Can we put the McCabe ad on this page too?
This is the era of noun-verbs where a thing can be an action. I will Facebook you later. I will Instagram that. I will Seamless some pizza while I Netflix and chill. I will Uber to you.
This is a country where newcomers can really struggle with the use of the verb “do.” The main example is usually overheard in restaurants. So, I’m gonna DO the chicken…but I’m gonna DO it without the chipotle mayo. I hope for everyone’s sake that no fowl is being “done.”
The worst is when referring to traveling. This summer, I’m gonna DO Europe. Awful.
But when it comes to using modern apps as verbs, I have jumped right on board, especially when it comes to Uber. It is the ultimate form of transport in the city, especially at weekends, especially when liquid courage blinds you to the financial perils of paying a driver to take you absolutely everywhere, especially when you just want to feel like a bit of a princess. We’re all guilty of that, right?
The most recent development in this world of fancy cabs, is Uber Pool. In my experience, there should be vast, extensive studies done on the human interactions that take place in an Uber Pool.
Several strangers enter a car together, driven by another stranger, and all bear witness to each other’s destinations which may often include a home address. Haven’t we all become terribly trusting of each other? Good job humanity.
When I first heard of this concept, I was still living in Dublin and a friend of mine who is a Londoner told a rather disturbing tale of her Uber Pool experience in the U.K. Given that London and New York are so expensive etc., I figure these are the main cities that avail of this option, so I was intrigued to see how it worked knowing that I would be going back to a similar lifestyle soon.
The driver picked her up and she was the first in the car. On her way home, a guy was picked up in the pool system. He was drunk, but seemed friendly and they struck up a conversation. After a while, he began to make advances, initially verbal and eventually physical, placing his hand on her leg and so on and so forth.
The driver clocked that she wasn’t comfortable and in a stroke of pure genius, pretended that they had arrived at her destination. He pulled over to a busy section of town and announced that she had arrived.
Confused at first, she quickly realized his tactic. This way, the creep in the car wouldn’t see where she lived. Obvious downside: time to flag another cab.
Short of trusting that the stranger driving you home can keep a responsible and even parental eye on what’s taking place in the back of their car, surely Uber Pool is just risky all around. What kind of protocol could be instituted to guarantee passenger safety in cases like that, where the diver just trusted his gut and knew he had to get that girl out of the car.
And there’s no way to press charges because this creep (thankfully) wasn’t given the opportunity to progress to assault – maybe he wouldn’t have, who knows? – but where do you draw the line between feeling unsafe and actually being unsafe? Who has the authority to call danger, step in and take action?
My experiences with Uber Pool in New York have been generally hilarious. More often than not I’ll find myself with a couple or group of friends who will be subjected to 20-30 minutes of mindless babble as I tell them my life story, show them my Snapchat story (arguably more entertaining and infinitely shorter) and attempt to imitate their accent – my favorite party piece.
Just recently I was in a cab with a French guy who had perfect English but politely allowed me to resurrect my high school French and name every French town I could think of in an obnoxiously inaccurate accent.
On a rare occasion, I’ll end up the only one in the cab which will inevitably result in sleep. My work schedule is so insane that if I do go out, by the time I’m ready to go home it’s because I’m hallucinating with exhaustion.
Too often I’ve relied on drivers to wake me up when I get home. Tell me that’s not insane. And tell me that a ton of girls don’t do the same.
Last week, I Uber’d to a wedding and had the most incredible driver. A pastor from Haiti with six kids who told me I was destined to be famous, played me some of his reggae music and decided we should probably write a book together. Last year, I had a driver who was also a yoga therapist who read my and my friends’ energy for an hour in his car on the side of the street in Brooklyn.
These are the men we trust with our safe passage from A to B (and women, though I have yet to get a female taxi driver in NYC). These are the men who tell us we look fantastic, wish us a safe night, who let us pull over and buy pizza, who remind us to take our coats and check that we have our phones, who wake us up when we fall asleep and who make sure that the creeps can’t follow us home.
In a world where things are getting just a little crazy day by day, it’s even crazier to know that perhaps the one man you can trust that day, the one superman, is the Uber Man.