November 24, 2022

Your Dose of Uber Ride

I finish running my day’s errands a bit late and get into bed quite late- 2300 hours. Unlike my roommate who watches YouTube videos as a lullaby, I open a pretty average book on Any books –nothing too interesting so I don’t end up not sleeping at all – then put the “night shield” on, on my phone so the screen is kind of dim and I read myself to sleep. The major problem is usually the fact that the room feels like a little oven at night and regulating heat is quite a challenge because you have to have some clothes on in case of a fire at night –you’d think it’s a grass-thatched house- so you tend to keep a leg outside as a natural fan.

Recently, however, I haven’t been lucky to have an average book to read and it’s been quite a challenge refraining from reading an interesting book because sleep is very necessary with such long weeks. The other day I was trying to get sleep but I kept turning and tossing. I decided to watch the cars passing on the road because they really don’t fascinate me as much, hoping I’d get bored and doze off in an uncomfortable position then the next day I’d whine to my friends how stiff my neck felt. As you would guess, that wasn’t as successful as I thought it would be.

Then an interesting thought occurred to me. I started analyzing all the Uber rides I have had. They do have good service. The fact that you don’t have to walk to a bus station to get a matatu; it saves so much energy. Whoever thought of that idea deserves to be bought for tea. I don’t know about you but I have had quite a wide range of drivers. People with very different personalities and behaviors.

There are happy ones. I once had a ride with a young chap. He looked something like 21 with ragged skinnies and a faded blue denim jacket. He was quite talkative and had jokes. He made sure I was entertained all the whole way. He had this weird fascination with metal rock –that noise- music. From our interaction, he was a student from USIU doing International Relations – and I keep wondering if the university offers anything other than IR- and he did the Uber work with his car to get money for “enjoyment.”

The cunning ones. These ones are quite good with words. Since I am not an annoying, boring passenger, I tend to seat shotgun so that communication is not strained – mostly it’s cause I hate it when someone shouts. The road is also very clear in this seat but that is where their skill comes in. they talk so much so that even when he goes to a wrong lane you don’t realize and when you do they act so shocked like “Ooh! Where were we headed? I am so sorry. There is an entrance a short distance from here, we will take it.” Need I say there is always an entrance “right ahead” which will definitely cost you an extra coin?

The fishy ones. I like to think that it is a rule to be well-kempt in order to be in the whole Uber business because they are all usually well-groomed, nothing to complain there. But then there are these drivers who look suspicious and it is really not their fault. It is just how there face looks or how they carry themselves but they are generally good guys. You are usually very cautious throughout the ride and once you alight it is one big “phew, we made it in one piece.”

The ones obsessed with giving life advice. Do not get me wrong, the advice is amazing but it gets quite tiresome and depressing when they keep repeating the same point the whole ride. But we were raised to be respectful humans so you swallow your words every time you are tempted to shut them down. There was this one who was particularly very determined by telling me how to score a man so they would not leave and in my head, I kept asking myself why he thought why that advice would be very necessary to a small-looking student. Or did I look like I was single or I needed someone so bad? Did I look incapable of keeping a man? It was probably because I had long red braids and he assumed his own stuff. You can imagine I still left with all those questions in my head. It was an interesting monologue and I could literally not wait to be out of that car. I was tempted to tell him “keep the change” but then again a student is always broke and I had to listen to him say a conclusion to his very enlightening ride.

The grumpy ones. You must have met this one somewhere. I think they are told to be kind to passengers but they cannot relate. Especially at the end of a long day which probably had little income and they just want to go home to their wives and children and then you happened to book a ride with them – I like to think that’s the reason because you just can’t be like that all day. These ones do not even play any music and they are also very “rude” because they don’t say a word and you are left feeling like crawling to the back seat to just reflect about your life. You should note that they are not psychopaths though, just one of those days and you also just mind your business. At the end of the night please just tell them “goodnight” even if they will just grunt, nod, say a flat one back or act like they didn’t hear you.

After all this thoughts, you can only imagine what a zombie I looked like the next day because I barely had enough sleep. I use the sleep cycle app and my sleep quality was 28% – it made me feel worse than I should probably have.

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