Uber Tales (18)

Uber Musings

I sit under pleasant trees in pleasant suburbs having driven mostly pleasant people there. I smoke cigarettes thinking about something to write. I end up just smoking cigarettes. This is what I do now. I sit under pleasant trees trying to think a thought. I sometimes get one, but not now. Now I just sit. My fingers do not touch the keyboard of my computer. I light another smoke.

“What do you blog about?” my passengers ask when I refer them to my ‘world famous blog’. At first I hum and ha about ‘nothing and everything’. Then I think I’m clever and say: “Go to chuckv.co.za and see for yourself.” Ten percent of my passengers do not like that ‘attitude’ from an Uber driver and give me a 1-star rating. Uber drivers must not have attitude. I must make amends. I can’t go around with a rating of 4.63. I hide my food in my UberEats bag. I’ve never used it for Uber. Uber drivers are not supposed to eat or have food in their car boots.

My friend Bert says I must dress better. I put on chinos and a golf shirt. It kinda works. I go up to 4.67. Thanks Bert. I sit in Springs, thinking of Bert and all the things he did for South African music. From Springs. The kindness and moral generosity he and the Voelvry tour of that year way back brought me.

I sit under a tree on Wankie Street in Springs, thinking I must write something. I light a smoke instead when I get a call. Springs is good to me. It takes me back to Parktown and then my friend Vince’s birthday celebration at the Radium Beerhall a mere 5.6km away. Should I write about that or the fact that I told Vince that I wouldn’t be able to attend having to work? I wonder.

The fact that I resist the temptation to call it a day by 1pm on the sweltering Saturday that follows may also warrant some kind of essay. I walk into the Xai to refresh my ice with which I keep the water I keep for my guests cold. Majec, the Polish cellist is sitting there with a tall fresh golden beer of such a handsome aspect that … I resist and step back into the blazing sun.

my-kind-of-street

My kind of street…

Once back in my boiling car I immediately get a call. This time it’s from my good acquaintance Richard, who also happens to enter my world of ‘doubles’. “He’s probably going to the Rosebank Gautrain station,” I think while driving to his house. That will take me firmly out of the temptation zone that is Melville.

Richard appears, not lugging luggage, but bearing a bunch of flowers and a bottle of booze. He’s going to a party at my friend Bert’s house. I sigh. The gods or whatever has spoken. I think of writing something about that, but light a smoke instead. As an atheist I’m surprised by the serendipities attending my Uber activities with such regularity. What is one to make of them? I light up a smoke and sip on Bert’s excellent G&T.

Shall I rather discuss the success of my holiday strategy? Maybe I could make something of that? So far sitting in leafy suburbs and avoiding the busy areas has been lucrative. My average waiting time has increased from 10-15 minutes to 20-30 minutes, but not much else has changed except that my feet no longer hurt from Sandton and Joburg CBD traffic. Shall I write about that? Nope. It’s too boring.

“So what do you write about?” a passenger asks. Then it strikes me. Hiding in plain sight. There it is! I write about ‘My South Africa’. It’s not the South Africa going to hell in a hand-basket you read about in the papers. It’s not the near Banana Republic you hear about everywhere.

It is the one where I know all the potholes and missing manhole covers personally. Yes, they are actually so few that after a hard storm you drive along and spot a new one, you know it’s new and make a mental note of it. It is the one with the many speedbumps I also know personally (even an atheist can tell you they’re the work of Satan without blanching). It is the one with racial harmony in my car and in the bar I frequent. It is the South Africa of the non-event where I sit under pleasant trees in pleasant suburbs having driven mostly pleasant people there with my only concern being if I should make my next stop Parkwood or Parkview?

In Craighall Park, I light another smoke, satisfied that I can write, right?

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Chuckv

December 20th


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