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Sep 20, 201609:54 AM
The Lighter Side

Exploring the humor and peculiarities of the Big Easy

In which I mourn the loss of my beloved bike

And turn to Uber

I ride my bike to work. Usually I love it; it’s something that I’ve come to look forward to because it’s both a good way to wake the hell up before a shift and then wind down afterward. It’s also nice just to get some daily exercise that you don’t have to squeeze into your day. It’s a necessity; it’s just there.

I had a gorgeous bike. A blue hybrid. It was light and rode so well, we were one. Sure, it was older, but it was nice and my dad bought it for me when I was still in high school. I loved that thing. And then it was stolen. I was devastated.

I know, I know – it’s a common thing in New Orleans to have your bike stolen. So very common. Even one of the guys I work with said, “You got your bike stolen? It’s official, you’re now a resident of New Orleans. Congratulations.” I’m like, “Yeah, I feel so welcome here.”

So now I’m riding my other bike, a seriously crappy beach cruiser I had just in case someone visited me and we needed to get around and not bother with a car.

Then I came out of work at the end of the day and someone had stolen the seat off of it. I stood there shaking my head and raising my hands in the air for 10 minutes, like, why.

I’m not buying another bike to ride to and from work. But I was like, really? My seat, too?

So for a few weeks I refused to ride my bike anywhere. Primarily because it had no seat, but really because I was done. I started thinking that maybe the universe was trying to tell me something. Maybe it was hinting for me to lay off bikes for a while.

So I took Uber to work for a few weeks. Did it end up being expensive? Maybe, but it was cheaper than a cab in the end and preferable to taking the bus or even walking. Actually it was way preferable to walking in this heat.

Uber has, of course, been around for awhile, however it is still fairly new to our city. But it seems to have grown quite a bit lately. I feel like locals have been embracing it in a way we never have with cabs, as it’s just so damn convenient and even more accessible. (It’s meant to be a cashless experience, but a lot of people do tip.) You don’t have to always be carrying a lot of money on you. Also, you practically just press a button on your phone and a car shows up. It’s the best sort of instant gratification.

Another difference from cabs, which occasionally can be a drawback, is that Uber drivers tend to be a bit chattier. For me, this has been a source of serious amounts of entertainment. I’ve never been in a cab where I’d describe the person as an “oversharer,” but boy would I describe a few Uber drivers that way. It’s almost as if a drive could be seen as a five-to-10-minute therapy session. Other drivers take the opposite route, expecting me to overshare. One guy asked me a string of questions that basically had me questioning the meaning of it all.

 

“So you’re a waitress?” (When they find out I work at a restaurant, they always assume I’m a server.)

“No sir, I cook.”

“So you work a lot of crazy hours? Nights and weekends?”

“Yes, sir.”

“You want a family?”

“I have a family. Thanks!”

 

I know what a statement like that implies. I’m used to it. Do guys ever get asked these questions in Ubers?

On the other end of the spectrum, I was once picked up by someone I’ll always think of as the Uber guru. It was right after a grueling day, I had been on my feet for days, running practical marathons in the kitchen, and I finally got to sit down in the loveliest air-conditioned van. The driver asked if I was OK. I said I was great now I was now off of work, but that I needed a little break because my feet were hurting so badly. I said that I’m not as young as I used to be and I don’t recover quite as well these days.

He laughed and said, “You’re so young. You’ve a lot left to give. I can tell.”

Man, that made my day.

During another Uber drive, the driver and I spent a good five minutes making fun of Ryan Lochte. It was a good time.

Sometimes these guys can be like 10-minute best friends. And in other situations, it can be blissful silence.

This week, though, I have to go back to my beach cruiser. It was a nice little luxury, being driven around town, but now I have to go back to my bike. I got a new seat and and made sure it was one a person couldn’t steal. Although I’m sure there are ways.

But if you’re in a bind, like someone has stolen the seat off your bike, I say call Uber. Or don’t, actually, just press a button and one will appear.

 

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The Lighter Side

Exploring the humor and peculiarities of the Big Easy

about

Annie Drummond is a graphic designer and artist from Columbus, Ohio. She has a degree from the Columbus College of Art & Design. Two years ago she made the move from the Midwest to New Orleans' Bywater neighborhood and fell deeply in love as she discovered the rhythms and traditions of her new city. In addition to The Lighter Side, she writes about food, art and design (and other stuff) at www.AnniedelaDolce.com.

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