Tales from a Middle Aged Father: Uber

Throughout life, there come moments where a lack of attention to detail leads to what many would call an “adventure.” One such moment happened to me when, after a night of heavy drinking at a club, I did the responsible thing and requested an Uber. What happened after was nothing short of an epic tour of Greensboro, one that had all the trappings of Moses leading a lost Hebrew nation through the wilderness without Google maps…

It began innocently when I met a few friends at a bar downtown where we pre-gamed before heading three blocks over to a new club that was celebrating its first real gig. The band that night was a seventies funk throw back that gave us plenty of music to drunkenly dance to. It was a Saturday night, so I let loose and did not hold back on how much I took in, leading to what I am sure was the hilarious vision of a late 30s man doing his best combination of Elaine and Carlton in the middle of a dark dance floor. As the hours grew late, I realized the world was starting to shift to the side a little, and decided it was time to make my exit.

I perched on the edge of the side walk outside, watching my phone for notification of where my ride was. A blue sedan pulled up, and I asked “Barbour?” – he nodded, and I got in. I sat in the back of his car, and watched the lights of the city pass the window. I tried to plan my next day, only getting so far as planning to shower in the morning before trying to remember what I was doing in the present.

A street sign passed my window, a street that a friend of mine lived on. I contemplated what they were doing at that time of night, thought about the last party they had, thought about grad school and different times we hung out in the courtyard or bar across the street from our department – then it hit me. We were on the opposite side of the city from where I was supposed to be going.

“You know where Adams Farm is, right?”

“Adams what?”

Holy shit. Either this guy put the wrong thing in his GPS or I am down to the last few minutes of my life. I immediately panicked in my mind, remembering all the news stories of women being raped by Uber drivers, and, now, I may be the first male to be raped by an Uber driver. Or maybe I was being taken to one of those secret cults where they sacrifice people for a demi-god from the old Norse traditions, or even worse – this guy could be a Scientologist and this was a new way of recruiting – I realized I may be in for hours of Thetan counts and L. Ron Hubbard brain washing.

“Adams Farm! Over off High Point Rd towards Jamestown! Adams Farm!”

“Where?”

It was clear I was s-k-rewed.

“You need to go to Autumn Court, right? That’s what I have?”

“No! Autmncrest, in Adams Farm!”

I was now wondering why this guy wasn’t getting the fact that I needed to be on the other side of the city.

“Dude, Adams Farm, going towards Jamestown. We need to find High Point Rd.”

“It’ll be extra.”

Extra! Are you kidding me!?

“How much?”

“I don’t know. But there’s a fee for changing route, plus the new route.”

I was pretty sure this was bullshit.

“Let me out at the gas station up here. I’ll figure it out.”

He dropped me off and left. I went in and bought smokes, then after I waited ten minutes to make sure he would not be the same Uber I had before, and after contemplating if I should get a Lyft instead, I requested another one. This time it was a little white sedan. I got in, and made sure this guy knew where I needed to go. I explained what had happened with the other guy, and my driver was sympathetic to all of my complaining – either that or he was just having a great time messing with the incoherent rambling drunk in his car. Probably the latter.

We finally arrived at a small cul-de-sac, and he let me out. I had been checking my Twitter when I let me out, and so wasn’t really paying much attention to where we were. When I finally looked up, I did not recognize the townhomes that I was standing in front of. I searched in a daze of confusion for the front of my homeplace, grew angrier and angrier, and finally pulled my phone out, and ordered my third Uber of the night.

By this point, I was mentally composing a strongly worded letter to Uber about the horrific night, and the incompetent drivers. I wanted the CEO of Uber to know that I was a valuable customer who put his safety in the hands of his drivers, only to be lost not once, but twice in the same night. I wanted the world to know that Uber had added an extra hour to a twenty-minute trip. I didn’t want to know what this night would end up costing me.

When the third and final Uber arrived, I got in, and told them to please get me to my address. The driver chuckled, and said “ok.”

We drove out of the cul-de-sac and around a small curve to the front of the row of town homes where I lived. I got out. Walked into the house. Found my couch and passed out.

The next morning, over coffee, I tried to figure out what exactly happened the night before. The first mistake was the wrong street typed in by yours truly – autocorrect changed what I had been typing, and sent Uber the wrong address. The second time was 100% error on my part as I typed in the wrong house number and left off “Dr” at the end. Finally, the last mistake I made was not paying more attention to where I was and noticing my own back door as the second driver had dropped me off directly behind where I lived, and simply studying the back side of the houses I was looking at would have been a lot cheaper for me when it was all said and done.

The lesson I learned: pay attention to where you’re at…

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