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Showing posts from March, 2018

Worst Kept Bay Area Secrets

Trip length: 18 minutes. Trip distance: 4.4 miles.
Fare: $16.78  Year: 2018. Song of the trip: “Rain Street” by The Pogues

So I told you that last story to tell you this one. Normally on Saint Paddy's Day, I turn on my phone to a playlist of Irish music that I like (The Pogues, Black-47, The Chieftains, Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphys, etc.) and I'm stuck ferrying people who are so blisteringly drunk they have trouble finding the door handle to get out of the car. I figured I'd get at least one good story to tell you, but this wasn't the one I was expecting. There were loads of drunks, but they weren't the most entertaining fare I had on St. Drunkard's Day.

One of the most common things that happens when people get in the car is they want to hear a story. "Tell me about the craziest thing that's ever happened in here." "Have you ever been threatened?" "Has someone thrown up in your car?" "Has anyone tried to have sex back h…

"Stanford certainly isn't cheap, so why should I be?"

Trip length: 13 minutes. Trip distance: 3.8 miles. Fare: $11.36  Year: 2015. Song of the trip: “Roxanne” by The Police
It's a sleepy Friday night but a fare earlier in the night had brought me up to Stanford University and I haven't been able to get away from the area since. The Stanford kids are generally decent enough riders, but sometimes things can get a little dicey.
What I'm trying to do right now, though, is figure out what the hell is going on.
About an hour ago, I brought the car to a stop in front of one of the dorms, and the phone said I was waiting for someone named Kyle. But a Kyle was not forthcoming. Instead, a brunette girl sauntered out, carrying a bag with her. Lovely, no denying, dressed in a rather slinky black dress, the classic little black dress that every girl keeps in her closet to make an impression, or so I'm told. No one's ever used a little black dress on me before. I can't tell if that means I'm too easy to manipulate, not wo…

When The Levee Breaks

Trip length: 18 minutes. Trip distance: 3.4  miles. Fare: $11.14. Year: 2015.  Song of the trip: “Happy When It Rains” by The Jesus & Mary Chain

So this is a flashback trip, and it's a short little one, but it's worth telling, I think. While the several year long drought in California ended in 2017, in 2016, we had one day of insane, unbelievable rain in January that felt like it was going to overwhelm the South Bay, and it very nearly did.

Because the greater San Jose area had gone without rain for so long, many of the drains hadn't been flushed out, and leaves and detritus had been accumulating in them for years. Sure sure, they were supposed to be kept up, but when it seems like the rain will never come again, people tend to slip or forget.

All of that resulted in a single night in January where any Uber driver who'd never seen rain was tested, and those of us who grew up in rain got to see exactly how bad it was for an entire generation of drivers who had never d…

The Tyranny Of Seatbelts

Trip length: 38 minutes. Trip distance: 27  miles. Fare: $48.90. (split/UberPool) Year: 2018.  Song of the trip: “Battle Without Honor Or Humanity” by Tomoyasu Hotei

Being in San Francisco around bar close is, I imagine, a lot what the evacuation of a war zone is like. Everyone is scrambling to find their way out of town, many people are nervous and aimless, and there's a general sense of impending disaster on every face you see.
As a rule, I try to avoid driving in San Francisco for any length of time, but tonight a chain of events had ended up in me dropping off a guy at 1:45 a.m. at his home in downtown SF, and short of just turning the app off and heading home, there was no chance I was getting out of here without a fare.
This conundrum was that any fare I was going to get was going to pay well, but it was also going to be high risk. See, the city of San Francisco swells during work days and on the weekends, but empties out because no one can actually afford to live there.  
The…