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creative nonfiction Writing

The 12:20 Ride

Alecs was lucky to be able to hop into this Uber. It was under $8 on a route they’d been taking for months. At the beginning of February the price averaged as low as $6. These days, the lowest has been $13. Now, the other passenger pipes, “Why don’t you try driving for Lyft? I hear they pay well.” It donned on him: ride share apps are so communal in their design that the people (passenger and drivers) will always be on the same side–despite some of those thinly-veiled attempts to pit drivers and passengers against each other, disguised as emails explaining price differences.

Although he had a question for the other passenger, he thought it better to let the thought die in his head than ruin this ‘carpool’ that landed them together 2 days out of every week at 5:40 each morning.

“Why would you want someone to drive for the company with which you chose not to do business? For whatever reason, this Uber ride made more sense for you. In my case the decision was financial. Whatever your reasoning, you got into this car using one app and suggested the driver do the exact opposite. Perhaps this is part of your grand scheme. The more drivers leave Uber, the less drivers the company will need to pay for idling. The cheaper your Uber rides will be in four months. For about eight weeks straight. Right before the prices soar again. You know, due to lack of sufficient drivers.

The most difficult part of Alecs’ days were sharing spaces with strangers and trying to prevent a screwed up face. Now all is covered like silent show and long gone are the days of shared rides. What was once nonsense-talk to carry on conversation, now feels like a monologue belched out on an island shared with no one. What some of us wouldn’t do to catch water-cooler talk! To speak to someone in the car and get as wrapped up in details as you both allow until the end of your trip together. How deeply we used to be wrapped up in the details!

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