Listen, I've never driven people around for a living, but I have paid people to drive me places, and that's all the goddamn research I need to do. Anyway, it may not be quite as prevalent in your town as it is in cities that matter, so just to get you up to speed, Uber is a ridesharing service that allows you to order a cab (aka some motherfucker's Toyota Prius and/or Hyundai Sonata) and pay for it all through an app on your smartphone.
It's that lack of human interaction that makes it so appealing, and it's also why so many people aren't cut out to be Uber drivers. And understand, every person with a fuel efficient vehicle and a past due bill in California has likely considered it at some point. Short of never having killed anyone with your car, there aren't a ton of requirements, and who doesn't love driving around in Los Angeles?
Pictured: Fuck all of this.
Once again, the problem here is that driving a person around is a form of public performance. When that passenger gets in your car, it's your responsibility to read the room and figure out if they're the small talk type. If they are, by all means, talk about whatever bullshit you want to talk about.
If you get the sense that person would prefer a little quiet, by all means, shut the fuck up. Just right up. Do not force the issue and pepper them with questions to get them in a talking mood. I don't care if it's uncomfortable, in that moment, silence is part of the job. You don't know what's going on with that person. Maybe someone just died and they don't want to talk about it, you know? Maybe they lost their job.
John A. Rizzo/Photodisc/Getty Images
Which makes Uber kind of an irresponsible choice, but still.
Now, if you're incapable of making that kind of determination on the fly (or at all) and acting on it accordingly, I'm sorry, but you shouldn't be shuttling people around town for a living. I don't mind talking a bit -- I'm not a total grouch -- but getting stuck on a long Uber ride with a driver who talks incessantly is a special kind of awful. I hit the trifecta once with a guy who was a terrible driver, talked excessively, and drove me to the wrong address. When I explained that he'd fucked up, his go-to idea for breaking the tension that followed was to ask what I did for a living. When I told him I'm a writer and comic, he asked me to tell him a joke. So on top of everything else, he was asking me to work now. That's like finding out a person works at Subway and instinctively asking them to make you a sandwich.
Which is twice as shitty if you're talking to a woman.
Would a simple personality test to weed out the people who can't be trusted to not be obnoxious be too much to ask? As it stands now, the community is tasked with policing the drivers by way of a rating system, but that means they still get to go out and get their awful all over everybody for however long it takes for it to catch up with them. Fuck that, it's time to start catching them at the door. I don't care how you do it, just make it happen, Uber.
Adam will be telling jokes in Albuquerque and Kansas City next month and he sincerely hopes you'll be there.
For more from ATB, check out 4 Ways America Screws the World (Nobody Talks About) and 4 Uncomfortable Situations We Should All Be In at Least Once.
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