As we stand on the precipice of a new year, this job continues to surprise me. This entry will cover Thursday and Friday nights. I went out Thursday, expecting to benefit from a post-game surge after the Belk Bowl and nothing happened. I still got plenty of rides though, including a ride to the Amtrak station for a literal midnight train journey and a young woman hanging out with her “bear” friend. I didn’t drive as much on Friday night but I didn’t need to because I ended up driving two gentlemen who it seemed had been drinking all day from Weddington to Cornelius. I’m opting to enjoy New Year’s Eve rather than spend it driving so I will see you in 2017.
This post-Christmas nonsense is really messing with my steez. Yesterday I was in the cell phone parking lot of the airport for a full hour watching cars come and go without getting buzzed. At least I brought my 3DS to play my new game so my time wasn’t wasted. I still managed to pick up some rides driving home though. Today was pretty lousy too. I somehow drove from Uptown to Cornelius and then all the way back home during rush hour without getting a ride. At least my road snacks didn’t cost me anything thanks to my QT gift card. Thanks fam.
Happy Winter Solstice everybody. Gather round your warm glowing screens and I’ll regale you with tales of my adventures. I had a woman who was easily old enough to be a grandmother basically egging me on to put the pedal to the floor and dart and weave my way through midday traffic in order to get her to a dialysis clinic on time. FYI: I made it with time to spare. I also made a few drop-offs at the airport. The approach to the check-in desks was still far from pre-Thanksgiving levels, but the actual doors themselves were clogged with over-sentimental chuckle-heads itching to get run over as they embraced. Before I sign-off, I want to give a big shout-out to my buddies at QuikTrip for not only honoring the advertised discount on their specialty milkshake on other flavors when the specialty one had run out, but also giving me a voucher for a free hot beverage on my next visit. That is how you do customer service, people.
Saturday night was kind of a homogeneous blur for me. Midway through the night, I picked up two good ol’ boys, one of whom sounded a lot like Boomhauer from King of the Hill, and both of whom engaged in a lot of “locker room talk.” The kind of folk that motivate me to write this blog. Later on, I ended up brightening someone else’s rough night by telling them about my experiences with those guys so it was certainly a force for good, overall. On a more personal end, as far as my convenience store preferences go, I’ve begun cheating on QuipTrip with 7-11 since they’re currently having a BOGO deal on their private label iced teas. See you again later this week.
It finally happened. I spun the “00” on the roulette wheel of driving for Uber. A drunk person threw up in my backseat. On a Tuesday night. At 6 pm. I did the best clean-up I could realistically do but I’m concerned if the smell will linger. But aside from that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln? Actually it was a really profitable day. I only had 8 riders today but most of them were very long trips. Half of them were longer than thirty minutes. The standout would easily be the 45-minute journey to the west side of Gastonia. I attempted to have a more unique Christmas station on Pandora by having one based on “The Season’s Upon Us” by Dropkick Murphys but it just produced weak punk-rock versions of the same tired carols so it didn’t last. Looks like I’m sticking with New Wave.
Okay, so I’ve been slacking. Not only did I do some driving Thursday and not write about it but also I’m only just now talking about Saturday. The reason for the first is largely because I didn’t really plan to drive that day. I set aside that day to finish my Christmas shopping at Concord Mills. On the drive home, I decided to play a game I sometimes play with myself wherein I go online while driving towards home with a blase attitude about getting any ride requests. What I often forget is that I tend to be really successful when I do this. On the upside, I made up for Wednesday’s deficit. One of the riders that day asked me for my saddest Uber story and I have one but I think I’ll save it for a future flashback post so this one doesn’t run long. Saturday proved to be especially lucrative since Uptown was surging seemingly all night between Christmas parties and no one wanting to be walking in the cold December air. On a personal note, I’ve taped an index card to my center console to advertise this blog o’mine and a few people are taking notice of it. So to the young woman who was the first to say something on Thursday, this is a shout-out to you.
Today was utter garbage. I didn’t even break $50. I still had some interesting encounters though. On West Blvd., there is apparently a jeweler that specializes in gold teeth. Also, when I was tasked with picking up a young man from middle school, the teacher guiding the pick-up traffic commented about how a different person picks up that particular child each day. Finally, the civil engineer who designed the industrial park on IBM drive needs to be drawn and quartered and I will personally lead the lynch mob of raging Uber drivers to make that happen. At the risk of this post being used as legal evidence against me, I will not go into the specifics about the “unorthodox” methods I had to use in order to get to where the driver was. Just know that my level of single-mindedness when pursuing a goal is rivaled only by the Terminator. Maybe next week will be better.
Saturday night got surreal much too early. I made another one of my “Monkey” trips to the same distant southwest corner of Charlotte. It was in that area that I got my lead story for the night. At 10:02 p.m., I got a call to go to a dive bar literally called The Trap. The woman I picked up there had clearly had far too many to think or speak straight. Before taking her home, she asked me to take her to the grocery store a block away. No problem, except she took a good 25 minutes, half of which was spent arguing (I think) with the cashier, and then was unable to find me on her own in a parking lot populated by 10 cars. She also told me the same story twice about how a tornado had recently come through the area and damaged her roof. I wish her well but it was much too early for that nonsense.
During my first hour on the road last night, I was passed by a pickup truck decked out in Christmas lights. Normally, this might be my most outrageous encounter of the evening, but this was not the case. 21 trips in an eight-hour span can have that effect. Construction on and around Church St. has gotten ridiculous so I had to park half-a-block away from the given pick-up location and then give directions over the phone to a Russian couple who were A) three sheets to the wind and B) recent transplants to Charlotte who don’t know local landmarks like the local minor league baseball park two blocks away from them that’s the size of, well, a baseball park. The story does not end there. For the unabridged entirety of the 8 minute 20 second ride, the woman was telling me about this bizarre argument she had with a black man who insisted she was not white because she was Russian and harassing me to validate her stance in the argument before she would get out of my backseat. The other big moment was the bullet I narrowly dodged when I pulled up to a viciously arguing couple standing at the designated pick-up location. The woman entered my car looking for an easy way out but it became quickly apparent that she was not the one who summoned me. Luckily the couple who did showed up in the nick-of-time and I was able to remove myself from that quagmire before it was too late. As a parting note, I’m getting real sick of getting new ride calls mid way through dropping off people in different locations on the same trip. Having to ignore them really screws with my averages.
It’s been an awkward week for Ubering so far. This post will encompass Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. I spent the majority of Monday doing personal errands but decided to put in a couple of hours online. All I got was three minimum-length trips for a total of $9 in my pocket. Tuesday’s journeys were reduced by my putting in some hours at day treatment. The only rider of interest was a young woman I picked up from a crisis pregnancy center in Monroe that I made special care not to turn or break too hard while driving. Wednesday proved to be much more interesting. I passed by a legitimate junkyard of cars on the northern edge of Charlotte. The sight of that many cars all bunched together is more awe-inspiring than one might think. I also had a cross-county trip going from Cornelius to Matthews. In addition, I dropped off one employee off at a Buffalo Wild Wings only to immediately take another one home. I finally have normal hours again at work this month so expect a reduced posting schedule after this week.