You smell different when you’re awake

Fare-wise, this week was just OK. Twice, I had riders leave personal items that I followed up on and returned so that’s reasonably significant. Tuesday continues to be a parade of mundane. Doing a couple of trips on Thursday morning, coming back from work in Monroe, not only did I get a returning champion rider from last week; but also a long trip all the way to Uptown with an older woman who said I reminded her of her grandson. I had a hell of a time trying to find one of those farm-turned-wedding-venues in the middle-of-nowhere part of Monroe on Saturday night but at least the riders themselves were very understanding. People continue to love my pop-punk Pandora station, including my last ride on Saturday as we all belted out Lit’s “My Own Worst Enemy” like a bunch of brain-dead fools at 3 am. It really comes down to enjoying those little moments.

Triflers need not apply

Weeks like this past one are the reason I write this blog. Tuesday was simultaneously lousy without having actual dry periods. Normally what happens when I go online after working day treatment is I drive north from Monroe, pick up someone heading in the same direction, and my day proceeds like any other. This time, I spent almost the entire afternoon in Union County, and because I was one of the few drivers in the area, I would get called to riders 15 minutes away from my current location. On Thursday, I got slowed up significantly by a massive funeral procession going through Uptown. This might have been the highlight of my day if the very next ride didn’t have me driving 35 miles north to Salisbury through rush hour on I-85. It should come as no surprise that we got to be well-acquainted with one another on the hour-long ride as I learned that he had been through the type of facilities that I work at among other things.

Friday night will go down as a red-letter day as I gave a ride to people of legitimate fame. Specifically, I drove the band All That Remains who were in town for Carolina Rebellion from their hotel to dinner so that’s definitely a story I’ll be telling until my dying days. The road into the NC Music Factory area was absolute garbage that night so of course I had to go there twice, once for a pick-up and drop-off respectively. There was a very drunk girl that I drove on Saturday night who was very hands-y and not big on listening. I was not sad to see her go. But she was immediately followed by an agreeable fella who I turned on to Lindsey Stirling so it all balances out. I have a heavy work week coming up so expect a shorter entry next week.

Just look at this guy! Listen to him exist!

My Uber game was on point this week. Exceptional numbers all three days I was on the road. Tuesday was once again a hum-drum sort of day. Thursday proved to be much more interesting though. Coming home in the morning from the regular job, I picked up a gentleman who lived in a development in Waxhaw that was previously one large farm where the owner had his own private runway which was still in use by the wealthy homeowners in the area. In the early afternoon, I drove an older guy who had a lot of genuinely interesting stories to tell about his life as a tech consultant as well as funny quotes from baseball players. He also said he was the cousin of comedian Alli Breen so that was neat. Finally we come to the adventures of the weekend. In a stark contrast to the normal Saturday night drunkards, my second ride of the night was taking a family of four home including the two sleeping sons who had to be carried to the back seat. Beyond that, it was a pretty consistent night with hardly any downtime and plenty of surges.

I didn’t know I was an expression

This was a good week. I don’t think I had any especially long dry spells on any day I drove. Tuesday was a day treatment half-day without anything all that exceptional. My second trip on Thursday afternoon took me from Indian Trail to Fort Mill and from there, I went deeper into Rock Hill than I think I’ve ever been before. Thanks to the surges during rush hour, I managed to earn over $100 on a weekday afternoon. My first ride on Friday night was from Matthews to the southern side of Huntersville. I subsequently discovered that the construction work in that area of I-77 is so bad, it causes traffic jams at 11:30 pm. The strangest thing though is that the closest I got to Uptown the whole night was Plaza Midwood, never in the city proper. Saturday night was gangbusters with the southern half of the county surging for half of the night. It even opened well with a couple who had only moved to Charlotte recently and I got to share some of my recommendations with. The guy also asked me for feedback about his patterned shirt (I told him it looked like a Magic Eye puzzle). I also took a gentleman from one seedy strip club to an even seedier one. To close, I want to raise a metaphorical glass to all the awesome riders who offer to get something for their drivers when they ask to pull over to a convenience store. You make the journeys much more enjoyable.

You can make it not so easy

It was an interesting week. My hours at the main job increased so I didn’t do a whole lot of driving this week but I did manage to put some time in on the road. Rides were kind of sporadic on Wednesday but got a little interesting at the end when my last two trips were a German executive and the other took me to a house on the edges of the city with overgrowth and an unpaved driveway. The most interesting rider from Thursday was a talkative but friendly guy who was getting his weekend started a day early. One would think Easter Sunday would have been slow but I experienced just the opposite. I think it was the first time  I dropped someone off at the airport only to immediately pick someone else up. I guess Easter weekend combined with the end of spring break will do that.

Beep, beep. I’m a sheep.

I tried something a little different on the weekdays this time. On both Monday and Tuesday, I wasn’t on the road until about 3 and it resulted in less downtime between rides. But you didn’t come to hear about that stuff. You came for stories about the crazies and other wacky observations so let’s begin. A rider on Monday told me about a past driver who gave him grief for the kind of music he listened to. My personal policy is that they can listen to the stuff off of their device in my car all they like at a reasonable volume since they’re paying for the ride and I can just switch to my stuff after they leave. Half of Monday had me bopping around Concord which is always interesting since it’s relatively unfamiliar territory for me. Tuesday had less trips but they were longer. I split Friday into morning and afternoon sessions since I had plans that night and that had plenty of long trips.

Saturday night, however, deserves its own paragraph. I’m 90% certain that my second ride in the evening was a past rider because the man’s house had a very unique driveway that basically formed a very tight U in front. A pair of guys from Noda were so psyched that I let them smoke in the car that they tipped me a twenty. Coming down from Huntersville to Uptown, I saw the aftermath of a rear-ending in the middle of what was already a narrow, splitting on-ramp on 77 so my heart goes out to those folks. I had a driver-rider who did me a solid by walking a block away from the hot mess that is the Epicenter before requesting his ride. But the highlight of my night was far and above my 8:50 rider. We will call her Bea. From the moment I picked her up, I was Bea’s favorite person. She spent the majority of the ride telling me how much she adored me for picking her up and stopping at two convenience stores so she could buy cigarettes. On the second stop, she offered to get me a new tin of Altoids since I was running low. When the cashier told her they didn’t carry any , she came back and asked me to come in with her. So I decided to humor her, came inside, walked to the candy aisle, and found them in 5 seconds. As we waited in line to ring out, Bea locked arms with me and proceeded to continued doing so until we made it back to the car. Needless to say, I think I have a definitive champion for weirdest Uber passenger thus far.

Finally, to close out this post, it’s food blog time. At the end of the night, I decided I was going to try the Munchie Meal at Jack-in-the Box. The deal consists of one of four heartburn-inducing sandwiches, two tacos, a mix of regular and curly fries, and a small drink for $6 provided you get it in the middle of the night ($8 otherwise). To be fair, the volume of food is a good value for the price but none of the items impressed me. I was especially disappointed because the podcast Doughboys led me to believe that their tacos were supposed to be some sort of divine treat of the fast food world but I found mine to be too dry on the edges and too soggy in the middle. I guess I’ll stick to Steak and Shake for now.

I LIKE YOUR CEREAL!

Did you think I forgot, lovelies? Perish the thought. Beyond a rush job after the app gave me the wrong pick-up address, Tuesday wasn’t all that exceptional. Thursday saw me conquering a new town: Dallas, NC, just north of Gastonia. The journey to get there was about 20 minutes but the actual trip was twice that. I also had one of my wiper blades come loose while scooting through rush hour traffic on the highway but luckily the rain wasn’t heavy enough for it to be a significant issue. One of my first trips on Friday night took twice as long as expected as we waited for a train that easily felt like it was 1/2 mile long. Toward the end of the night, I took most of the women from a bachelorette party home who, in addition to standard drunken shenanigans, left half a sandwich in my backseat. Due to changes in my regular work schedule, I drove Sunday night instead of Saturday this week which actually proved more lucrative than Friday. A gentleman tipped me $20 on what was already a $26 trip so cheers to that guy. He was immediately followed by a drunken housewife and her companion who had to herd her to and from the car. It was definitely a noteworthy week.

If the world didn’t suck, we’d all fall off

This has been a mercurial week, to say the least. Tuesday was a borderline disaster since my phone was struggling to maintain a connection with the Uber server. I wasted two hours driving from the university area to Cornelius and back to Uptown without a single ride. But Thursday made up for it in literally three trips. Right after finishing a shift at day treatment, I took a rider from Monroe to Chesterfield, SC, a 40 minute trip through Trump country with the last mile taking me on a dirt road. Once I made my way back to Monroe, my next trip was from there to just north of I-85. Those two combined with a short 4-mile trip to Plaza Midwood and I surpassed my earnings for Tuesday in half the time. Friday kept me hopping including a trip from the airport to Mooresville. Beyond that, it was the usual assortment of people looking to party. I went out with friends Saturday night so I didn’t do much driving but my last ride that night is worthy of note because the person who requested the ride put the pick-up and destination in backwards. Luckily it wasn’t a significant distance and everyone made it home safe. Hopefully, next week proves better.

No Oil for Blood

I think this weekly posting schedule is working out pretty well for me. I’ll probably stick to it unless I have a truly spectacular weekday or something. Tuesday afternoon was remarkably successful given that I spent half of it at day treatment. I took a gentleman from Monroe to Waxhaw and three trips later, I was halfway up Brookshire Boulevard. Except for the hour that I wasted wrestling with my phone’s failure to connect with the Uber server, Thursday wasn’t particularly exceptional. Friday was lousy in terms of fares. I barely made $10 for every hour I was on the road. I also got a wrong number when I tried to get in contact with one of my riders who didn’t show, a truly bizarre happenstance. Saturday definitely compensated for it though. It was about 10 pm when I got to Uptown so I was getting surge pricing on at least half of my trips. Most of my riders were the typical clientele of drunken 20-somethings looking to keep the party going or simply going home. One of my last rides of the night though turned out to be a pair of local comedians and it was interesting to hear them talk about their friends and them working alongside household names like Chris Rock and Bruce Bruce.

If you don’t eat your meat, you can’t have any pudding

What a wild and crazy weekend it’s been. All of my driving this week has been in the past three days so I’ve elected to condense it down to a mega-post. Let’s begin.

Thursday: I bonded with my first rider of the afternoon over our struggles with the one-way streets of Uptown. I also spotted a car in the lane next to me in the University area filled with so much garbage it was legitimately obstructing the rear-view. I don’t understand how that is acceptable for some people.  I also crowned a new champion for longest ride in terms of duration which hopefully will not be toppled. I took a gentleman from Uptown to near the Arboretum in South Charlotte to the CVS in Piper Glen and finally to the airport for a total time of 94 minutes thanks to rush hour traffic.

Friday: In immediate contrast, one of my shortest: 1 minute, 39 seconds. After Friday, I’ve now decided to put more severe restrictions on allowing smoking in my car. My earlier policy allowed for it provided you had the window open. This works for most people during the day in the summertime. However, when it’s 40 degrees in the middle of the night and we’re flying down the highway, smokers want to be able to light up and be warm at the same time and become unable to follow my rule. Thus, from henceforth, groups don’t get to smoke anymore but single riders might because the dynamic between me and them is more direct. It was an incredibly busy night though with a total of 30 trips.

Saturday: The St. Patrick’s Day pub crawl was a boon to Uber drivers and I was no exception. At least, not completely. Between my 00’s era pop punk  and 70’s rock Pandora stations, I’ve been getting a lot of compliments about my music selection including several last night. I also got props for knowing the difference between Tommy Two-Tone’s “Jenny” and Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl.” I picked up a young woman whose boyfriend made a point to get a good look at my face before I drove off in case I tried to get fresh. A valid move I suppose even if it created an uneasy tension between the rider and myself. But back to my original point about being an “exception,” Saturday night kept me very busy with the majority of my trips being accepted before I had finished the last one but most of them happened far away from the action in Uptown with one of my pick-ups being all the way in Waxhaw. At the end of the night though, just as it started to snow, I witnessed a taxi get rear-ended. My heart goes out to you fella; that sucks royally. I’ll probably take it a little slower this coming week. My car could use the break.