I have multiple conversations in my Uber on a daily basis and I can tell you that since COVID-19 emerged as the Virus-of-the-Year, it’s been the Number One topic of conversation. And at times, it’s not one that I have welcomed.
In the beginning, I had to shut down dumb-ass conspiracy theories about how the virus was created in a lab and then accidently, or intentionally escaped. I learned how to debunk conspiracy theories pretty fast because I honestly didn’t have time for that bullshit. Before this pandemic I would have just listened and trust me, I’d heard some doozies in the car prior to this year. But now conspiracy theories kill people and I can’t be silent with that.
Then as restrictions began, there came the inevitable push-back mostly based on people having their heads up their asses and not giving a shit about their fellow human beings. Again, I couldn’t stay silent on that one so I politely yet firmly explained what the restrictions were and why they were implemented.
Then there are the conversations about rioting and defunding the police. I explain what defunding the police means here in a nutshell: it’s about allocating more resources for teams of mental health professionals and social workers to be sent out on calls they are much-better trained to handle than the police. And as for the rioting, I just remind people our San Antonio Spurs have won five NBA Championships and not one car was overturned and set on fire in downtown San Antonio. Yes, a few windows got smashed here back in May but it turns out that was done by out-of-town right-wing scumbags who got run out of town by our sheriff.
I will freely admit here I am now getting ticked off by people who spout bullshit who don’t live here in San Antonio, or who only live in their tiny little bubble in the city and aren’t out on the streets every day like I am. I’m not an expert by any means but I don’t get my news from screaming conspiracy theorists on YouTube or right-wing blond bimbos and himbos on Fox News. And I certainly don’t believe we’re living in the End Times because if God decides to end this damn world we live in, there isn’t anything we can do about it. But I will say right here and now, the vast majority of people in this world are just trying to get through the day without taking some asshole’s head off because that’s still considered assault-and-battery. Most people are just trying to make a living, get dinner on the table, and have time to hug their kids. They don’t have time to run around and act like fools or spout off like raging lunatics.
Before COVID, most of the conversations in my Uber were about the weather, how the Spurs were doing, local shenanigans and history for the tourists, the latest celebrity gossip, and anything other than conspiracy head-up-the-ass bullshit. I miss that a lot and hope someday COVID will be the topic we don’t want to bring up ever again. I want to have conversations with people like hearing a lady tell me the story of how her sister briefly dated Elvis Pressley in the 1950’s but wouldn’t marry him because he was a little wild. I want to hear conversations with my passengers about shenanigans that rival any reality-tv show (those were always a hoot to listen to on Saturday night after a little alcohol had flowed). And I want to work a Halloween night where I can tell local ghost stories to college kids.
I think my ability to debunk conspiracy-theory bullshit is from the fact that from day one of this pandemic I knew I would be at risk if I kept driving. You can’t socially distance inside of a vehicle. And other jobs aren’t that easy to come by and employers have more than enough people to choose from to fill a position so don’t run that ‘just get another job’ bullshit line by me or anyone else. Luckily so far I’ve only had one rider give me flack about wearing a mask and although he was drunk, I would have canceled the ride in a heartbeat. Then this asshole had the fucking nerve to ask me out on a date, and I turned him down cold and silently cursed his balls to shrivel up and die.
Maybe someday this pandemic will be far back in the rearview mirror and just a story we tell kids someday. But I will tell the story of how most people just tried to survive not getting killed by assholes. I will tell the story of how a pandemic brings out the best in people, and brings out the worst.
In the meantime, I’ll keep having the conversations in my car. And hope for the best. And yes, wish a little ball-shriveling on those who truly deserve it.