Monday, April 23, 2018

Uber and out


Leroy was a large gentleman of colour in more ways than one. His language and his stream of consciousness added much colour to our ride from the Gold Coast to the house in the wee small hours. 

"Man the crazies are out tonight. A 350 pound guy in a G string and nothing else tried to get in my car. Not happening buddy I told him. He wasn't happy. A G string. Dude was fat fat and fat. Have some self respect buddy. That's what wrong with this country. Everyone thinks they can just do whatever the hell they like. And maybe they can. But not in my car. No way buddy. Move that G string along buddy. Where you from? Ireland? Where's that? Is it near Poland? Had a Polish guy in the car earlier. He seemed normal but who knows. Dude could be a serial killer for all I know. Didn't say much"

Al was the oldest driver I had in Vegas this summer. At first he seemed little reticent to talk about himself but once he got going it was clear he had lived a rich tapestry. Born to a small farm in a red state, he said his options there were farming, tobacco or furniture, and he didn't fancy any of them. So he did what any poor boy in the States who wanted to better himself did back then: joined the military.  He was clear in his objective: minimum service for maximum education. A couple of Vietnam tours later his vision was more muddled. 

"I didn't believe in the war. It was BS. We had no business being there. But I had so many friends there, and I was one of their best communications guys, so they kept wanting me to go back. They offered more. They'd teach me computing which was just starting and seemed like the future to me. In the end I did 4 tours and trained some guys back here. I became a computing expert. I wanted to leave but they really wanted me to stay. I ended up staying for 20 years I finally left to start my own tech start up. We sold that in 2004 for retiring money. I moved back home but it was no place for my wife. She's Chinese and they just would never accept her there. So we moved here. I got bored doing nothing so I started doing this. I'm still kinda bored though so I'm probably buying into a new startup. "

When I complimented him on his drive and work ethic he shrugged. 

"My Dad is 97 and still works the farm. My Grandad lived to 103 and worked til the day he died.  In my family, we die with our boots on"

Chi collected me from Harrahs after some confusion. I refuse to go the Asian driver stereotype route: I accept the app misdirected him to the Venetian. His mission was to get me to the airport to collect Mrs Doke. He didn't talk much, we didn't talk much, but once he learned the mission he offered above and beyond, volunteering to stay and wait while I collected her. As luck would have I spotted her distinctive shouty shape the instant I entered the terminal, and she had already collected her bags, so I was able to whisk her straight to the waiting car, something which seemed to impress her more then anything else I've done in three decades of marriage. She's a lady who appreciates a good whisking. 

Clay told me straight out of the gate that he was a Mormon. I immediately feared a conversion was about to be attempted, but it seems more of a Let's Just Get It Out There admission. He told me he went back to Salt Lake City one week out of every month. He told me how long it took to drive (way less than I'd have guessed: my American geography is hazy). He said it was very different there. 

I believed hm.

Kolo told us he was from Africa originally. He talked like an African, in wild swoops of pidgin brilliance. 

"Oh Ya I am from Africa. It is great but I cannot be there. That's Andre Agassi's house. He play the tennis but no more. They get nothing. I think wrong gate. And now we have Donald Trump. Oh my God. What is this? Who is this man? My friends say he is joke when they see him. He is no joke I say. The people they are stupid. He will win because they are stupid and they like stupid. They don't want the woman in charge. The smart woman. They want the stupid. So stupid. He just want his name in big letters on buildings. His big stupid face on the poster and the TV. Nothing else in his brain like an African leader. I am the Muslim. But I don't tell people here. They don't understand. And I am not the serious Muslim. But Trump. He is the serious clown nightmare"

German was my last Uber driver n Vegas this summer. His name confused me. He didn't look like a German (he was an Eddie Murphy lookalike). 

He seemed stressed. No small talk with German, all business. Which terminal? How should I know? Which airline? Virgin Atlantic. 

His stress levels grew when he brought me to the Virgin America terminal, which as it happens is different from the Virgin Atlantic one.  I wasn't stressed, I told him I had lots of time. But he was still stressed. How were they different terminals? I know I said, it's Virgin on the ridiculous. Don't think he got that pun, or if he did, didn't appreciate it. 

I repeated I had loads of time as he zigzagged lanes. I complimented his driving. That seemed to help. He almost smiled. Then he remembered he was German, and Germans don't smile on the job. He got me there with plenty of time to spare.





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