What It's Like to Live in A World Full of Uber Drivers

I've never really had any horrible, never again, what the hell was that cab rides in Boston. For the most part, my cab rides have been pretty simple.

I get in cab, cab driver takes me to destination, I pay cab driver. I'm probably just lucky. I can even understand when a driver is talking, without breaks, for the entire ride, and will probably continue talking for the rest of the day.

I imagine those cabbies never stop talking. They must eat, sleep, and work with that Bluetooth on every single day and become unbelievably distraught if it's ever removed by accident. 

 Courtesy of wikipedia.org

Courtesy of wikipedia.org

If I had to drive a car all day, I would want some sort of activity to pass the time. For all I know they're  working a second job as a customer support representative to make some extra bucks.

Maybe they've just been reunited with their mother who they haven't spoken with in the last seventeen years. Maybe they're just tired of driving a cab, all the time, for not a lot of money.

To my advantage, I've noticed that I've become more cabbie-like in my own driving around the city. I don't bomb down Storrow Drive and weave through lanes as if me or my Nissan Sentra are invincible. Although I suspect that the Sentra may have some supernatural properties that Nissan did not intend.

For instance, my tire light has been broken since about before the car was even made which to me is extra impressive, if not downright noteworthy. Instead, I find myself following the flow of traffic, no longer scared of small spaces or quick turns, able to sneak past a few cars here, a few cars there.  

In fact, the only aspect of cabbing that I dislike is trying to find one. It's far easier to hail an Uber on my phone from my apartment than it is to walk down a street and wait for a cab. When I'm out and with people, we all hail our Uber rides at our leisure or at the same time.

Each person in turn is neatly picked up from our hangout and brought promptly back to their own domicile, probably in a tidy and comfortable vehicle lacking any disruptive pungency that might spoil the end of the night. 

Not only that, but most of the times I've taken an Uber, and I've taken quite a few; the driver has left me with an overwhelming feeling of inspiration, good cheer, and hope for our human race. One man was a laboratory scientist from Africa, who after many years of hard work just wanted to be his own boss and not have anyone tell him what to do.

He told us about what he enjoyed most about working in scientific type things. He also spoke about the joy of simply driving around town, meeting people, talking, going home when he wanted to.

It's these types of Uber pep talks that drive me so close to trying it out myself. But then again, I could never stay calm on the road for more than ten minutes. I would suffer more mental breakdowns in one day than these drivers probably have in a lifetime.

There was the man that worked three jobs all his life and had just paid off his college loans for both of his children. There was the woman whose two children were in school and although she worked full time she also drove an Uber to make some extra cash.

Another driver told me all about his passion for organic groceries. Then there was the one who quit his old cabbie job after trying it out for a little bit to find that he liked it a lot more than working for someone else.

What I notice is the willingness to share. Whatever they feel like. Many so far have given me a quick, bite-sized synopsis of their life. A peek. A window. Just a passing glance of the highlights.

They speak about the things they are proud of, the things they've accomplished, the things they want to accomplish. When someone shares, it feels good. Here is this stranger who I do not know, in all likelihood will never see again, and they are actually speaking to me. 

Maybe a cabbie has been doing it too long. It's a job. They don't decide their schedule, they show up when they're told, and they work for a long, long time. Longer than I work, by far. They may not be very hopeful.

They might just be there to support their family and be done with it. Customer service so far during rides has really been optional. And there are plenty of cabbies who are friendly, provide a good experience, and smile when you thank them for returning you safely back to where you want to be.

I also suspect that there are probably a few not so great things about driving a car all day, even if it's an Uber.

It's probably still very difficult to make a full-time living. But, I can't complain. For now it feels like some cool thing that the government is allowing for a little bit but probably won't be around forever. So for now I'm going to enjoy every smooth Uber ride I can get.

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