My Forty-Ninth Trip Around the Sun – Day One

Today is the beginning of my forty-ninth trip around the sun (or my birthday to be more precise). I like the ‘trip around the sun’ way of saying birthday better. I am looking back and looking forward today and here are my thoughts on this:

Nine years ago when I turned forty, I told myself I wasn’t doing so bad with my life. That may sound simple, but what I didn’t know at that time was how much this would mean to me. It was the first crack in a wall of silence around my thoughts and feelings. And yes, my life did crash down around me and I’m still picking up the pieces, but I don’t regret breaking that silence. Because the biggest thing I got out of it was no one is perfect, we all make mistakes, and we do the best we can with what we have to work with. And as my late father would say, sometimes we’re handed a bucket of shit that we have to carry despite the stench.

Seven years ago, I was making the decision to leave my last call-center job due to the enormous physical pain I was in. I knew my bosses at that place would not have helped me if I had come to them so I started making my preparations to leave. Yes, I left there with nothing lined up but again, no regrets because I survived it.

Five years ago, I was starting to go into what I call the storage unit in my mind, the place where my most painful thoughts, feelings, and memories were. In the months that followed, I seriously thought I was going to truly crack up but again, I survived it and came out stronger.

Three years ago, the streets were silent and empty as a pandemic raged here and around the world. It was the year where I think we all learned there is no such thing as a sure thing, and there never was. So many people lost loved ones to this damned virus, and we were all changed forever.

Now what I want to do in the coming year is learn how to write through anxiety and stress. Looking back, I know where I’ve made mistakes and I know why I think and feel the way I do. Despite that, I still struggle to write when I’m feeling stressed and anxious about something. And I’m not going to apologize for not going into detail here about what I’m worried about because I’m dealing with it.

I will admit here I’ve always been envious of writers I’ve known who managed to keep writing when their personal lives were going nuts. I know the reason I wasn’t able to do this in the past was that I felt like people would have landed on me hard for wanting to block out shit for a while and do something for myself. Now of course I know that was a huge load of bullshit that wasn’t real and if someone is dumb enough to come at me now, I’d just look at them like the total idiot they are.

Many years ago, a colleague and friend gave me a piece of advice in one word:


Sometimes I forget to do this so in the coming year, I’m going to remind myself of this whenever I can. Sooner or later, if you do that often enough, it sinks in. Second, I want to tell myself something my late mother was fond of saying via the title of a song she loved: “One Day at a Time” by Cristy Lane. We can only take things one day at a time and deal with tomorrow when it comes.

Most of all, no one has all the answers even if they say they do or act like they do. I think it’s more important than ever to call people out like this on their bullshit then move on and not try and pull their head out of their ass. I’m more than willing to help someone but in the end, a person, such as myself, has to do the work and finish the job.

On this day, my birthday, the start of my forty-ninth trip around the sun, I will tell myself I will get through this day and the days ahead like I did before. As my late father used to say, if you wake up on this side of the dirt you’re doing good.

So I’m going to proofread this then copy and paste it into a blog entry here and hit the ‘publish’ button (then go take a nap because I need to do a full-run on the road this afternoon and evening).

Conversations From the Road – Weekly Wrap-Up

This past week I blogged about the following:

Uber Tales – Working for an Algorithm, Edition

Over the last six years, I’ve worked for an algorithm. Prior to that, I worked for humans for seventeen years (give or take). And I’ll take the algorithm over the humans because as one of my passengers said to me recently when we got to talking about human vs. algorithms: with the algorithm it’s nothing personal.

Over the last six years or so since I’ve done gig work as it’s called, I’ve read a fair number of articles about working for an algorithm vs. working for humans. In my definitely not-so-humble opinion, most of these articles weren’t written by people with the level of experience I have working for both humans and algorithms. So, with that being said, I’ll talk about working for an algorithm vs. working for humans and yes, I will point out both the pros and cons of each.

First, are algorithms biased or flawed? Hell yes because they’re designed and programmed by humans. Anyone expecting perfection from an algorithm is an idiot, so this argument is bullshit in my opinion. Because to me, if an algorithm can be programmed with biases, it can also be programmed without those biases and go strictly by the data it’s fed. In my experience, algorithms mostly go by data and honestly, I don’t see how they factor in my age and gender for example. I’ve busted my ass to have the stats I have and in corporate America, that didn’t always translate into success.

Second, do algorithms change? All the time and sometimes I can see it and sometimes it’s subtle I can’t. Is there anything I can do about it? No, and that’s because computer programming and algorithms are way above my pay grade so I won’t claim any knowledge or expertise on how they work or anything like that (unlike some people on this planet unfortunately).

For me, the algorithm just wants me to do my job. And my job as an Uber driver isn’t that hard to be honest. I drive safely, get my passengers where they need to go, and be nice to them. I also do reserve rides and I go online when the app tells me to, get to my pickup early, wait patiently, and get my passengers where they need to go. The more I do this, the more opportunities I get. Also, I don’t turn down every other ride or cancel every other ride. I’m online to do a job and if I don’t want to do it, then I need to go offline. One big problem I’ve seen with some people is they want to dictate the schedule and the work and that’s not how it works at all. When you work for wages as my daddy once told me, you do what the boss tells you to.

How about the money, you may ask. There has been speculation that the algorithm adjusts rates in many ways, but I have no knowledge of this at all as again, that kind of thing is way above my pay grade. Also, there has been speculation of disparities in rates in cities and yes, even among drivers. Again, way above my pay grade so no speculation on that from me here. But I will say this: there were pay  disparities were in corporate America, and I knew that for certain. Those disparities are why employers erroneously tell their employees not to discuss pay rates with each other. Trust me, it pissed me off back in my corporate chicken-shit salad days to find out someone with less experience and tenure got paid more than I did simply because the company chose to hire them at a higher pay rate than me.

Now about equal pay for equal work: is there such a thing as equal work? By this I mean what if you have someone who meets or exceeds set metrics for their job, who shows a commitment to quality work, and who shows up on time and doesn’t create extra work and messes for other people to clean up? Shouldn’t they be compensated accordingly? Is it fair to pay them the exact same wage as someone who doesn’t really do the job well and at times makes things difficult for everyone else? I worked with people who did the bare minimum and as long as they didn’t cause too much trouble or act like an asshole too often, I left them alone. But for the most part, that’s not the case.

I’m not saying everyone who gets canned or de-activated from an app is a slacker or has an attitude problem. Apps and algorithms are flawed because of the humans that design and program them. In the event something goes wrong, there are humans behind the app you can reach out to. I will admit I’ve had very few issues with the apps I’ve worked for, and they’ve all been resolved fairly and in my favor. Back in my corporate days, that wasn’t always the case.

For me, the best thing I like about working for the algorithm is the fact it’s not riding my ass every five minutes like some humans I worked for. It’s not petty or stupid like some of the humans I worked for. I like the fact that unless I take on a reserve ride, the algorithm doesn’t care when I work or how long I work. So, if I’m just not feeling it, I can log off and go home. Now I know not all jobs are like mine here but trust me, I don’t need to be told when to work or how long. I’m an adult and yes, I can manage my time.

Finally, the financial hardships I’ve had with this job are due to the nature of the business and it’s not just gig-work this happens in. A lot of jobs are ebb and flow, and you just have to ride those tides out as best as you can. But if anyone thinks things are perfectly stable, they obviously didn’t live though 2020, or if they did, they’re in a serious case of denial.

In the end if you ask me what I prefer, I prefer the algorithm because it lets me do my job without having to deal with the whims, politics, and the mental and emotional hemorrhoids of some humans.

The Best Dating App Questions

I’m currently not a dating app user and last posted on a dating app over ten years ago. I quickly realized they weren’t for me but I know many people use them and this morning I came up with what I think might be the best question to put on a dating app:

How do you handle your date and or significant other talking to other people in a social setting like at an event or a party, especially when they’re talking with someone of the opposite gender?

This question came to me because last night I picked up a couple from the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo (I’m an Uber driver here in San Antonio) and yes, they were drunk (which they admitted to me) but as the old saying goes, alcohol brings out the truth. With these two, it made me want to message the young lady (she had just turned twenty-one and the guy said he was a millennial so I’m thinking there was a bit of an age difference here) and tell her to dump this sorry loser’s ass. Why? Because of the way he practically interrogated her because she talked to this guy and girl they were seated next to. The loser-jerk kept telling her the guy was hitting on her and so on. The young lady said something very telling in reply to this loser jerk in that she was conflict-adverse and just trying to be nice.

There’s a quote from the author Margaret Attwood (she wrote ‘The Handmaid’s Tale): “Men are afraid women will reject them. Women are afraid men will kill them.”

And before I go any further here I want to say this:

I’m not saying all men are insensitive assholes, and I’m not going to address women who are insecure and jealous because that’s not the topic of conversation here so if you want to come at me with these bullshit arguments, I’m not going to tolerate that bullshit at all.

Now, back to the situation last night:

Another thing that really bothered me about this couple was how he kept telling her not to do things, like laugh too much or just talk about anything he didn’t want to talk about. Very controlling and domineering, acting like he knew better and that she was just being drunk and stupid. I will say most drunk people these days are borderline jerks because a lot of shitty behavior is exposed like this. And I know controlling and domineering behavior is rooted in deeply-buried insecurity and emotional issues, so I think a second question for any potential dating app or relationships in general is this:

Have you worked on your emotional issues and shit?

Because another thing I want to say when people are being irrational and insecure is work on your own shit!

A good number of people in this world have what I would call borderline-shit social skills and can’t read a room very well. Most people can’t really interpret social cues nearly as well as they think they can and because of that, people feel like they’re walking on eggshells, especially women. Because I was wondering how many women who are called ‘flirty’ are that way in order to not be accused of being a bitch if they don’t want to talk to someone, especially a man? Quite a few, I bet. I bet a lot of women subconsciously are hyper-vigilant around men because of bad experiences. It’s a damned if you, damned if you don’t kind of thing and that is complete and total fucking bullshit. No one should feel like they have to be a certain way or be hyper-vigilant around people just because they’ve had to deal with so many insecure assholes in their past (and present).

Now some naysayers have said social media has eroded people’s in-person social skills to the crap we’re dealing with now and I’m calling bullshit on that. People’s social skills were just as fucked up before the advent of social media and the internet because I remember life before the internet quite well. Online you can create a persona and craft your responses very carefully if you choose to or let your guard down completely and be good or bad.

As the great author Maya Angelou once said: “When people show you what they’re like, believe them.”

So, for me, if someone shows me they’re an insecure douche-canoe, I’m not going to write that off to alcohol or anything else. It’s going to be a neon-sign warning that I’m going to heed. And if some moron wants to come at me and say my standards are too high and I’ll end up all alone then good for me.

If dating apps allowed profanity in questions (which I’m not sure if they do or not) I’d put this piece into one question:

Have you worked on your emotional shit and if so, do you know how not to act like an insecure douche-canoe asshole in public or private?

A Dream Deferred and Recovered

WARNING: My writing can be sarcastic, profane, irreverent, wise-cracking, and somewhat serious, sometimes all in the same paragraph.

Last week I started off the New Year with a grand plan to start blogging regularly. I’ve been trying to become a regular steady blogger for well over a decade and every single time my efforts ground to a halt. And yes, I’ve repeatedly asked myself why, but I’ve never found the answer I’ve been looking for. Hopefully, I’ve found it now in two things that have been at the forefront of my mind since my restart ground to a halt.

The first thing that’s been on a repeat loop in my mind is how much I’ve been told in the past that I can’t do this or that. I’ve heard the word ‘no’ more than I’ve ever heard the word ‘yes’ in my life and any ‘yes’ wasn’t followed by a lot of encouragement and support. I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few years working through this and it seems I’ve got a little more work to do. I had to dig in and see how this related to my decade-plus desire to become a writer and blogger.

The answer to this question of why I’ve never fully pursued my writing and blogging had an answer I sure as heck didn’t anticipate at all. It came from a very interesting source that has taken me a few days to figure out and put into words here. It’s where the title of this blog entry comes from with a story starts back over thirty years ago.

Growing up I read everything I could get my hands on- newspapers, magazines, books, the backs of cereal boxes. My parents, God bless them, never restricted me in what I could read (or watch or listen to, either) and because of that I lived with words around me twenty-four-seven. And yes, it’s one of the reasons I began writing. In high school, I began to formulate a dream of being a journalist-muckraking commentator like the late great Molly Ivins. I wanted to be a kick-ass writer who told the truth and had fun doing it. I never told anyone I wanted to do this because I knew what I would be told in return, “No.” I knew I would get some bullshit song-and-dance about how I didn’t have what it took or that I wasn’t tough enough to take the shit in return. Because of that, I let my grades slack off pretty badly in high school (I graduated with a low C average) and didn’t do a single thing to apply for college at all.

Luckily, my parents let me have some gap years, living at home working part-time gigs while writing. By the time I was twenty, I began to formulate a plan of getting a job and going to community college part-time to get my basic coursework out of the way then transferring to a four-year college as an English or Journalism major. Again, I didn’t tell anyone about this but for a different reason.

When I was twenty, my dad had his first heart attack followed by a series of health issues that began my caregiving years as I call them. Then when I was twenty-one and my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, I put this plan aside completely. But my parents refused to let me give up on my writing and I shifted to an attempt at a fiction-writing career because I figured I could do that without a college degree and part-time while continuing my caregiving responsibilities. And because my parents and I took way too much shit for my writing aspirations, I’ve held back more often than not.

In the early 2000’s after my mother died, blogging emerged on the internet. For the first time writers had a way to get their writing out into the world without battering at the gates of traditional print publishers (books, newspapers, magazines). Bloggers began to get book deals and make money just from writing and posting directly to the internet. I wanted in on that so badly but until just this past week, I didn’t really understand why. It was because a part of me realized this internet-blogging thing was a way of making my dreams of being a journalist-muckraking commentator come true in addition to continuing to write fiction and other things.

I didn’t just defer my writing dreams in order to devote myself to being a full-time caregiver. I deferred those writing dreams because of two things:

I didn’t want to confront people who would tell me I couldn’t do what I wanted to even though they had NOT done what I’d done and were talking of their asses. Because when I gently tried to push back, I got a shit-ton of butt-hurt feelings in return. And therefore, I found it a bit easier to just shut up and not say anything to anyone.

Second, I have been told, literally to my face, that I should just shut up and get over my shit. I’ve been told to just let it go and not talk about anything of substance or meaning, especially my thoughts and feelings. I’ve been told that when I talk about my feelings and my emotional recovery that I’m nothing but an attention-seeking martyr.

I deferred my dreams more often than not for other people who had no right to that sacrifice of mine at all. So, I’m going to say this now: this isn’t about them. It’s about me and what I want to do with my life.

I love writing every day even during the times it drives me nuts and has me cussing up a blue streak. I love writing even when it makes me angry and hurt at the same time. I love writing even when I’m constantly writing and rewriting and deleting and starting over multiple times like I’ve done with this piece. Maybe this sounds like insanity to some readers, but writers are a breed unto themselves. And yes, I have used writing as therapy and will continue to do so. Because like a lot of writers, it’s either been write or go crazy.

So, what can you expect from this blog?

Something every damn day for starters. And in the next week or so, daily doubles as I’ll call them: the single daily piece and another multi-part piece (I’ve got plenty of ideas on tap for those) in addition to other things I want to do going forward. I’ve always been afraid for some dumb-ass reason about putting a lot of content out in the world but the writers who are successful today on the internet put the content out there. And if anyone has an issue with this, please come and tell me and try to be creative about it. Yes, that was sarcasm because as I was telling a passenger of mine last night (my paying gig is as an Uber driver) that I feel like I’ve pretty much heard it all and am just listening to variations on a theme now.

On a final note I will say this:

A dream deferred will always try to find a way come true.

Uber Tales: Never a Dull Day, Edition

I still haven’t had a completely wacked-out Uber driving experience but in the last couple of days I’ve had a few quirks in the driving Matrix here.

First off:

Last night I was taking this lady home from the airport, and she lived in a high enough-dollar subdivision that had a guard at the gate. She was a nice lady, really friendly and a good tipper. Now when I was coming back out of the neighborhood the guard is standing by the guard shack and he waves at me to stop. So, I stop and he comes up to my car and he says he loves my haircut. Okay, I’m thinking that’s an interesting compliment and say thanks to be polite. Then I tell him I cut it myself and he says he’s a barber (though maybe not the most successful barber if he’s working as a security guard on the night shift, but to each their own). He then goes on and on about how he’d love to cut my hair and would be willing to do it for free. He says he’s cut ladies hair as short as mine and in fact, offered to cut mine into a flattop. I keep politely declining him and trying to get him to stop talking. Now I’ve had hair stylists compliment me on my hair all my life and gush about how they love my hair is really awesome according to them (it’s thick and wavy and when back when I had it monstrously-long it was a major pain the ass to maintain so that’s why I keep so short now). Finally, just before I was about to flat-out tell him I needed to get back to work, he let me go.

But jeez, Universe, why can’t I get the attention of someone who doesn’t come off as a total borderline-perv loser (he was an older white-haired dude who did give off a slightly pervy vibe)? Why can’t I attract, even for just a few minutes, a Keanu Reeves or George Clooney type?

Then earlier in my day yesterday I get what I thought would be a nice lady but a lady whose dumb-ass arguments I had to demolish one by one. First off she asks me how I feel about President Biden’s administration hiring a bunch of new IRS agents because they’re going to go after little peons like me. I told her that was a bunch of whack (politely) and said it was to go after the big tax cheats (which it is). Then she talked about gas prices and how the President sets them and how they went up because he stopped fracking. I immediately schooled her on the greed of the oil business and how we don’t need to frack for oil. Then she talked about the evils of labor unions until I set her straight there and told her how labor unions ended child labor and brought about protections for workers. Then just as we were turning in to her hotel she says the country is going downhill because we got away from God. I let that one slide because her God and my God are two different entities. I also didn’t tell her how she’d probably shit bricks if she walked into the grocery store nearby and saw women in full chadors and veils and African women in their very colorful and beautiful dresses. Because the side of town I live on is a mix of rich and poor, and at times my lily-white ass is in the minority, and I love that. But to buy in to those dumb-ass arguments because Fox News says so- not in my car.

Then early Monday morning (around five a.m.) I head to a pickup with a slight case of dread. The location tends to mess with the GPS so I’m not entirely sure sometimes where my pickup is in this area. Well, the pickup was outside the sleazy strip bar next to some apartments. And my pickup was waiting at the end of the parking lot for me- a single guy who seemed reasonably sober. So, I pick him up and it’s not a long ride back to his drop off (a hotel downtown). He tells me his buddies left him at this strip club and I told him that sucked. Then he says something about picking up a ‘scoundrel’ like him. He wasn’t Han Solo in any way, shape, or form so I said NOTHING to that. Instead, I focused on turning up my ‘don’t fuck with me’ vibe, which must have worked because he clammed up and didn’t say jack till we got to his hotel and he thanked me for the ride (and tipped me well like my right-wing nut lady and the lady who lived in the neighborhood with the guard-letch).

I don’t like strip-club pickups because I had one guy hit on me so bad he made me an indecent proposal (which he immediately apologized for after I called him out on it with a simple, “Excuse me?”) and others where the guys were drunk and pissed off because they didn’t get a blow job from one of the strippers. I have so much respect for women who work in strip clubs because of all the shit they take. But these days us ladies seem to take so much damn shit (even from other ladies) and I think we’ve had enough. I was talking to one of my fellow woman-drivers and she was telling me how she told off one of the other drivers at the airport waiting lot for being an asshole to her (he hit on her and she turned him down and he got all pissy about it so she chewed him out in front of all his fellow-guy drivers- I would have paid good money to see that).

So, there’s never a dull day on the road and the tips are very good.

Uber Tales –  Married Conversations, Edition

In five years of doing this gig, I’ve had plenty of married couples in the car. And yes, I can gauge the temperature of the relationship by what is said, or not said, or how it’s said, or what they do (or don’t do).

Have I had any couples that were in, shall we say, a frosty mood?

One comes to mind: It was late one night and I pick up this couple (lady and dude) with their dog. They’re not going too far but they’ve been drinking so I’m keeping them out of the clink. She starts in on him about this friend of his who, according to her, is a jerk. She really didn’t like this guy and from what she was saying, I think she was right in feeling like she did. Hubby really wasn’t defending his choice of friend too well and when we got to their house she got out of the car and just walked up to the house without looking back or waiting him. All I could think of was that he was probably thinking about shacking up with the dog in the doghouse because that’s where it felt like she was putting him up for the night.

Have I had any drunk couples and if so, how did it go?

I’ve had a few and a couple come to mind:

One couple I picked up I watched them walk out of the house together and I thought they were just hanging off each other. No, he was practically carrying her down the driveway. Luckily, we weren’t going too far and both were in a good mood and laughing about their predicament. The couple that gets drunk together stays together.

Another couple I picked up one night late from a swanky hotel-resort wasn’t happy. Hubby was practically carrying wifey out of the place and when she got in she cracked the window, leaned up against the side, then moaned and groaned all the way to their place (and had me hoping she wasn’t going to puke in the car- luckily she didn’t). We get to their place and hubby got her out of the car and started walking with her up to their house. But when she reached the mailbox (a nice big stone one), she ducked behind it and proceeded to hurl really hard (only had audio and not visual, thank doG). Hubby just nodded his head and kept walking up to the house. I honestly wonder how much she was going to remember the next morning but was forever grateful she didn’t puke him my car.

Usually when I get a couple in my car, they either clam up and don’t say much or they talk about boring stuff that doesn’t merit an Uber Tale. But in the last week, I’ve had three conversations that were a mix of dumb, condescending, and possible gaslighting.

I pick up this couple early one morning and the hubby contradicts every single thing the wifey says, like dates and what happened and any other detail. I’m thinking one of two things: she’s a ding-bat with a faulty memory (slight possibility on that as she did admit she had their driveway paved with a slight bend instead of straight, which would have been more practical), or hubby was a dickhead who always had to be right. My take was that this was a dysfunctional marriage these two seem to be stuck in.

Then I pick up this other couple and hubby acts surprised by every single thing wifey says, like he’s hearing it for the first time. Wifey doesn’t sound stupid or anything but hubby sure acted like he was a dumb-ass. To me, it sort of felt like he was talking down to her.

Then I had another couple in which hubby was like trying to explain to wifey every single thing he was seeing from the back passenger seat (okay, I understand not a lot of people get to be a passenger in a car looking at stuff). Again, the slightly condescending tone rubbed me the wrong way because he was also contradicting her replies to him, too (attempted gaslighting, anyone?).

From these conversations I was beginning to ask myself: are there really marriages that are this messed up? And I’m wondering how many women think they’re ding-bat idiots when in reality they’re just married to condescending gaslighting assholes?

I’m just glad I’ve never been asked to be a marriage counselor with any of these couples because that’s something I wouldn’t do except for the promise of a record-breaking tip ($100+).

Uber Tales, Advice Given (and not given), Edition

Over my five years as an Uber driver, I have been asked for advice and have been careful in giving it. And in my five years as a driver, I’ve also kept my advice to myself even when I really wanted to give it.

This past Sunday evening, I picked up this young lady from the airport and when she got in the car she proceeded to call someone like a lot of people do (people call family to let them they’re on their way home a lot). I hear her tell someone she’s landed and on her way home then she goes, “I’m not being sassy.” Then she proceeded to argue that she was just calling to tell this person (sounded like an asshole-boyfriend) she was on her way home and no, she had things to do and was going to order in dinner. All I could think was that she didn’t sound ‘sassy’ at all on the phone and why did she have to put up with this shit? I really wanted to tell her to dumb this douche-bag and save herself the hassle of dealing with an idiot who seemed to want an argument. I think douche-bag boyfriends who do this kind of shit, accuse the girl they’re with of stuff she didn’t do are probably fucking around or just trying to be controlling douche-bags.

Another time I picked up this couple from a bar one night and on the radio the song, ‘Baby One More Time’ by Brittney Spears came on. Well the chick began singing along and she had a good voice and in the rearview mirror I could also see her getting down and wanting to do lap-dance on her boyfriend (or husband, I wasn’t exactly sure what his significant-other title was). He was totally ignoring her and making snide comments about my driving just loud enough to where I could hear them (I was taking it a bit easy since the road I was driving down was bumpy as hell). All I could think was his girlfriend-wife was horny and if he played his cards right he could have gotten laid as soon as they got to their place. But because he was mouthing off at me I wanted to tell her to dump this douche-bag’s ass, or at least make sure he didn’t get laid that night.

Then another time I picked up this guy one afternoon and he got on the phone with a friend of his and proceeded to talk some serious shit about this girl they both knew. My douche-bag passenger was saying how he’d lied to this girl and said she was pretty and stuff when in reality he was calling her fat and ugly and all kinds of nasty shit. All I could think was I hope this girl kicked this guy in the nuts the next time she saw him because I was hoping that my mental yelling to her would reach her in some way.

Then another time I went to a convenience store for an early-morning pickup and there is this couple there. Chick is laying into this guy accusing him of cheating and stuff and he’s trying to tell her he’s not. He’s the one that ordered the Uber so he put his stuff in and was trying to get this chick to calm down but she wasn’t having it. Then she grabbed his phone out of his hand and started scrolling through it. At that point, he’d had enough and got in and I let him use my phone to call a buddy of his (his buddy’s apartment was his destination) to let him know he was on his way and that his psycho girlfriend had his phone. I think the chick was pretty drunk but man, she was a crazy-ass drunk. I wanted to tell the dude to cut off his phone plan, report his phone as stolen, and dump this crazy bitch.

In the above three situations, I didn’t say anything because people have to figure things out for themselves. But one time, I was asked for some advice and I carefully weighed and measured it out.

I picked up this young lady one night and as we got going she goes, “Can I ask you a question?” I go, “Sure, what is it?” She asks me if I think long-distance relationships can work. I tell her I think they can if both partners are committed to one another and work at it. Then she asks me if that applies if both people live in the same city. I go, “Huh?” and she must have heard the puzzlement in my voice because she proceeds to lay out her situation. She tells me she and this guy in question had been together off-and-on for about three years or so and had just gotten married a couple of months back. But a few days before this ride, he’d moved out to a place across town but wasn’t telling her why. She then asked me if she should try talking to him. I told her if he was willing to sit down and talk with her to just listen to him without interruption and think through what he said. Then she told me she’d just gotten out of the hospital and found out she was pregnant. Then I told her my personal take was that he might want to have his cake and eat it, too and if so, she was going to have to make some hard decisions. I wished her well but in reality, I wanted to tell her to dump the asshole and that if she kept the baby to get as much child-support as she could from him.

I like to think most people are good people, and they are. But when I encounter a shit-head or someone dealing with one, it’s hard not to lose a little faith each time. My take is why be with someone if they’re just going to shit all over you? I know a lot of these shit-heads tell their victims they can’t make it on their own. I want to tell anyone, male or female, you can do just fine on your own. You’ll be a lot happier without dealing with this kind of hot-and-cold insensitive bullshit. Because the piece of advice I’d really like to give here is this: it’s not your purpose in life to pull someone’s head out of their ass. And as my late mother used to say, people like this very rarely, if ever change so to me, there’s no reason to stay with someone who makes you feel like shit more often than not.

But this is just my advice so you can take or leave it.

Uber Tales, Roll With the Flow, Edition

A couple of days ago, I had a passenger ask me what lessons I’ve learned from being an Uber driver. It was an interesting question and one I’d never been asked before so I gave it a go.

The first thing that came to me was that I’ve learned to just roll with the flow. I’ve said the only predictable thing about this gig is its’ unpredictability and because of that, you’ve got to learn to roll with that. A good example of this is what I call a ‘doldrum period’. On average this happens at least twice a year: right after New Year’s when everyone’s worn out and broke and after Memorial Day weekend when again, everyone’s worn out and broke. I have to remind myself these times will happen and to try and be better prepared.

Another roll-with-the-flow lesson can be applied to travel times. During morning or afternoon rush every so often I’ll get stuck in a traffic jam. Luckily I’ve never had a passenger complain about this. In fact I’ve had a few apologize though I tell them traffic jams aren’t their fault (and they’re not because the route we’re on sometimes the only way into their destination). I tell them traffic jams are a part of my job and besides, I’m on the clock so I’m still getting paid.

Another roll-with-the-flow lesson is in talking to people. The vast majority of my passengers are awesome and whether or not they want to talk is entirely up to them. Now in the past I used to hate having right-wing idiots in my car because they can be a bit forceful and I used to get nervous about them flying off the handle and doing something stupid. Now I’ve learned how to counter their dumb-ass arguments so well they’re agreeing with me. For example, the shitty one about immigrants overrunning the country is one I counter by saying immigrants are probably one of the most exploited groups of people in this country and they’re not coming for anyone’s fancy white-collar job, or even blue-collar job. Instead, immigrants usually work under-the-table and behind-the-scenes and are out of sight for most people. The other right-wing dumb-ass argument I like to counter is that we’ve been taxing the wrong people and that’s not the government’s fault but Congress handing down tax breaks to the wealthy for decades.

Then there is the drunk roll-with-the-flow. And how do you know someone is drunk? The number-one indicator to me is most drunks are really repetitive, and usually repeat the dumbest stuff over and over. But I don’t call them out on it. Instead, I just go mumble and keep driving. Most drunks are okay and pretty friendly and if I get a nasty one I just keep my mouth shut and tell myself at least I don’t have to live with them and listen to them puke.

Yet another roll-with-the-flow is what to do when you ask someone how they’re doing and you get a crazy story from way out of left field. Like last night when I picked up this young lady and I asked how she was doing and she said better now that she hadn’t been ‘jumped’ today. Then I got the story behind that: the night before she’d gone out drinking with some friends and they ended up at a party at an abandoned house out in the middle of nowhere with this crazy chick and her eight brothers who all claimed to be armed with guns. Crazy chick kept telling my passenger she wanted to kick her ass and that if my passenger fought back her brothers would shoot her dead. Luckily, my passenger got out alive and without getting shot or beaten. She also said she was cutting off the friend who took her to this little gathering to begin with. When you hear a story like that you just have to roll with it though I told her I’d stick to the city if I were her.

Finally, the best take on roll-with-the-flow is that it keeps you from driving like an asshole. I deal with idiot drivers all the time and the worst driving I see is the following:



Texting and Driving


Speeding in and out of traffic is dangerous because there are other cars and it doesn’t make you look cool. In fact, I say it makes you look like the pencil-dick and or dried-up coochie (for the ladies who do this) asshole that you are.

Tailgating is just dumb as hell because that’s an accident waiting to happen. And if someone is boxed in there’s nowhere to go riding their bumper isn’t going to magically clear the road in front of them. And if you’re too fucking stupid to go around if you’ve got the room, then you should get out and walk.

And NO ONE is capable of texting and driving so just stop doing that shit. Also, don’t hold your phone and drive with one hand. Get a freaking mount if you want to talk and drive or just put your damn phone down and concentrate on your driving.

I think the biggest lesson with roll-with-the-flow is that you learn how to think through things and also be considerate of others. Which is the most important lesson I think anyone can learn in life.

Uber Tales – Frequently Asked Questions, Edition

I’m going to list some of my most frequently asked questions (FAQ) here but if you have any questions for me that are not listed here, just let me know in the comments.

How long have I been driving for Uber?

  • Five years as of this year.

Do I like it?

  • Yes. (If I didn’t I don’t think I would have stayed with it as long as I have because of the freedom I have with this job).

Longest trip?

  • Current record holder is three hours (would have been three and a half if I hadn’t taken a couple of alternate routes around some high-traffic areas)

Biggest tip?

  • Current record is still $100 though if anyone wants to break that record they’re more than welcome to.

Any really strange or outrageous passengers?

  • Nothing totally bizarre or anyone I couldn’t handle.

How much time do I spend at the airport?

  • Enough to where I sometimes call it my home-away-from-home.

Are you from San Antonio?

  • Born and raised, and I’m old enough to remember when things were built, or something else.

When do you drive?

  • Anytime I want to though my bank account pretty much dictates when I work and for how long.

Has anyone ever puked in your car?

  • No, which I am forever grateful for. I’ve reduced that risk greatly by not 2 a.m. bar let-outs though I do get the occasional day-drunks.

Have I been like a bartender-therapist to people in the car?

  • Yes. I don’t mind because sometimes people just need to talk and I’m more than happy to listen.

How many ‘morning after’s’ (formerly known as the ‘walk of shame’) have I done?

  • Lots. And occasionally I get the story. And I call them ‘morning after’s’ because I had a family in the car one night (mom, dad, two young girls) and the mom was up front with me asking me questions. She was about to say ‘walk of shame’ but I stopped her with ‘morning after’ then angled my head towards her daughters in the backseat. I didn’t feel right saying ‘walk of shame’ in front of young kids and I think I also kept the mom from having to explain that term to her daughters.


  • I was offered pot in lieu of a tip twice in one week. First time was when I dropped this guy off and he said he didn’t have any cash on him for a tip so I told him he could tip me through the app. Then he offered me something to eat or drink (I politely declined) then he went, “Can I offer you a bag of weed?” I went, “Uh what?” because I wasn’t sure if I heard him correctly. He said yes rather enthusiastically but I declined and got out of there. Second time was a couple of days later when I was driving this lady home and she said she didn’t have cash for a tip so I told her she could tip in the app. Then she asked me if I wanted a joint but I declined smoothly by saying, “No, thank you, ma’am. I don’t smoke.”
  • I’ve been asked out several times (declined firmly but politely) though I got a rather indecent proposal from this guy one night. He was drunk and hitting on me then he offered me money for an indecent time and I went, “Excuse me?” in a tone of voice that made it very clear he crossed a line. He apologized all over himself and I let him flop around like a fish on a hook for a minute or so before I told him, “Apology accepted.” He tipped me well so I let it slide.

If you would like to ask me something that wasn’t addressed here, please ask in the comments here and I’ll do my best to answer it. Thanks!

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