I hate Uber. I hate that people love it because it’s convenient. I hate that people think it’s better for the environment than owning a car. I hate that people think it’s a good way for people to earn a living. I hate cars and I hate making excuses to keep them around. I grew up in Texas. All we had were cars, and we certainly needed them to get around. However, cars are a murder for intracity travel, especially in Boston.
Biking is a way of life for me in Boston. That all changed when I broke my ankle. It was inconvenient and painful, but I had to move on with my life. Full of reluctance and self-hatred, I became one of Uber’s best customers. To and from work I would go. Down to Brookline on Monday mornings for therapy. Sometimes to a friend’s house or a bar. Ubers quickly became UberPools because I’m a graduate student. This is how I met UberGirl.
It was a normal day. I woke up. I taped a bag around my leg cast so I could shower. I got ready for the day while pissing off my downstairs neighbors with the noise of my hopping (we’re cool now). I called an UberPool and immediately headed downstairs (by the way, this whole time I was living on the third floor apartment with no elevator). It just so happened that the car was waiting for me just as I got out my door. I love the feeling of good timing.
As I approached the car, so did another woman. Although this had never happened before, it didn’t surprise me much. The app said someone else was getting picked up nearby, and that must have been her. I sat up front as it’s more comfortable for someone in a cast carrying crutches. She immediately struck up a conversation with me from the back seat. I didn’t think much of it. My cast had become an unavoidable talking point. But we soon got to talking about much more. She had recently moved to the Boston area and was apparently my neighbor. We had both recently exited long term relationships. Above all, she was very cute. She was the kind of cute that has a great smile and warmth. Looking at her made you feel safe in spite of the fact that her eyes seemed to penetrate the thick layer of social armor you were wearing. Talking to her was easy, and we had a great conversation full of laughter and vulnerability. Did I mention she was beautiful?
Thankfully, this story goes beyond meeting a pretty women. It starts to get interesting near the end of the ride. We’re approaching MIT. I’m getting dropped off first. Thoughts are racing through my mind. I want to give her my number. It feels right. But I don’t trust my feelings. I’m nervous, and the voice in my head is saying, “Just leave her alone. She doesn’t need a random dude hitting on her this morning.”
What we didn’t know was that our Uber driver was likewise concerned about our happy meeting coming to an end. Before I could finish my anxious thinking, our Uber driver became our Uber MatchMaker. He immediately suggested we exchange contact information. He was subtly implying that our brief conversation was the serendipitous beginning of a new love and that we would be fools not to seize this opportunity. Our immediate reaction was just to laugh; it was hilarious, after all, to have an Uber driver trying to play Cupid. Then the laughter turned awkward as we had to softly reject the offer. I, of course, wanted to take it but then realized that the driver had actually trapped me. I mean, it would be one thing if I gave her my number on my own accord. But, once the driver had suggested it, it looked like I couldn’t handle the situation myself. He made it impossible for me to genuinely exchange contacts.
I hopped out of the car and said, “maybe I’ll see you around the neighborhood.” Perhaps I believed that might actually happen and, for a moment, I was floating on a cloud. That didn’t last. I quickly realized that I was an idiot for not just giving her my number. That would have been perfectly normal. Was I some sort of man-baby for being completely inept at this? Unfortunately (embarrassed to have to say this), I became a bit obsessed. I didn’t stalk her because I had no idea who she was, but it was my mission to find her. I vaguely remembered her first name, though even that I began to call into question. I did the typical social media searching. I also tried to search the names of people listed as living on the street she told me she lived on (sorry UberGirl if you’re reading this). Days passed. No progress was made. The situation was hopeless. It is often in your lowest moment when you allow ideas to surface in your consciousness that might otherwise be suppressed.
“I should put up a flyer!”
As quickly as the idea surfaced, my prefrontal cortex was all over it. That’s insane. Even if it worked, who would respond to such a creepy request. But it could work? Still, it felt wrong. I had to ask friends. Most agreed that putting up a flyer was a bit much. Some, though, agreed that it might be worth a try. In the end, I made the decision on my own: to throw caution to the wind.
Nothing says exhilaration like putting up a flyer. Sarcasm aside, I was taking a chance and I felt very much alive. Honestly, putting up the flyer would have been enough to end this story with.
But it actually worked.
That Sunday morning, I crutched over to the Biscuit with book in hand. I was prepared for a nice morning of reading my book and relaxing. I was a little worried that I might be too distracted to read but whatever. None of that happened because, as I stepped through the door, she was standing in front of me. I felt an intoxicating mixture of surprise, triumph and joy. She bought me a coffee, and we sat outside with her roommate, who came with her. I wish that joyous feeling could have lasted a bit longer, but it was incinerated when she told me she had a boyfriend.
She did the right thing to open with that. This wasn’t necessarily a romantic engagement, just coffee with a stranger, but still, it made sense. This news broke my brain, and I froze a bit. I must have been visibly shaking because she put her hand on mine and told me it was okay. This was both reassuring and made me feel weak. In any case, it’s what my body did and I try to be less judgemental these days. Once we got past that, the three of us had a nice conversation. She told me how she found the flyer. As it happened, her roommate walked by the flyer and thought it was so cute that she sent a picture of it to UberGirl. She responded with, “Oh. I think I know that guy.”
It was a bummer because it seemed like we were really hitting it off. She insisted several times that we should be friends. Perhaps she was compensating for the fact that, deep down, she knew that would never happen. Not sure. She gave me her number. I messaged her but no response. I tried again, and she eventually replied, but it was clear that we would never see each other — and we never have. I could understand the situation she was in. I don’t think that if I just started dating someone, I would go out of my way to spend time with another girl that I just met. It’s a bummer. That’s all. Perfectly reasonable but a circumstantial letdown nonetheless. If you’re reading this UberGirl, I hope all is well.
What’s the moral of this story? When I broke my leg I was worried life would pass me by and I didn’t want that to happen. This experience for me was about living life to its fullest even when circumstances had me down. Breaking my leg was bad but it didn’t have to stop me from getting around (thanks Uber) and meeting new people. Always live in the front row of your life!