve been discovering what I’ve been missing from the likes of Hamilton and The Book of Mormon as my blog title would indicate. See you next time.