I’m sitting here watching an icon of a little red car move along a make believe road towards the dot that is me. I have called my Uber driver and told him where I live. I have told him not to go to the neighboring villa, even though it may appear that this is where I am sitting, rendered on the navigation software. The little red car has overshot the logical turn. He is now pulling up to the wrong location. The little red car stops. I call him.
“Hi. Remember how I told you not to go to Lemon Lake? Right. You are now at Lemon Lake. You need to . . . “Huh? I can’t hear you.” It is at this point that I lose it, for the first time. Fortunately I am home alone. Muttering like Yosemite Sam, I make my way out to the driveway, where there is better reception and call the gentleman back. “Hi there. Hey, go straight ahead to the end of the road, take a left and look for the second entrance. Tell them this number and they’ll call me to let you in.” “Hey?” Man. “Can you hear me? Do you understand? “ “Yes. Yes. I got it.”
I have repeated this routine just about every time I use Uber. I always try to patiently explain to the driver to do this, not that. Come here, not there. There is no vocabulary or pronunciation challenge in all this though the drivers are generally from out of town. But it never works. They always say “sure. I got it.” Then, later they say: “Oh. OK.”
The next phase is the arrival at the gate. “Please tell them this number.” I can see the red car sitting there at the gate on my app. It isn’t entering and no one is calling to confirm if the car can enter. Temper rises, swiftly. I try to keep doing whatever I’m doing but when I look back a minute later the car is still there and no one has called. So I call the front gate and ask them to call the guards and have them let the guy in. And I call the driver back to see if he’s finally on his way, which he confirms.
It got worse. He decided to wait for me, there at the gate, a kilometer away. I try not to yell. He asks for my house number again. I tell him. He repeats it incorrectly. I yell out each number one by one so that my neighbors can hear. He repeats it correctly this time. I shouldn’t but I look at the app. He’s going down the highway in the wrong direction. This is like a bad comedy, starring me. “Yes, hello. Are you inside the compound yet or are you outside?’’ Maps can be deceiving. “Yes.” “What? Are you inside yet?” “Yes. But where are you?” Good Lord. “Look at the map!” “Oh right. I’m close.”
A few minutes later he sped past my house. Breathing, and breathing again, I grab my bag and go out to summon him back from the dead end, down the road. I know I should smile and give him a ‘fugettaboutit’ shoulder shrug and I will, but I’m not quite ready yet.