do i love driving? yes.
have i figured out how to do this damn thing in pretty much the entire city?
the reason to drive around USC is because it’s little quick trips that are easy on your car, easy on the gas, and very little traffic so easy on your soul.
none of the rides will get you over $4 but like they used to say on tv, its all about volume volume volume. especially on a monday night which happens to be a Jewish holiday thus the rest of the city is dead.
but whenever you figure out a trick, The System will screw you.
the problem with USC is ubes never pays you right. its supposed to be like $3.08 a ride, but if its a pool the system only pays you $1.54 per person – which is half of what it should pay you. and you have to go back in your records and write them an email with all of the ride IDs — and guess what, sometimes Ubes wont write you back.
so you have to write again. and again. and then fight with someone clear across the other side of the world who would be sooooo happy with making $1.54 in 5 minutes, but bro, im supposed to be making $3.08 in 5 minutes. im driving a Benz. im college educated. I HAVE A BLOG TO SUPPORT.
im talking to chinese girls about their midterms. im talking to freshmen frat dudes who say getting girls is easy because the girls think bc youre young you dont know what youre doing, but you do know what youre doing, he says, on his way to taco bell to pick up food for the entire house. youre talking to sorority girls about their perfume. youre talking to a girl who got in on a full ride because shes badass at the Oboe. so i go, who is the greatest Oboe player today?
and she says Eugene Izotov. she says he plays with the Chicago Symphony. i flip my Cubs hat around so she can see it and say, the Chicago? who was the conductor, is that Solti? she informs me that Solti has been dead for years, that the conductor has been Muti for a while. so we talk about Dudamel. i deserve my full $3.08, uber. no frickin robot is gonna spin his Cubs hat around and talk classical while playing punk rock in a benzo sipping on a super big gulp of cherry coke with a forgotten jack n the box taco in the glove box.
at some point i felt like i had had enough. 21 rides in 3 hours. so whereas normally i refused UberX calls, i took one. hopefully they were headed to hollywood. worst case scenario they wanted to go to DTLA. but just my luck it was a french dude who had a tiny suitcase. an Oboe? no. he wanted to go to LAX. mama mia. ok, i’ll make $20 i thought. wrong again. $16.50.
why would ubes lower its fares sooo low that an airport ride from USC (which is one end of LA) to LAX (the other) would net the driver less than $20 if he is trying to make the Uber X hustle? dont they know thats exactly what will kill the driver? that will make him stop – or worse – thats what will make him just switch over to Lyft exclusively because on such a ride, for sure the passenger will tip him a few bucks, because trust me, if i can exchange classical facts with a pretty girl on a 4 minute ride, what can i parlez avec un frog on his way to Chicago on a 45 minute LAX run?
i told him to get a girlfriend immediately because when the cold wind blows he might need two girlfriends to keep him warm, skinny as he is.
illustration by the French artist YoAz