There are those periods in your life that test your fortitude, where you learn what you are truly capable of. By no means am I drowning, but it’s definitely a week with its fair share of ups and downs. I got the privilege of going to the Ballantyne Hotel for a delivery so that was kind of neat. Last Friday, I got roped into a food delivery disguised as a regular trip for an Indian restaurant; luckily it worked out smoothly enough. This past Monday, I learned why to avoid roundabouts during rush hour. They snarled up pretty bad. This past Friday, I had an interesting episode wherein someone accidentally made three separate orders from a restaurant and then called said restaurant to consolidate them to one driver. Luckily, the other drivers were pretty amiable and we were able to work it out with a quick coin flip (I lost) and the restaurant offered us a soft drink to go for our troubles. I gave some members of a wedding reception in Monroe a surprise last night when they anticipated having to wait 20 minutes for a ride and I showed up in five. At the end of the day, we’re all just trying to do our best and that’s all that can really be asked of anyone.
I never know how to start these things so let’s not waste any more time on it. Just like most two-week periods, this one had its share of adventures. Last Friday took me to Salisbury once more. Luckily on the return trip, I managed to grab a couple from Concord looking to go into the city. When they asked me how I managed to stay calm in the midst of people who come to a complete stop on highway on-ramps, I quoted Bruce Banner’s infamous line, “That’s my secret, Cap. I’m always angry”. That same night, I learned the true potency of coffee from a Pilot gas station. Given that they cater towards truckers, it’s no wonder I barely felt tired all night after a medium cup of their regular brew. I hate to imagine what the extra-caffeinated stuff would do to me. This past Wednesday, I ended up helping a guy getting food supplies for his restaurant; luckily I had the trunk space in that case, I did not have the trunk space later that evening, however, for a man’s walker and it ended up having to ride in the backseat with him. The next day, I made a food delivery to the local department of Citizenship and Immigration Services which is run by Homeland Security which meant having to check in with the multiple guards in the front and waiting for the recipient to come to me. Last night, I had a couple who spoke Afrikaans for much of the ride which was interesting in so far as it is not a language one commonly hears in the U.S. compared to others. My work schedule is more consistent this week so my Uber hours should probably be reduced to their usual volume so expect an equal adjustment to my volume of stories.
Driving in the snow this past week, I’m pretty sure I saw my life flash before my eyes about three times. Let me tell you, it is not a film that benefits from repeat viewings. Twice last week, on two different nights, I made a delivery from McDonald’s to the same address which was weird. It didn’t help that for some bizarre reason, this specific McD’s will only give UberEats orders from the counter even if the lobby is otherwise closed. That Friday was very heavy on delivery orders, probably because a $5 off coupon had just been distributed. During that night, I had a would-be rider dash from my car before being nabbed by police for using a fake I.D. I had to be the source of calm for the guy who actually called the ride because he was freaking out the whole time about how this might affect his own legal record as well as his rider rating. On to the main event, this past snowy Wednesday proved to be a boon for sociopaths with a death wish like me who volunteered to drive in lieu of people too afraid to. I made over $200 that day, largely driving in the blue-collar northwest quadrant of the county. Finally, in a spur-of-the-moment decision that has proved fruitful, I’ve started listening to Jonathan Coulton and his contemporaries on Pandora much to my immense joy. That should do it for this entry so see you next time.
These have been slow weeks. It doesn’t help that I’ve been working the regular gig a lot which doesn’t present many opportunities to drive. I learned Krispy Kreme does UberEats deliveries when I transported a dozen donuts at 10pm. On New Year’s Eve, I transported two groups that knew each other back to back from Wingate University because I was the only person in the area at the time. Substantial surges definitely made that a profitable night and I even managed to get a reprieve at midnight to watch some of the fireworks. Last Wednesday was so slow, I managed to read most of a manga volume while waiting in line at the airport parking lot. Last night, I had a conversation with a rider who said he couldn’t shake the feeling that he always felt that Uber drivers were going out of their way to do him a favor. He asked for my thoughts and I told him that the fact drivers are making an active decision to make themselves available puts the agency in their hands and it is fundamentally a service being provided by a customer service worker. Later that night, I had a sobbing, drunken woman enter my car who, as it turns out, was not my rider. Luckily, the person I was actually there for managed to get me on the phone before I left the parking lot and the matter was resolved without incident. To my credit, the lot was empty so it didn’t feel necessary to confirm the name when they first got in. I think the cold weather kept everyone at home lately so hopefully the warming temperatures will turn this around.
I have no excuse. I was just lazy/distracted by my Batman video game. But I’m here now so let’s go over my adventures the past three weeks. On the last day of November, I went out into the boonies of Stanfield, east of I-485, for a drop-off. Some of those back-roads had some of the steepest hills I’ve ever seen on a road. Heaven forbid, they would be trapped if the roads got remotely icy. People continue to worry me by ordering delivery from Hooters including a gentleman whose name was a number (ex. Thirty). I tried Wu’s Cajun Seafood on Dec. 1. The food and service were both top-rate and would recommend it to others. The following night, I brought a group of college girls from Wingate University to the city proper, essentially paying for my commute to the city. I also make beaucoup bucks that night from everyone leaving the big college football game so that was cool too. A week later on Friday the 8th, I picked up a food order from an Indian restaurant in the middle of a corporate park at 8:30 pm. Why a place clearly intended to cater to business lunches was still open at that hour is beyond me. Demand was crazy last Sunday as I was in Pineville when I got summoned to pick someone up at the airport 20 minutes away. Finally, last night took me to Mooresville which is both a blessing and a curse as the trip there pays well but it also makes it difficult to migrate back home unless I outright clock out. I’ll try to do an entry next week since I’m working New Year’s Eve but if I don’t, then see you in 2018 readers.
It’s been quite an incredible couple of weeks so let’s get started. On the night of 11/13, I saw a car back out too quickly and hit another car. Luckily, no damage came to either but my rider was ready to memorize the plate if they tried to run away. I’ve been doing more airport arrivals lately which is proving to be a mixed bag since I waited there for about an hour on Tuesday the 14th. At least, I wasn’t burning gas. Thanksgiving Eve was enormously rewarding to the tune of 15 different trips after 11 pm. I took a gentleman to be reunited with his old high school sweetheart. I also picked up the husband to Jekyll and Hyde’s general manager who took a few glasses from the bar with him and was also one of the drunkest human beings I have ever encountered in my travels. Highlights include starting sentences and not finishing them but also tipping $20. Much later that night, I crammed 5 guys into my car, picking them up from a bar in a very run-down building on the edge of oblivion. On Friday, I had a maddening kerfuffle with pick-ups and drop-offs at the country club. Key players include the picture-perfect rich douche-bag you thought only existed in movies cancelling on me to my face, a girl who knew where we were going but didn’t want to get out of the car when we got there, and my savior rider who I spilled my guts to about this and confirmed my suspicions about what an asshole the first guy was. I also picked up a group of guys from Coyote Joe’s immediately after what sounded like an almost-fight from one guy accusing the another of making eyes at his girlfriend since that’s what they were talking about the whole time. In short, it was definitely a blog-worthy block of rides.
You there, boy! What year is it?! Oh, it’s still 2017. Right then, off with you. Yeah, it’s been a while; three weeks to be specific. It’s long enough to justify doing a list of highlights rather than a paragraph so let’s do that.
- On Halloween night, I got a pretty spectacular tip for going out into the boonies of Monroe for a pick-up to the tune of $20 (and this one didn’t try to cheat me the next morning either).
- I had a notable uptick in riders bringing a dog with them averaging one per week lately
- On 11/3, I couldn’t help but overhear my rider doing voice-to-text and listening to his side of what sounded like a very bitter divorce
- This past Tuesday consisted of exactly two trips. The first was from Stallings to the airport and the second was from the airport to Greenville, SC. I would like to point out that despite this great excursion, I still made it back with time to spare to catch an evening matinee with friends so go me.
- On Thursday, I learned about how they changed the surge system and how that can translate to me earning $12 on top of what would normally be a $3 trip.
- I had some entertaining drunks after last call on Friday. The lead guy of the group asked to connect his phone to my console and then later asked me why the tunes had stopped after his song had finished
- Saturday afternoon, I gave two rides to the same guy within an hour with a different rider in-between.
- Much later that night, I had to juggle driving and managing the emotional rapids of a very drunk woman who was on the precipice of jumping if she didn’t have her guy to talk her down.
- Finally, it’s food blog time. I tried Wild Wing Cafe in October’s last week. The food was decent but I felt like I was virtually ignored by the servers despite there being maybe 7 patrons in the whole place. I also tried Freddy’s Steakburgers which just felt like a bizzaro Steak n’ Shake. I have no plans to add either place to my regular rotation.
Hopefully, I’ll make my next post after Thanksgiving. See you then.
A new post after only a week? On my blog? It’s more likely than you think. At least more likely when I’m going to be out of town the following weekend. Drugs in one’s system was the theme for the two trips I had coming home from work Wednesday night. The first was a rowdy group of middle-aged drunks looking for a ride back to their hotel. The other was a gentleman who asked me to swing by the Circle K so he could get a Powerade to cleanse his system before an upcoming drug test the following day. On Friday night, I had three different people cancel on him after I had already arrived at their pick-up location. I really wonder about these people who would rather blow $5 than just call me back. I also found someone who asked the right question and was able to take an abandoned pack of cigarettes off my hands left by a past rider. Saturday night started with a surge-boosted double delivery from a Mexican restaurant. Later on, I had the unique experience of listening to four 20-something girls scream-singing/slurring Misery Business by Paramore. If you have not had the pleasure, it is best described as a beautiful chaos. Finally, I’m making a new policy for myself and that is no more food deliveries after last call. I hate waiting in the ridiculous lines but the capper was the shitty attitude the McDonald’s drive-thru employee gave me when I piked up the food. It is an indulgence I shall not miss.
Has it really been two weeks? It only felt like one. No matter, on with the show. As seems to be the pattern, the first week wasn’t super eventful until the weekend. I tried out a fast food chain that I’ve never heard of on Friday night called Culver’s that seems to specialized in high-quality beef and custards/ice cream. Personally, I didn’t hate it but I was by no means impressed. The next day, I did one of my rare airport pick-ups and gave some local tips to my riders, specifically that the Epicentre was for basic bitches and redirected them to Plaza Midwood. That night, someone put their work address in as the destination for a food delivery when they wanted it brought to their house. The kicker is that he was still on his way home at the time and I beat him there. Ain’t that some shit?! Later on, I made another food delivery from pick-up from Hooters. Who orders take-out from Hooters, you might be asking? A woman apparently. The next trip of note was this past Tuesday. The reason is because the person who named the streets in the neighborhood of the pick-up did not know when to let up with the puns. 90% of the streets had “clever” names like Memory Lane or Long Tall Alley. It was another night of expanding my culinary horizons when I decided to wait out the traffic on I-77 at Pinky’s Westside Grill. The atmosphere was a little out there, but the staff was friendly, and the food was pretty good. Thanks to the Panthers game and 5 of my 6 trips being over 20 minutes each, I made over $100 in 4 hours on Thursday. Finally last night found me in Fort Mill during the wee hours of the morning. Among my passengers was a very drunken gentleman who in his semi-coherent slurring told me he was on the local town council and how he appreciated what I was doing for him given that he had received a DWI in the past. I have nothing to add to that. I just felt it ought to be shared.
Well, bang a gong, it’s time for more tales of the Uber King of the Queen City. I hope you’ve all been well in the interim. I’ve been doing my best to keep back the rising tide of my own responsibilities but that aside, onto the riders. Deliveries continue to be a pain in my ass as I tire of driving 15 minutes only to wait another 10 in a McDonald’s drive-thru that only has three people working to deliver someone 5 minutes away for a paltry $3.74. First world problems, I guess. Most of my first week was fairly unremarkable but things got slightly more interesting on Sunday when I picked up someone in rural Monroe and stayed in rural territory all the way to Waxhaw with few lights besides my own and the occasional other car. Things picked up this past week starting with Wednesday and taking someone from Monroe to the Steele Creek neighborhood of Charlotte. In an amplified echo to the day I drove to Columbia, I did exactly two trips on Friday. One was a minimum fare taking someone from home to work. The other was taking a man who sold RV’s for a living from Indian Trail to Williamsboro, 3 hours and 20 minutes away. For those who do not know Williamsboro, it is about 30 miles north of Durham, near the northern state line. Needless to say, I made bank that night. Saturday was almost exclusively long trips beginning with a mother who had reason to believe her teenage son was using illicit substances recklessly which made for an engaging 40 minute trip. Finally, last night was a gentleman who seemed to be a genuinely good guy but was very drunk and very aware of it. I got the impression from our conversation that he had served in the military and wasn’t handling it in the most healthy way. The trip itself wasn’t all that exceptional; a standard take-me-to-the-convenience-store-and-back ride. He was kind enough to grab me something but on top of that, he insisted on tipping me the max amount for saving him from the DUI he would have had otherwise. As it turns out, the app does in fact set a limit which I discovered when he asked me to punch it in. Turns out the line for that specific trip is set at $22. Whatever he’s doing, I hope he is doing well.