The following chapter of Uber Chronicles is rated Facebook MA, it contains adult language and is intended for mature audiences, reader discretion advised...
Uber Chronicles: "Perspective"...
I really don't chat away with my riders unless they want to engage me. I am perfectly happy driving in silence but if a rider wants to chat many times it helps to pass the time. I did over 12 hours yesterday and had some, "stellar", encounters but one stands out as an opportunity for "perspective". (I hear the late Peter O'Toole's lovely voice from Ratatouille in my head when ever I hear or see the word perspective.)
I could write out a whole conversation on the Dancer who was lamenting not getting married to her ex half Irish half Filipino boyfriend who she referred to as "small dick", as in, "I wonder who that small dick is inside now". I could write about Joe, drunk off his ass, yelling at me, "you're a fucking asshole!” because I waited for him and called him to no avail so I canceled his trip but he stumbled out before I had fully pulled away. (Good thing I had been repeating my new mantra... no road rage... no road rage... or drunk Joe might have seen my Irish side... nothing small about that...) No the ride that stands out is Maria...
Me: sorry were you around back? ( Uber nav and Waze have a habit of putting the "ball" in alleys behind some addresses. Most of the time people are in the front.)
Maria: yes, most drivers go back there. (plenty of clueless drivers.)
Me: yeah that's why I sent you a text.
Maria: is traffic bad
Me: no it's been pretty good.
Maria: do you live in Torrance?
Me: no in Downey.
Maria: oh! Downey? Do you know the rehabilitation place, Rancho?
(Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center. Not drug rehab.)
Me: I have driven by.
Maria: how long does it take to get there? A couple hours?
Me: no depends on traffic. Not that far.
(Maria takes a call. Speaking something other than English, not Spanish. While she is on the phone I Waze Home to see how long a drive to Downey only 30 minutes it's late about 11 PM.)
Maria: sorry I am going to pick up my mother at Kaiser. (I thought she said mother but it's her mother in law.) do you mind picking her up and then coming back? She is with my husband he's paralyzed.( at first the word paralyzed doesn't really sink in I am processing what I will be doing.) if you can wait for her then come back?
Me: sure no problem. I checked, in light traffic it's only 30 minutes to Downey. Where are you from?
Maria: Brazil. My husband's Mother just flew in yesterday. She is with my husband and I will take over so if you could bring her back. So you know, she doesn't speak any English.
Me: sure no problem. Did your husband have an accident?
Maria: he is a motorcycle technician. So he rides motorcycles a lot. He works in Culver City. (Ten plus miles from Torrance.) but he rides his bicycle there and back a couple times a week. (For those of you not familiar with the geography here that's a long ass ride in LA traffic and without going on a whole tangent the roads here are shit! Not just bad they are shit! And the signage sucks the lighting sucks, the drivers suck, to quote Dead Pool, " It's a shit show. Like Yakov Smirnoff opening for The Spin Doctors at the Iowa State Fair shit show”).
He hit a hole. He's paralyzed. But he's showing some improvement. He's getting some feeling in his back and in his chest. We are hoping that he will be able to use his arms.
(WTF. He's paralyzed from the neck down.) we are going to transfer him to San Pedro and then Downey so I am glad to know it's not that far away.
(Maria is telling me this in a very calm and collected fashion. I drop her off and pick up her mother in law. I got nothing. Driving two women changing guard on their watch for a husband and a son who just days ago was more active then most of us will ever be.
I drive the Mother home in silence. When we arrive I say, “have a good night”. She says, “have a good night”, speaking some English, good for her she just got here, she's trying.
I drive off into the night, my next stop, three drunk guys at what I call “Benny Ha Ha's”, three huge drunk guys around hot grills and knives, talk about a shit show and here's a note: really drunk people trying to act sober slam the shit out of your car doors.
But I can't stop thinking about Maria and her Mother in Law. What do I have to be mad about? Not getting any auditions lately? Drunk Joe? That ticket I got that's gonna cost over 500 bucks just for crossing a solid white line? No, I just got served up some cold hard... “Perspective”.