Uber Tales (6)

The Love of My Life

“Trust me,’ my friend Jan says, ‘you can’t work seven days a week. You must have a day on which you decide that you’re not going to work and stick by it.” “Look,’ I say, ‘I have to pay you back the money I owe you and the bank and Eric and Daan. I’m in a deep hole and besides, it’s not work. At least, it doesn’t feel like work. I love it. I’m rolling three things that I love into one. I’m on a permanent roadtrip, I get to talk shit about my favourite subject to random strangers and they pay me for the privilege. Show me the downside. It’s a win-win-win situation.”

“What’s your favourite subject that you subject your riders to?” Jan asks, inadvertently using the Polyptoton figure of speech. That’s when you use the same word in different ways. I’m also fond of that. When my guests have luggage I instruct them thus: “Leave the luggage alone, I alone shall lug the luggage.” They like that without even noticing the Polyptoton, I think. “Myself,” I say.

Uber calls them ‘Riders’, but for a man of the word, that appellation sits uncomfortably with me. Who is riding whom? The mind shudders at the mere thought. I call them guests and treat them as such. They like that, I guess.

“I also stand the chance of meeting the love of my life again. If 99% of statistics is made up on the spot, I’ll say that 98% of my guests are nubile professional females. It’s as if I’m also in a free speed-dating venue in my car. Most of them are too young for me, but one may dream.”

“It was that young Indian girl Megan who got me thinking about love again. Damn her. Now whenever a female name appears on my call, I not only practise it aloud while driving to pick her up, I also try to visualise her in my mind. Some of these names are real tongue twisters, but I mostly get them right which pleases my guests. I like pleasing my guests.”


“Take for instance that newspaper article about me which I now have laminated. I foist it on them with the following instruction: ‘It’s compulsory for you to have a glimpse at my fame. You don’t have to read the Afrikaans. Just look at the pictures and say ‘oh wow that’s cool’. Then you can hand the article back to me and I’ll leave you in peace, but not before telling you that I also have free Wi-Fi in the car. “Oh wow!” they say and add: “That’s really cool!”

The beauty of the Wi-Fi is that very few people avail themselves of it, but everybody is impressed that it’s available. Win-win-win.

Now the girls, the girls, yes, the girls. I see them, they see me not. They’re blossoming, I’m smiling and fading at the same time. I love them all the same. How can one not love beauty?

This morning I took time out with two of my guests, Elna and Denise, to go see the Matisse exhibition at the Standard Bank Gallery at 1 Simmonds Street. It was inspirational and you should do the same. Not take time out with Elna and Denise, but go see the exhibition. In Europe you would have had to queue in the cold or burning sun to see something similar, not to mention pay a huge price and jostling with Japanese. In downtown Joburg you just walk in for free. For once I can thank a bank. Thanks Standard Bank.

Oh, yes, the love of my life. The love of my life is doing what I am doing and I can do it seven days a week.


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July 18th


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