Try Life & Tip Your Driver

Both of my cars are in the shop this morning. No worries — it’s just something you learn to accept when you own two old vehicles, plus I’m thankful I have the means to get them fixed and I’ve yet to mourn the loss of car payments.

So I hopped on my bicycle to ride to the coffee shop.

Only the tires were flat.

And I found my electric pump — which, I’m telling you, is a major upset in the game of Jeff Riley’s Garage — only to then realize my electric pump plugs only into a car outlet thingy. And I seem to be out of cars at the moment.


So I sort of half-ride, half-walk it across the street to the gas station. Across four lanes of traffic at morning rush hour. I felt like Brooks in Shawshank Redemption: “Everybody went and got themselves in a big damned hurry!”

The half-walk part came into play when the chain broke. Did I mention it’s thick as thieves out, a late June day in the South that his headed toward 90+ degrees?

And so much for tossing a couple of quarters into the air pump. It’s a $1.50 credit-card charge. I don’t need $1.50 worth of air. I need about 37 cents worth. Not to mention the Russian hackers who no doubt just secured the rights to my bank account.

Oh, and the connecting thingy wouldn’t connect to my tire stem thingies. I flattened the only half-full tire while figuring that one out.

So I’m pushing it back home again, across four lanes of traffic again, only this time $1.50 lighter. And you know how you sit around half a day waiting for automotive service technicians to call? Well, that’s not the case when you’re trying to push your bike across four lanes of traffic at 7:40 in the morning.

My phone is ringing in my pocket.

I return home, put the bike back in the garage, and call Uber.

10 minutes into my 12-minute wait, he cancels. No explanation.

Next up, Edzer.

He picks me up, and we’re off.

Are we ever.

Turns out Edzer is a student at NC State. Working on this third degree. 1. Chemistry, 2. Something else in science I didn’t understand because I’m a Liberal Arts major, and 3. He’ll finish a master’s in data science next month.

He speaks with a very thick Caribbean accent that he says is part French, part Creole.

He is quite animated and his smile fills the cab of his Jeep, which rattles along as he explains how perfect an Uber career is for students, that he lives on campus but likes the quiet of places like my quaint hamlet in the suburbs (gesturing toward

IMG_6485the trees: “Look! So beautiful!”), he’s excited to see new places and meet new people this morning, and that he’s from Haiti and has lived here 10 years. His father demanded he and his brothers move here after their mother died. He first lived outside Manhattan, but moved here to go to school. “I like the people there. The energy. But I like the people here, too. They are funny!”

Yeah, we’re funny alright. You should meet my Nissan service technician and those 7:40 a.m. calls of his while I’m crossing traffic.

Edzer’s country is still in ruins from earthquakes, hurricanes, rampant corruption, poverty, plus God knows what else — but he’s excited to visit next month “to say Hi to my mother.” He’s essentially walking off that stage with his third degree and walking onto an airplane headed to Haiti.

Me: <the door half-open upon our arrival and a foot on the pavement>

Edzer: “She is buried there. I have not been there since she died. I will go to talk to her.”

Me: <nothing>

Edzer: “She died of cancer. That’s why I am going into science. I’m going to cure cancer. I want to tell her that.”

Tip your Uber drivers, folks.


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