Tuesday, March 24, 2015

My Uber-ly Big Misunderstanding

I can start this post by saying that I know I live in a fantasy world a good portion of the time.  My imagination is such that often, when someone tells me about some new product, I'll create such a vision in my head that the real thing is just one huge disappointment.

I've been doing this my whole life.

I do it when people tell me about someone I don't know, a place I've never been, an animal I just have to see.

And every time?  NOTHING like what I imagined.

I live that portion of my life in a  land where people sing LA LA LA LA LA LA over and over.

So, a few years ago, before Uber (the car service) had overtaken the taxi world, someone first told me about it and this is what I thought it was.

She told me that her sister in California had had some kind of surgery that made it impossible to drive and she had little kids, so getting anywhere was a pain.  Insert UBER, the new car service where you call and tell them  where you want to go and they come in cars like Lincolns and Cadillacs and take you where you want.

Wow, I thought.  FANCY.

And expensive, right?

She said you had to pay for it but it wasn't a car service where you pay for a certain amount of calls, you just pay as you go.  She wasn't really sure how much it cost.

Wow, life in California, I mused.  I pictured sleek, shiny cars with chauffeurs, whisking away her sister and nieces for a day shopping and what have you.

Later, I heard a little more about UBER and completely misunderstood how it worked.  The next person who told me about it, made it sound like any old Joe in a car could go to some website and say "hey, on Friday at 10am, I'll be heading to XYZ place.  Anyone needing a ride in that direction, let me know."

Nowhere did I understand that payment was involved.

And, k-ster is going to kill me for even thinking this, I thought "wow, I should look into driving people when I'm on my way somewhere."

For free.

This is what America should be.  This is people helping people AND the environment.

People who need rides because they don't have a car of their own.

I live in a fairly rural area, so no one here should not have a car.  We don't have public transportation.  Therefore, if someone needs a ride, it's a sketchy situation and I should not, in any way, be giving them rides.

By my fantasy brain imagined the fun of having someone in the car for 5 miles, someone to chat with, whom I  could drop off at a place not out of my way.

The fantasy does not end there, my friends.

When I found it that drivers actually get PAID to drive these people around, I got even more excited!  So, I just go online, post that I will be going to my gym on Friday and if someone needs a ride in the direction, they will actually pay me to do this?  SWEET!

I pictured it becoming a regular thing. I'd bring the same people to the same places as I went on my same errands each week.

And that's where the record screeched and the music stopped.

Because then I realized, I'd be driving the same deadbeats, every week, not to their jobs, but to sketchy places where they did sketchy things with other people who don't have jobs.

I'd be driving kids, likely my former students, to the mall to hang out with their dopey friends who aren't old enough to drive yet.

I might have to drive around someone who didn't smell good.

I don't live in a swanky city.  There won't be fancy business women perfuming up my car as I drive them from their doormanned buildings to their high rise offices, them talking a mile a minute on their cell phones as I navigate the high stakes task of driving in rush hour.

Everything here is off the beaten path because there really is not any beaten path.  That means I'd be driving God knows where to pick these people up.  And then I'd be letting them out where, on the sidewalk?  At stop signs?

What was I thinking?

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