Uber is the reason I will never own property.
The wise J. R. R. Tolkien once wrote, “One does not simply walk into Mordor.” And while this can be applied to several things (“One does not simply have friends with benefits”, or “One does not simply take ONE fireball shot at 90’s night”), there is one that I hold most dear to my heart. “One does not simply take the subway after 10pm.”
Now let me get this out there—I’m not afraid of taking the subway at night. I’ve lived in New York for six years. I’ve had my fair share of drunken 4am subway rides. This is coming from a place of pure laziness. Could I take the subway home? Yes. Should I take it home? Yes. Is it going to be faster than taking a car? Probably. Can I afford this car? Nope. But we New Yorkers aren’t known for being stubborn for nothing. Fueled by that bottle or two of wine you share with your coworkers at happy hour, and probably stuffed too full of mediocre spinach-artichoke dip to move, you tap on that beautiful little “U” square on your cracked iPhone screen and summon your golden chariot. A 2012 Toyota Camry pulls up and you’ve never been happier. You start to pile your shit into the car when the driver looks at you and asks, “Are you Sarah?” Fuck. Not your uber.
CURSE YOU UBER GODS.
But whatever it’s fine, you looked at your beloved iPhone and see a text saying your car is arriving now. You jump into the back of other Toyota Camry as Fergie’s “Glamorous” starts to play in your head. You’ve just gotten to the G to the L bit when the driver pulls over in front of a dive bar on the LES that is certainly not your Williamsburg apartment.
You forgot you got an Uber Pool. (Uber Pool: a sort of carpool, if you may, that allows riders heading in the same direction to share a car to cut down the cost). Budweiser McGee and MillerLite Jones climb into the back of your precious portal back to your bed and immediately start rambling on about the “sweet chicks” they’ve matched with on tinder (more on the horrors that are dating apps at a later date). *You literally cannot deal.* If you had taken the subway, you’d be home by now. That janky-ass dip is turning into a major regret, and all you want is your couch and a nice big bottle of water. Or another glass of wine, but whatever. Just when you’re about to turn to MLJ and tell him there’s no way in hell Olivia Wilde would ever take hook up with him if they ran into each other at the Red Lion (like Queen Wilde would ever be seen in a bar like that), the driver pulls up in front of your apartment building and YOU’RE SAFE.
I don’t know about you, but I always feel like it’s a small victory to not be the drunkest person in your Uber-pool. Maybe I need more hobbies. I don’t know. But you can’t deny that it’s a good feeling to not be the one making your poor driver roll his eyes or cringe in second-hand embarrassment as you’re divulging your Saturday Night Sexcapades. But that’s not what’s important here. The point is you’re home, you’re safe, you’re a little tipsy, and you’re also down $25. Which wouldn’t be that much of an issue if this wasn’t the third Uber you’ve taken home this week.
Thank you for reading an excerpt from my memoir/short story/essay/maybe haiku book that I named Crying on the Subway a few years ago when I decided that I was destined to become the next Jane Austen.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of one tinder date followed by a week or two of meaningless texting and then the slow fizzle out of a relationship not meant to be…”
I think I’m on to something.
My 22-year old self was convinced that my life was going to the dogs, and as I’d commute from my little apartment in Washington Heights to my nannying gig on the Upper East Side I would sit on the subway and fight back tears as I thought about how miserable and sad I was (break up + no idea what I’m doing with my life + sick mother + shit roommate = not fun). More on that at a later date. Anyhow, I decided to channel the struggles into writing, and low and behold, here I am, 4 years later doing the same thing.
However, now the name of the book would be something like Farting in a Corner, or The Girl that Used Too Many Ellipses…
“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”