Wednesday, August 19, 2015
when i drove Uber X my biggest issue was being patient waiting for passengers to get out of their damn houses and into my car.
at first they could spend all day getting in there and there was nothing we could do. then last year Uber made a new policy saying that if the passenger didnt get into the car after 5 minutes of us arriving at their door we could cancel the ride and charge them $5.
with Uber Plus the penalty is $10. for some reason Uber figured out how to take $2.50 out of that fine for their own pockets meaning we got $7.50 for arriving somewhere and waiting 5 minutes and then bailing.
usually it’s not worth canceling because you can make more money driving the person than you can canceling on them. especially if it is surging, which it was the other day as i waited
and waited and waited outside a swanky beverly hills home which had a Land Rover and a Bentley in the driveway.
the UberX surge was 1.9 which is a little below the rate of Uber Plus but i like to take my X people around a few times a week because they bring a different sort of energy to the ride and we often drive to very different destinations than my Plus ppl.
i shoulda known i was in trouble when the passenger called me immediately after i accepted her request and she asked me “how long will it take for you to get here?”
i told her 1 minute, which I thought pleased her.
after four minutes of waiting at her driveway i called her back. she said she’d be right out. four minutes after that I looked and saw the 1.9 surge was still happening, meaning I could cancel her, make $4 (it was UberX) for canceling and pick up someone else who had it together.
but i thought, those cars are hella expensive. im a block away from Rodeo. no way is this woman wanting me to take her up the block for a minimum fare. so i waited a few more minutes when she finally came out.
very high heels which she had trouble walking in. short dress. frown on her face. oh boy. i shoulda canceled, i thought. ALWAYS CANCEL my head said.
but i didn’t. because im nice. and you know where nice guys finish.
she gets in and tells me we are going to west LA. about a $14 ride. so it was worth the wait.
soon as we get rolling she tells me that the house was her boyfriends house. he is 60. she is 30.
she tells me that they are breaking up because she found out, via his phone, that he is dating some other girls via a website. he became upset with her for sneaking that info out of his phone. she replied by saying, she wasnt the one at fault: he was.
he said, why would you ever go into my phone?
she said his house is so big that she has her own bathroom. it’s pink. he calls it the Girls Restroom.
she told him, “i found a tampon, a used one, in the garbage in the Girls Restroom!”
he asked, “how do you know it wasnt the maid?”
she said, “the maid IS THE ONE WHO EMPTIES THE TRASH!”
finally he admitted that he was using the website to take young women to dinner but nothing ever happened. that she was his boo. that she was the only girl who was his girlfriend.
but when she said that is ridiculous, that she was old enough to know when a man was cheating on her, she decided to break up with him.
so that morning she went to his house to get her stuff.
and the reason it took her so long to get out of the house was because he wasn’t letting her pack. he was saying “no, sleep on this decision, you’ll regret it because i will never let you come back if you move your stuff out.”
so as i was waiting patiently she was crying, her heart was breaking, and all she wanted was to be able to pack her things and go.
which made me very glad that i didnt cancel, because then i would have been an extra $5 charge in her life that would have added to her pain.
i dropped her off and told her she was too young and too pretty to put up with such nonsense. move on. there are plenty of rich and not-so-rich guys out there who would never cheat.
seek them out instead.
and she cried some more and said thank you.
Thursday, August 13, 2015
picked up what appeared to be a sugar daddy and his young girlfriend and drove them across town.
at first i thought it was a father and daughter but nope, she sat as close to him in the backseat as she could.
the mercedes back seat isnt all that big. ive had three people back there but i felt bad for them. two fit very comfortably, but three is a squeeze. this one didnt mind. she rode the middle seat intentionally and was right there next to him.
id say she was 23 and he was more than twice that.
very pretty, but not overdone. no plastic surgery nothing outrageous. had a hint of a foreign accent but nothing discernable because she spoke to him in whispers. as it should be.
they were going to a fancy restaurant which we talked about. he said there was a prix fix menu or you could order a la carte. that was nice of him. and it seemed like a reasonable price. we actually had a really good conversation about politics, sports, music, LA in the 80s.
traffic wasnt bad and they were in no hurry. he was chill. she was chill. im always chill.
it made me wonder if that was the way to be. rich. with a girlfriend who loved holding hands in the back seat of a car who had a smidge of a foreign accent? was i doing it all wrong? he seemed happy. she seemed happy. i was happy because it wasnt a trip to the airport where i would be without a passenger for a while.
got downtown, dropped them off, picked up a young lady who had just gotten her nails done and for some reason thought a mercedes was the right option to take home 8 blocks to her apartment. was uberx unreliable downtown? did she have issues with dirty cars? all of it curious. noticed a lot of people with convention badges milling around LA Live so i sat there for a while since it appeared i was the only uber plus guy there at 8:30p.
sat there till past nine and nothing. listened to kershaw shut out someone. everyone.
drove home and jeanine had made the most amazing fish tacos. watched Hard Knocks and passed out as the fish sniffed at my mostly clean plate.
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
i wake up early, i stay out late. my car has never been cleaner. i listen to jazz. even my trunk is spotless.
but the weird thing is no matter what i do, theres an element of luck thats undeniable.
i will say this though, the luck doesnt happen unless the app is on and im in a reasonably spot of potential.
yesterday after work i had three rides. the first was to a nice rich man who i took from century city to his pad in the hollywood hills. he mostly did business on his phone as we drove through beverly hills. because the ride only took 20 minutes, i turned around to my spot and waited about 15 minutes.
then i got a ping from a guy at a hotel who wanted to go to the airport. the interesting thing about the airport is it seems like a good ride because you make about $45, but after ubers cut you only make $30. and then you have to figure out what youre gonna do, which means you probably wont get another ride for another half hour, thus youre back to making $15 an hour.
not complaining, just saying. i probably could make some quick bucks by going to el segundo, hermosa, and/or manhattan beach, but those people just stay in their little bubble and it’s super annoying to do a bunch of minimum fare rides. and then youre stuck over there.
so after i dropped off the dude, who spoke arab the whole trip on the phone, i remembered that Bernie Sanders was speaking at the LA Sports Arena near USC. they were expecting 20,000 people there and even though theres the Expo Line, no one really uses the subway here. so i took the 105 to the 110 and boom i was there.
people were milling about, walking away from the historic arena where id seen Springsteen during the Born In The USA tour, and U2 for Unforgettable Fire and Joshua Tree, so i drove around to see if maybe some of the stragglers would bite. my Uber app showed me that i was the only Uber Plus there which gave me hope, but the internet was really bad. probably because 20k+ people were tweeting about how great their candidate was.
so i circled the place and decided maybe it was over. and even if it wasnt over, i couldnt get my internet to truly work so i drove slowly north towards Staples Center. and then i got a ping back at the sports arena.
turned out it was a family of four, dad wore an orioles hat, mom was from toronto and two kids were college aged. turned out they had been living in switzerland for 6 years. because the internet was so bad, i asked dad to just tell me what direction we were headed so i could get out of the dead zone.
newport beach, please.
oh hell yeah.
we drove down the 110 to the 405. no traffic. we talked about all sorts of things starting with Bernie. they told me it was sold out inside but about 10,000 people including themselves waited outside and listened and cheered. but because they wanted to beat traffic, tapped out a little early.
$150 later we were at their vacation resort and i talked to my mom as i drove home.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
im gonna try something this week while driving the uber. an experiment of sorts. im not going to say anything about my real life. im gonna be quiet.
i feel like i talk too much. some people hate it when drivers talk to much, especially about themselves.
i had a beautiful asian young woman in my uber last week. she said how great the ride was, but still i blew it.
at the end i asked her how you say Goodbye in Taiwanese.
she told me and i was all what?
she told me again and i remembered i cant speak any foreign language.
not even if you tell me the word twice.
im an idiot.
last night i took this old businessman from beverly hills to his hotel in the val.
we had to go through coldwater canyon which is twisty turny. i dont like it cuz theres always some jackhole tailgating me.
we were doing well until we started talking about meryl streep
i told him i heard an interview with her where she said as soon as she turned 40 all the roles she was getting were for witches
eventually she took one
(“Into The Woods”)
but still, shes meryl freaking streep.
suddenly this affable man was like
people shouldnt complain. if you dont like something do something about it. stop whining.
i was all, whoa.
he said, if i dont make a sale i dont blame anyone but myself.
it seemed to have struck a nerve.
i hope i dont get 1 star from how that ended.
Monday, July 27, 2015
eighteen, nineteen, who knows. she was impressed by everything i did and said.
and the whole night was like that it seemed.
i only like to do one or two long rides on weekend nights for a few reasons.
mostly my hands and arms but as soon as i dropped her off i got another ping.
then im driving across town to koreatown heading home and i get another
this one was a traveling salesman from milwaukee. we hit it off too.
talk talk talk.
to the airport marriot. fine.
then as im fixin to get on the 105 i get pinged again! what madness is this?
headed to inglewood. close to the forum. dark street.
its a black girl and her aunt and her mom. big suitcases.
big suitcases make me think they meant to get an Uber XL and not an Uber Plus.
XLs are mini vans. perfect for luggage.
well we put one of the suitcases in the passenger seat and the women squeeze in the back.
as soon as we are in i say
ok the most important question of the day: what sorta music would you like to hear?
they laugh and say what i have on is fine.
i hit go on the app and it says we’re going to LAX, no duh.
so i say, ok are we going somewhere fun?
almost in unison they say JAMACIA!
so i say oh well lets hear some reggae mon!
and we listen to reggae and talk about weed and sitting by a pool
and soul food and jerk chicken
when it was over they tipped me $5 and i turned off the app
took the 105 to the 110 to the 101
and sang bob marley all the way to hollywood.
Sunday, July 26, 2015
all weekend really. friday i picked up two black lesbian dominatrixes from their nail appointment in beverly hills.
we drove to south central and they told me about the femme-ey ones sugar daddy
and how he likes to wear her panties because its been so close to privates.
it was uber x and it was surging so i was making decent money and they wanted to stop off to get some money at a house
then go to the smoke shop then go home. all the way we were listening to power 106
talking about how we liked rihanna over beyonce, eminem over jay-z
these were my people. i was their man. but they didnt need no man.
only man they needed was the guy paying for the uber as we drove an hour across town.
then i met a mexican director who i picked up at the riot house.
he told me that leo dicaprio will win an oscar.
not this, but next, antonio.
everything i tried worked. the music sounded good. my hands didnt get sore.
i barely peed. and when i did i did it from an overpass in downtown.
do you let people do coke in your car? the tougher looking black girl said.
i said, i was put reflect freedom.
she said, am i crazy to let my girl get with old rich white men?
i said, we are nobody’s. we are everybody’s.
seriously, im 100% into this ride. i dont want to be with anyone else.
but when we’re done, i’ll miss you, i’ll think about you and you.
but whoever’s next i’m with them, one hundred.
shouldnt i be?
but then yesterday. oh man, yesterday.
i liked to be out there at 8am on saturdays. airport runs. but i slept in. i was turrred.
my body’s all confused from drinking then not drinking coke.
i was on a strict one can a day diet. but then i read all this nonsense about
just how bad it is to drink even one can of coke a week!
so i got out there at 11am and i was rolling.
i had only made $175 all week and i really wanted closer to $400 because i was about to buy my tickets to chicago in september
and i wanted to fly Virgin and not Spirit.
for some reason i decided to go downtown since i had such fun there on friday.
soon as i get there i get a ping from a hotel and its a nice couple from santa fe springs
who want to go to the Grove.
they were having a cute staycation in the big city.
they wanted to do all the things they never did when they were in college here.
but the best ride was also the one where i got the lowest rating.
some guy ordered a porn star hooker to come down to this beach resort an hour away
she was wearing this see thru number, looked amazing.
she texted the whole time and made a few phone calls. it was from them that i deduced her profession.
we barely talked which is sad because i was super curious about her and i had picked up another porn star on her block about a year ago.
do they own the whole block?
pretty much the only thing we talked about in any depth was which way to go.
waze was telling me to take La Cienega through Inglewood
but the way she was dress, and the fact i knew the Phish show was about to let out, thus heavy traffic
plus i knew the 10 to the 405 would be way faster, made me ask
hey do you mind if i take the freeway?
she said she didnt care.
naturally when we approached the fancy resort she got a text from the dude who ordered her
that i had “taken the long way”.
after checking my last rides, sure enough, i got 7 5-star reviews, 1 4-star (you cant win em all), and 1 1-star
i guess that was the guy who was mad that his smoking hot hooker pornstar
cost him $118 just for the ride.
and chose to take it out on my ratings.
an hour from hollywood to rancho pv on a saturday night is “the long way”?
it was Only an hour and i even pulled over at a gas station to buy her a pack of gum
because she didnt have her ATM card on her.
she had very little on her.
after i dropped her off i figured what the heck maybe someone is trying to get out of this gorgeous sea side resort
and boom, a mom, her son, and his girlfriend had just spent all day there at a wedding
so we uber x’ed it a half hour away and i made another $10
used that money on jack in the box and took the 110 back to DTLA for one more ride.
got lucky by taking some sweet kids from the Nokia, sorry, the Microsoft Theatre to Sunset Junction
aka right by my house.
the Lord was looking out for me, thats for sure.
and i ended the week with $450.
so i bought the tickets.
Friday, July 17, 2015
yesterday i did two rides after work and hit my goal and went home.
the first were this lovely couple in a rich part of town.
because the gas prices are so high a lot of uber drivers arent driving and i dont blame them. it cost me $57 to fill up yesterday and i wasnt even on E when i got gas (i usually fill up at 1/4 E because of earthquakes).
and because there are fewer ubers on the road it was surging. and when it surges, uber plus drivers take the bait and take uber x calls. i was almost one of those drivers when i got pinged by these nice rich people who had brought an expensive bottle of wine to enjoy with their meal.
we got on the 10 and fought traffic to get to DTLA to a fancy restaurant. but first we had to traverse through skid row which was interesting to them, but not delightful. how could it be?
it took 35 minutes to go 12 miles. not bad considering it was rush hour. Uber charged them $48, I got about $33, xtx.
i like being downtown at 7-8pm because theres still business people down there. the surge was way over and i drove down 6th to figueroa and got nothing so i looked on my passenger app and saw there were no uber plus cars by the bonneventure hotel and boom there was a parking spot so i got in there, turned off the car and checked my email.
before i was able to make it through all the fan mail i got beeped by a businessman at the standard.
picked him up, he was going to the airport.
as always i said, “is the jazz ok or would you like something else?”
he was a very serious guy so i was a bit shocked when he said, “jazz sucks”.
ahahaha i laughed. well youre the boss, i said, what would you like to hear.
we listened to heavy metal and talked football.
just shows to go ya, you can never assume anything in this world.
dropped him off for his red eye, called jeanine to see what she was up to as i drove through south central back home. satisfied.
Thursday, July 16, 2015
my work had a summer picnic, an anual affair, i even won a pair of expensive sunglasses at the raffle.
filled up with bbq, ice cream, and pop i hit the road a little earlier than normal and the gods were with me
almost every ride i took led to another ride.
not super long ones, except one to LAX with someone who wouldnt reveal who they were, but he loved the jazz i was playing so that was nice.
usually people will open up to me right away and i learn where they are from, what they do, their social security numbers, etc.
others are either very very private or very involved with their phones and offer up little info.
the latter are very rare. out of ten rides, eight will tell me everything. the number is higher with uber x.
one young lady yesterday totally loved me and i loved her right back. infact if i wasnt on such a roll i would have gone hiking with her as she lived right next to runyon and had never gone there (!) she was new in town from NYC and ran into some bad luck with flakey roommates and flakier so-called bffs.
she came here with her friends but then they bailed on her leaving her on her own in a city she knew little about.
22. adorable. a few tattoos. i picked her up at whole foods – something most drivers would never do because it almost always guarantees a short ride back to their house to drop off their groceries. but i got lucky, she wanted to run a few errands and didnt have a car, so she ordered uber plus? a mercedes? what?
one of the stops was to go to this deli because they had this special milk. i think it was persian milk. she had a little exotic flavor to her.
sometimes strangers can just click and she and i clicked and even though she was a sorta femme fatale on one hand (no friends, no job, no schooling) she was also shopping at expensive places and buying weird things. anyways usually id offer my phone number, but im a million years old. ive had enough of the 22 year olds. no matter how smart they are.
enjoy LA on your own, just like i did. no one saved me. i came here alone. went to ucsb alone. ended up ok.
you can too.
Sunday, July 12, 2015
i took a day off from ubering yesterday. probably first saturday i didnt drive since forever.
i did do one ride.
i got up late, headed to beverly hills, picked up three girls in bikini tops,
but they were just going to a friends pool party.
minimum fare: $10.
they wanted to use the Aux cord, which i dont have in my benzo. the ride couldnta been more than five minutes.
you really cant just listen to the radio for five minutes?
driving is an emotional thing. when it’s slow it’s depressing. when there are no surges: even worse.
when it’s busy you’re motivated, you want to go all night. remember when i would go all night?
now i just dick around in my little spots and if someone else is there i leave.
it will take an hour to get a ride. i should just stay put for an hour but im impatient.
i’ll walk around george michael park across from the beverly hills hotel and get my steps in.
but sometimes its too hot and i’ll build up a little sweat, which isnt good for a driver, so i’ll stop.
then somehow gas prices soared by a buck almost over night.
obama how is this possible?
how can they take forever to sink but if you blink they’re higher than they have been in years? all of them. at the same time?
they all get their gas from exactly the same guy? OBAMA ISNT THIS COLLUSION?
i love my benz but i miss my ford. that car sipped gas. it scoffed at stations. it had pick up. i could talk to it.
it would remember the bands i liked and alert me if one of them was playing on a station i wasnt listening to.
hell yeah it had an aux jack, and a spot for a memory card for even more music.
but damn it got dirty easy. and it didnt look cool. and it would be very difficult these days to make $100 on a ride in that thing.
tradeoffs. who needs em.
ive been getting involved in internet sports gambling. way easier on the constitution.