community

Kurt

I haven’t written at all about my rideshare driving experience even though I have loads of great stories. 95% of the time I meet people who are interesting and/or kind. 4% of the time it’s just pleasant, but nothing to write home about or store in my brain. .7% is time that I won’t get back, and the other .3% are miserable human beings who are so miserable with their own lives they behave like an asshole. This morning I was inspired after my encounter with Kurt.

I arrived at the given address and my blue dot was right smack on top of the location pick up pin. It was a very busy morning at the Little America Hotel, chaotic even. Lots of people, mostly women, waiting. People loading luggage into suburbans and piling into them. The one man waiting didn’t budge when he saw me pull up.

So I text this person I’m trying to find.

“Hey Kurt, are you at the Little America?”

This is a nice way of saying, “Hey, I’m here. Where are you?”

He responds almost immediately.

“I’m at 500 Main Street. Where are you?”

I respond.

“I’m at the Little America, right where the pin is.”

He responds.

“When I put in 500 Main Street, I expect to be picked up at 500 Main Street.”

I think to myself, wow, what a douchebag. I get out of my car and ask the valet person, “what’s the address here?” It isn’t posted, and I know 555 Main Street is The Grand America across the street.

“500 Main Street. What are you looking for?”

“500 Main Street”

“Did you call the person?”

“I texted him. He told me that when he puts in 500 Main Street, he expects to be picked up at 500 Main Street.”

Valet person smiles, his blue eyes twinkle just a bit.

“Well, you’re at 500 Main Street.”

“Yep.” I get back in my car.

There’s a message from Kurt.

“I’ve had this problem with Uber before.”

I respond.

“500 Main Street is the Little America.”

I close out the conversation, because I have nothing more to say. I don’t know who Kurt thinks he is, but now he needs to find another ride. Immediately after I hit cancel, another person a few minutes away pops up.

She gets in my car. I ask her how her morning is going. She says it’s fine. She asks me how my morning is going. I tell her about Kurt. We laugh and she agrees that he can go fuck himself. We have a nice conversation about people who think they are important and entitled and behave like assholes. Turns out she’s my neighbor down the street.

Later, as I’m giving the play by play to my mother on the phone, I realize that I have new material for my yoga class. Who knows how the rest of Kurt’s morning went, or how the rest of his time in Salt Lake will be. Who knows why Kurt is apparently miserable. Wouldn’t surprise me if he has a difficult time wherever he goes. It is important to remember how and what we contribute to our shared experiences. We get much further in life, in this case literally (even though he was just going somewhere on State Street one Brigham Young block east), when we treat people with kindness.

FWIW, Uber does have Community Guidelines. It plainly states that riders and drivers are expected to treat each other with respect. Kurt failed this morning.

neighbors

A year ago February I was desperately sick with flu, had two cats, and the office where I worked was moving to The Basement at the end of the week. I needed it to go well. The younger of my two cats, not yet 6 months old, was heavy footed. My downstairs neighbor had complained months before about the footsteps. I made a conscious effort to keep him out of my bedroom in the mornings while I got ready for work, and they presumably were trying to sleep. it seemed like it hadn't been an issue for awhile.

one night, a few days before the big move, i woke up at 3am to put steam in my face hoping to move the illness along and out of my life. Hank thought it was time to play. I was so ill and focused on steam in my face, I did nothing to stop him. My downstairs neighbor knocked on my door. I recognized him and opened it. 

"I may be black, but I'm not stupid," is what he said to me. "You have to be kidding me it's a cat making that noise."

(In all fairness, Hank was heavy footed. you wouldn't expect it from a kitten, it was sort of unbelievable.) Oliver made his way to the door at this point, ready to say hello. He is not heavy footed, but he is a cat, nonetheless.

"You're telling me this isn't a cat?" I said. I was a little angry with his opening. I hadn't tried to pull a fast one on him. I felt like shit. I needed sleep. There was no 40-lb dog stashed in my apartment. It was in fact a cat making the noise, even if it wasn't Oliver. 

Then, he called me a bitch. I slammed the door and locked it, told him I'd call the fucking cops. He kicked my door several times. It may have been after he kicked the door I threatened calling the cops, even though that was the last thing I wanted. It was scary and not a highlight of my living experience here. But I really have no tolerance for being called a bitch in my own home, and I'm not good with aggression. 

It's been more civil since then, but we certainly wouldn't hang out. I can hear them fighting downstairs all the time, and I have been wishing she'd kick him out. 

Until this evening, when it changed.  I was on my way out, he was throwing the football around with his 8-year old son. HIs wife stood by watching, cane in hand. I asked if I could play. So fun. We played for 10-15 minutes. I had to run a quick errand, the reason for the departure from my apartment. When I returned, Keating, the kid, repeatedly announced, "she's back, she's back, she's back!" So sweet. We threw the ball around some more. This time my Super was there to throw and catch, too. 

Downstairs neighbor thanked me for playing and invited me to play flag football with his friends in the park.

Love it. We all won.