Uber Journeys

To The Wedding . . . with Groom

Sometimes, Saturdays in June my car fills up with wedding people. Mostly, guests — who are always late — or bachelor-night girls seeking places of ill repute. In my day, we tiptoed into Chippendales, which I thought had gone out of business, but it appears in Las Vegas. My UBER  doesn’t go that far, but I would if someone asked for a ride, just before taking that final single ride.
So, on an ordinary Saturday, I got a ‘ping’ that announced I had a ride waiting, but it would take 21 minutes to get there. I must have been the only UBER driver out that day. I drove all the way through San Clemente, took a short-cut on La Pata and ended up in a nice housing development on the edge of Lake Elsinore.

There were two men, plus a son. They all carried boxes, hanging clothes, and briefcases.
“We’re going to get married,” the man who slid into the shotgun seat.
“All of you?”
“Oh, no, just the guy in the back.”
The ‘guy in the back and his son nodded. I asked, “Would you like to stop anywhere, just one more single event?”
“No, I think I’m ready for this.”
We then headed back across San Clemente, up into Talega, to a house, where a throng of family were waiting.
“Don’t forget anything,” I offered. “If you do, I could always go back to your house and pick up what you’ve left behind.”
“We’ve got everything we need. If we don’t need it anyway.”
I wished them good luck and took off.
It looked like it was going to rain.

But, it didn’t.

 

Chickens Like Vanilla Milkshakes

Occasionally I try delivering food, otherwise known as “Uber Eats”.

It’s a good way to make money running up and down the hills of San Clemente and if I have a little time to Uber before taking on any other of my numerous ‘odds jobs.’

On a hump day, I got a call to go to McDonald’s in Dana Point. The order wasn’t ready when I got there, so I stood around and watched a stream of others drive up, pull in and order stuff I have not partook in for a few years in my effort not to outdistance my weight scale.

Finally, the server, Olivia, said my order was ready. She then produced six Large Vanilla Milkshakes. I asked for a paper holder, and Olivia, clever as she was and probably is to this day, cut one cardboard holder in half.

Then, it was an adventure getting six blocks to my destination, a Pollo Loco next to Costco in San Juan Capistrano. The order stipulated that I wait for someone to fetch. Out comes Roberta, who took all six milkshakes inside, within my carry case, promising to bring back the bag. She did. As she put it through my window, I said “This is the strange delivery for today.”

“Pollo Loco chickens love McDonald’s milkshakes,” she replied.

Now, I know. Never a day without learning new facts!

 

Then, it

Chicken Crosses the Road

to get to the Milkbar!

Uber Tooth Fairy

 

Unknown-1The call came from Pacific Coast Highway, from a place that’s not so easy to pick up an Uber ride. “Nicky” was standing in the far-right lane, blocking cars from slamming into me.

He jumped into the passenger seat, announcing “Today is a perfect day. A good day. Want to know why?”

I slid the destination across my screen . . . Nicky was headed to Mission Viejo. He was just short of wired, in a natural way, looking as if he might jump out from his torn-off jeans.

“Why?” I asked. Sometimes I wonder why I do this. Oh, I’m a writer. Or just curious.

He leaned as far as he could, almost in front of my face, and said “To get new teeth.” He grinned, without teeth. Not one tooth peeked through his lips.

It was one of those cases that I hoped for a proper response. One came from experience. I am a Sharks Hockey fan. His smile looked like the shots of the team in the game program, with or without their smiles fixed. I had a crush on Mike Ricci . . . now in Arizona.

“You played hockey?” I love rhetorical questions. On medium Uber rides.

“I used to, when I was younger.” He couldn’t have been more than 30, but without teeth it was hard to nail a year, let alone a decade. “I’ve spent my life pushing the edge. The older I get, the more dangerous my quest. Boogie board, shredding into nothing, climbing up cliffs one isn’t supposed to, but I live.”

“Except without your teeth,” I said. “Maybe your teeth have gone to outer space and you’ll get them back when you visit that last place that takes your life,” I have no idea why I said this. The ‘wired’ was contagious.

“Ah, you know, then. I figured it out, you have an old soul.”

“No,” I said. “I think this is my first time on earth.”

“No. You’re 5,000 years old. Been here many times. I know. I think I saw you land. It was on a ship, just south of the nuclear power plants, San Onofre.”

“I didn’t land here. I arrived in Seattle.  I am certain,” I said. I was at the off-ramp, to a road taking us up to the medical building.

“You take care,” Nicky said. “I’ve had this dream about America. You will survive. Many won’t.”

I was going to ask him about what would happen to him, but he jumped out of the car and dashed across the parking lot. He turned, at the door, and pointed to his mouth. He was smiling.

I could swear he already had his teeth in.

Sleeping Babies on 20 January

chicago_il_lake_shore_drive_bridge_body_suit-1

Uber encourages drivers to ‘get out there because riders do not want to be wet’ when it rains. This is a golden opportunity, as it’s been five years since the wet stuff fell from above. This was Inauguration Day, Friday and a great opportunity for me to keep my mouth shut.

Which I did not. (more…)

California, I love You!

If you live in California, and are breathing after January 1, 2017, you will be able to

Have one free beer while having your hair cut in a barbershop or beauty salon – this will make a bad new-do appear better.

Wear your Denim with pride as it’s the official California fabric – rest easy, my 1960s high school superintendents who wouldn’t allow patten leather shoes or Levis.

Companies with 25 or more employees will pay $10.50 per hour, up by 50 cents – this will put me out of business, as I am my boss and go shopping too often.

Drivers for Uber or Lyft can’t have a blood alcohol level of 0.04% or more – wish some of my passengers had the same content rule.

Ban on Text While Driving now includes searching for Pokemon Go characters – who does this?

A program providing electric-car rebates will now only be available to people making $150,000 or less – The X P90D starts at $109,000m so I could spend my savings and get $7500 income tax credit and in California, at $2500 tax rebate, which would mean I could drive 24 hours a day for Uber and eat once a day.

Every autographed collectible sold in California must come with a certificate guaranteeing that it’s not a forgery. Thanks Mark Hamill of Star Wars who must have had a real challenge with documents that came from far, far away.

If you see an animal trapped in a heated car, you may break the window – after calling law enforcement – do they ever come when you need them?

MOST IMPORTANT, getting ready for the 2018 election . . . you can legally take a selfie of you and your BALLOT. I needed this in November.WalkCake.jpg

Uber Gas Buddy

priceofgas

 

 

My late afternoon ‘ping’ passenger was down the hill from my house, in the industrial park. “Patty” jumped in my backseat without entering a  destination.

“Where are we going?” My usual question, before my passengers offer “How long have you been driving for Uber?”

“I can’t say, that’s why I didn’t put a place in. We do have to make one stop, before that,” she said. “I ran out of gas, somewhere on the I-5. Don’t worry, we can find it. But a gas station would be the first stop.”

We headed to the first gas station. I say ‘first’ because that station had run out of gas cans. It was only Thursday and the cans were gone. Not a good sign. The second station had one. Then, off we went down the I-5. [Or, is it plain I-5, without the ‘I’?]

“Where do you think your car is?” I thought I’d get a wee idea of the area. I-5 runs smack dab into Camp Pendleton, one of America’s largest Marine base, hugging miles and miles of scenic California coast.

We passed the last south of San Clemente exit, passed Trestles beach and kept trucking south.

“What brand is your car?”

“A little Fiat. ”

A little Fiat. On the northbound I-5.

“Yes. I was late for an appointment, so I thought I’d just get to San Clemente, but when a Fiat gas gauge registers “E,” it’s empty, no leeway.”

Camp Pendleton covers both sides of the highway. No way to turn around, unless sneaking through the Highway Patrol turnaround dip, after the INS Stop-and-Desist installation.

NOTE: Mr. Dictator: We do not need a wall, not with those guys who peer into your car when the INS system suspects a breach.

At last, I could see her car, three miles further toward Mexico [I’m a writer. Instead of saying ‘south’ I thought the reference to Mexico is stronger.] I was surprised that her car was still there. Someone could have come along with a truck and shoved the wee car into the truck’s belly and disappeared..

I urged the car off the highway at the first off-ramp, did a U-turn and headed north. I turned off the Uber fare as soon as I pulled up behind her car, parked a car-length behind her, put on my emergency signals and waited for her to fill her car with the gallon of gas. Of course, the thought that we both could be smushed flashed through my mind. I ignored it.

It took ten minutes, but she got every drop of gas into her tank, came back to the car, picked up her purse from the seat, then handed me $10.

“This is cheaper than AAA,” Patty sold software for a living. She’d figured out the trip and expenses. She’ll go far.

I don’t think Patty will run out of gas again.

I looked at my gas tank. One eighth of a tank. Now, that would be a great ending, but my S-Ca-Pay is like an old VW, and would get me back to San Clemente, another 20 miles, unless I was attacked by illegal aliens, running down the hill, escaping from a band of Marines.

“Would you be interested in . . .”

images.jpeg

When I get a ‘ping’ to fetch people from a hotel, especially in Fashion Island, Newport Beach, I know it’s a trip to see John Wayne in all his iron fantasy in Terminal #A.

The Islands Hotel has a limited entry way. The first man, John, came out very fast and leaned down by the passenger window.
“Don will be here in a moment. Don’t know what’s taking him so long?”
John started to get into the passenger seat, then jumped out.

“He should be here by now. I wonder . . . ”

I could see pal Don coming down the driveway, dragging two luggage pieces.
“Oh, my God. I forgot my luggage,” John jumped out. I opened the rear boot door, got the luggage and men into my car, then started toward John Wayne Airport.

“You’d be better after having a beer or something,” Don said

“Yup. What a couple of pals here, suffering from two  hangovers, we have,” added John.

I tried to change the subject. Many times, I’ve thought I should have aspirin or a cool beer to tame the wild, hairy dogs of morning-after withdrawal on Sunday morning Ubers.
“What airline are you taking?”
“We’re going to Salt Lake City, yes we are.”
“Oh, Salt Lake. What airline?”

Without missing a beat: “Excuse us, Ma’m. Do you have a moment to talk about Jesus Christ?”

This is new.
“You’re not wearing white shirts! Where are your badges?“ Then, I remembered the show. I sang, the first few bars of “I Believe . . . I am Mormon!  .  . . ”

“No, we have heard about it.” They even talked in unison.

“You must be the only Mormons who haven’t seen the show.”

“Oh, we’re not Mormon.” The boys again in unison, sounded like a mini-Tabernacle choir.

“I thought so. With hangovers . . . “

“Good clue. We’re the only two residents of Salt Lake who are not LDS. Most definitely not.”

“Except for cousin Josh,” Rob added.

“He never was, even before he turned 13,” said John.

I like to think that life is better for that Utah state, now that the two have returned to Salt Lake City.