Recently I conducted a scientific study of less than a dozen people — Uber riders, Uber drivers and the techs I work with at Subaru — and a truth has been made manifest: BMW drivers are the worst drivers on the Maryland roads. None of us quite know why. Entitlement? Cluelessness? More research will need to be done.
Another recent, perhaps less scientific study of myself and another Uber driver seems to confirm a working hypothesis: CR-V drivers are a close second to BMW drivers.
So there you have it folks. Science has spoken!
Speaking of expensive cars, a rider and I were discussing Uber’s sometimes nonsensical navigation.
Me: Can’t wait for self-driving cars!
Her: They’re already here. My dad has a Tesla. He hasn’t driven in months.
Really? It works?
Oh yes. He’s gone to Vermont and back and everywhere else. No problems at all.
But isn’t he stuck going the speed limit? Doesn’t he have to intervene to keep from getting into accidents or going the wrong way?
Nope. It just does what it needs to do.
Then why are Uber test models killing people and Tesla production models aren’t?
I don’t know. I guess that’s what you get when you pay $80,000 for a car.
And at that price point, BMW owners should be required by law to purchase Teslas.
Here are some interesting things I’ve learned lately re: wealth in America:
- 1% vs 99% isn’t quite accurate. More accurately there are three main distinctions: the 0.01%, the 90–99.9% and the rest of us.
- The 90–99.9% crowd’s wealth stays basically the same year over year while the 0.01% crowd’s wealth grows. Meaning that, for the rest of us, our wealth is decreasing year over year.
- Of the 116,000,000 total families in the country, 160,000 own 22% of the nation’s wealth. Said another way, 0.001% of households own 22% of the money.
Interesting night Ubering.
I drove A from Pigtown to Catonsville. She’s a single mom with a 14 month old and it’s only her third time out since she gave birth. Each time out she’s gotten sh*tfaced and thrown up, including tonight. Luckily, she launched it out the window as we pulled onto the shoulder of I-695. It didn’t bother me but she was embarrassed and angry with herself for even going out. When we arrived at her place she hosed off the side of my car and gave me a big hug.
Later, when I turned onto Durham, there was a police car in the middle of the street. I texted K and asked if she wanted to meet on the corner. Long story short, K moved to Baltimore from Harrisburg for a new beginning, lived with and worked for a guy she knew from FB. Turns out he’s a controlling, manipulative and ultimately abusive asshole.
After a month of what turned out to be a living nightmare, K packed her things and tried to leave. The police were involved because he wouldn’t let her leave; I arrived as she piling her things on the sidewalk. The gash in her face from where Assman had hit her looked awful.
At the hotel, we put her things on a cart then she burst into tears. The poor girl. I hugged her — very bad Uber etiquette… termination worthy! (f*ck Uber) — and she buried her face in my chest, alternating between “he ruined my life,” “what am I going to do” and “thank you.”
When she calmed down I said, “let’s get you home. Do you smoke?” “Yes.” “Good. You can sit up front with me.” I shared my smokes because Assman had grabbed hers out of her bag and crumpled them after hitting her.
She decompressed along the way, falling asleep between phrases until finally there was only sleep. She sat flopped over like a rag doll for most of the ride, snoring mildly
Once her belongings were deposited in an apartment building hallway I gave her my number and said, “if you ever need anything from Baltimore…”. Then I ate a turkey wrap from a local Sheetz and had terrible heartburn all the way home.
I think she’ll be alright.
S the Educated
S opened the passenger side door. “Is that a safari hat?” “Yes ma’am. Is that okay?” She climbed into the car and shut the door. “I don’t know yet.”
S has three degrees, beginning with an art degree, and is now a nurse in Hanover, PA. She and her friends come to Baltimore regularly for girls’ weekend out because “Hanover is so f*cking boring.”
“I’ll never see you again so I’ll be honest with you,” she said (among many other things NSFW). “I’ve had soooo much coke tonight. My girlfriends are climbing the bar walls but I just want to go to bed. I’m too old for this sh*t.”
At her destination she stopped as she crossed in front of the car, held up both hands and mouthed, “five stars.” I tipped my hat.
R the Pink
R was a self-depreciating yet loud-and-proud Black transvestite clad in hot pink. Falling into the backseat he said, “Love the hat! Love the look! You’re workin’ it, honey.”
During the short trip from Fells to Fed he ascertained my age — “What?! Damn, you look good [for your age]” — and general station life and, after providing me with much NSFW unsolicited advice, said, “You’re the first Uber driver I’m going to tip. And not just because you’re cute. I love your vibe; you’re so chill.”
The rest of the night was pretty sedate. And I made my goal for the week.
"Old people are not needed [in this society] and they know it," Alexander Schmemann once wrote in his Journals.
Photo: Outside an old, broken down gas station on Rt. 3 in Gambrills, MD
This perspective on world politics was given to me this morning by a young Army Sergeant I drove from Baltimore to Alexandria.
“The way I see it,” she said, “is like this: North Korea and South Korea are in the backseat of a car. South Korea says, ‘He's touching me!’ and North Korea says, ‘No I'm not!’, etc. And America and China are in the front seats going, ‘I swear to f*cking God I will turn this car around!!’”
I almost drove off the road. “I appreciate people who can see straight to the point,” I laughed. “It would have taken me an hour to say the same thing.”
Two gentlemen crawled out of a beer can and into my car just as the time changed from 1:59am to 3:00am. They ribbed each other as old or familiar friends often do and we three had good rapport.
Driving north on Washington St. the gentleman to my right said, “dude, I’m totally hetero but I have to say that you look very debonair in that hat.”
“Oh?” I said, “does it help to know that it’s kangaroo leather?” which he followed with a few NSFW jokes about leather and another debonair comment.
At their destination the usual pleasantries were exchanged and, just before shutting the car door, the same gentleman leaned in and said, “stay sexy, my friend.”
So, tonight I had two gay women and one straight man flirt with me. What an interesting world.
Nothing, however, compares to Mr. Ambiguous and friends.
“Books not bullets…” was chanted yesterday by people of youth. I’m amazed at the outright ignorance of the sentiment, considering the commonalities of the shooters going all the way back to Columbine. Per the data I’ve seen, the actions of the shooters had little to nothing to do with a lack of education.
The worst angels of my nature lead me to think these protests had more to do with… oh, never mind.
What’s the point?
Society has a very short attention span. I’ll just wait out the asinine, group-think vacuity until we once again look more at our phones than we do the neglected among us.
Then we can start the cycle again where the group-think crowd chants useless slogans to pandering politicians so they all feel better about themselves because they’ve made a difference or whatever. Yippee.
Do you think, dear reader, it will ever occur to the people of youth that politicians are largely powerless to effectuate meaningful change? That it’s largely the people of youth themselves who can change things? Do you think…
Wait. Sorry, I just got an important text. Looks like a meme. Gotta go.
Krispy Kreme is embiggening their doughnuts one by one.
It’s because they saw I’d gone to Dunkin’ Donuts yesterday. “We need to get Jim back,” said the bored members in an emergency, overnight meeting, “he’s one of our most loyal customers for godssake!”
The power of one, my friends. The power of one.
Krispy Kreme, you will forgive me, won’t you, my dear? Sometimes a man just needs a little toasted coconut love from Dunkin’.
Remember Downton Abbey? Of course you do. Somewhere during the series Americans were polled and it turns out that a large number preferred the class system portrayed in the show.
(Does anyone remember that study? I can’t it anywhere.)
It seemed that in a country where “you can be anything you want“ — a largely demonic, destructive and ultimately crippling lie, if you ask me — is less desirable than knowing exactly where you are in the social structure and what can and cannot be achieved in your station in life.
Case in point:
Around 3:00am I picked up E at a popular bar/restaurant in Fells Point. On the short trip to her house I learned that she tends bar one night a week and is in medical sales full-time during the week. In 2017 she took this new sales job and created a territory from scratch in the tri-state area.
“I was tired of my life and wanted a change” she said. “It was 100% commission but I thought ‘fuck it’ and took the job.” By the end of 2017 she’d bought a house in Canton and a new car.
Our warm, congenial conversation ended at her front door when I said, “That’s great, E. I’m happy for you.” And I was. With a genuine smile on her face she replied, “thanks, buddy.”
The car door opened, introducing my cozy cabin to the 10° weather outside, and I smiled to myself, marveling at how well people can get along when they know their role and, perhaps equally important, when they know the other is aware of their own role.
It seems to me that roles, much like etiquette in its proper form, favor the other person and there exists a definitive lack of presumption in that paradigm, don’t you think?
Anyway, E and I had a silent, understood starting point and our experience of each other was good-humored and gracious. We “fell in“ with each other quite easily.
In contrast to the demanding, self-centered and often smelly assholes I pick up from strip clubs (those poor strippers), E was breath of fresh air, someone I wish I could hang out with and get to know better.
Best wishes to E in the new year!
Gentlemen of refined taste: I highly encourage you to check out hawthorne.co, "cologne made for you". I completed their little questionnaire and ordered a bottle of their cologne based on me (I know…) which arrived today.
Truly outstanding! Check out the descriptions in the images.
The packaging doesn't indicate what type of cologne it is — Eau de Toilette, Eau de Parfum, Parfum, etc. — but I applied the it the same way I would apply my CoolWater and I'm nearly choking on "boozy oakwood, rum, tobacco and saffron."
$60 is a steal for this quality of cologne.
(The only note I would make is instead of spraying your head — which could dry out your hair — spray the back of your neck. That's where your scent lives.)
Tonight I drove two fine gentleman from Rams Head Live! in Baltimore to their home in the nations’s capital. As it turns out, we shared an affinity for Mr. Stan Gatz and listened to his smooth melodies along the way.
The Capital is quite beautiful at night. Perhaps it was the city, perhaps the music or maybe both, but whatever it was I felt inspired to gatecrash the White House and say “‘tsup?” to Mr. Trump.
In my zeal, however, I neglected to consider just how unhappy the Secret Service would be with said crashing — not to mention my auto insurance company — and in the face of their extreme displeasure I did what any sane person would do: I abandoned my car and ran like hell.
My sources on the street tell me that there’s a citywide manhunt for yours truly. How exciting! Luckily for me I keep a Groucho Marx glasses-nose-mustache combo in my glove box for occasions such as these. Subterfuge is indeed man’s second best friend.
Currently, I’m headed southwest — as most reasonable people know the northeast is full of criminals and sociopaths — and I should be in Virginia within the hour.
Yes, the Capital is quite beautiful at night.
Last night I picked up two young couples and one young 5th-wheel at the Inner Harbor and drove them to their dorm at Hopkins. The 5th-wheel paid for the ride, of course.
The women couldn’t even walk a straight line to the car, which would have been funny if it hadn’t been so sad. The 5th-wheel — we’ll call him Front Seat Man — sat next to me in a posture I am more than familiar with. “This dude is going to blow chunks,“ I thought and stepped on the gas.
Hurrying up 83 the couples in the back talked and laughed wildly while Front Seat Man looked worse and worse. “Paula,” he said quietly and I figured the girl in the back named Paula didn’t hear him. “Paula,” he said again and after a beat I wondered, “wait… is he saying ‘pull over’?”
My suspicion was confirmed when he began heaving, trying desperately to keep his mouth closed. No worries, I’ve been trained for such things.
Quickly, I reached for the seatback pocket to grab my medical grade vomit bag. Unfortunately, the woman who wasn’t named Paula was in the way, her knees redirecting my hand from the seatback pocket to between her legs and up her skirt. “Excuse me,” I said, “can you move for a second?“ She did, I grabbed the bag and handed it to Front Seat Man who, by that point, had a mouthful of his own vomit.
Snatching the bag he filled it without a drop landing on my upholstery. Everyone had become silent, as if this embarrassing display was an audition for minor part in a morbid Shakespearean play.
After his shockingly long and rather revolting audition, Front Seat Man sat back and breathed with relief. “Feel better?” I said. “Yes,” he replied and the communal jocularity ensued once more.
My refreshed and suddenly quite sober sidekick told me what a great guy I was when we arrived at the Hopkins’ dormitory. The two couples agreed, patted my shoulder, showered me with accolades and promised to give me 10 stars as they fell out of the car and stumbled toward the building door.
I’m still waiting for the stars — and the possible sexual harassment claim from the woman who wasn’t named Paula — but at least my car smells of nothing. Especially not vomit.
I drove a theoretical cryptologist from Towson to the airport who excitedly explained Zero Knowledge Proof to me. That’s some cool stuff (thank you, Waldo, for making it understandable). I wonder how many other areas of life it can be applied to.
Two 30-something, opposite sex friends were slurrily discussing the appropriate amount of dates/hookups one must have before it’s acceptable to crap in their SO’s bathroom. Four seemed to be the magic number.
After four it’s even expected: “No, dude, it’s been four times. You can’t leave, you have to crap here. You’re stuck,” the female said.
They were so genuine that I laughed the whole time, though I don’t think they noticed.
I feel badly for these women. Flirting and being propositioned by drunks is one thing but belligerence and physical contact is quite another.
I’m flirted with (by drunks) often, have been asked by a few women to take them back to my apartment (I didn’t), been offered pot (no comment) and cocaine (“no”) but have never been harassed like these poor ladies.