UBER CHRONICLES: TUESDAY MORNING MICROAGRESSION
Mike was my fellow Uber passenger. He got out to help me into the vehicle. As he got back in, he told Bob, our driver, to “Hop to it.” Bob thanked him for helping me get in.
“I’m only one man, but I do what I can,” Mike responded.
Bob then made a right on Glenwood Avenue.
“Pay attention to your GPS!” Mike exclaimed. “You were supposed to take a left there.”
Bob assured him that it would not affect our time. Mike went on, “I hope I’m not paying more attention to your GPS than you are! That’s the second time I’ve caught you doing that, and I know my blind buddy back here isn’t going to say anything!”
For the rest of the ride, Mike was silent except for his consistent sighing. As we approached Mike’s destination, Bob nicely pointed out that we were arriving 8 minutes early. Mike apologized to Bob telling him that he always gets edgy before he has a business meeting. Bob thanked him for the apology. Mike didn’t think to apologize to me. It’s almost like I wasn’t there.
I always have a hard time catching an Uber when I am downtown. The GPS just can’t get the location right, and my blindness and the occasional driver who doesn’t understand what blindness is, only serve to confuse things. Luckily, Lawrence was cool about making sure we met up. When I got in the car, I had the feeling that my fellow passenger was not too happy about the additional time that Lawrence had spent to make sure he got me. She let out an audible sigh when we started our trip. “Does he have to get dropped off first,” she asked the driver after he good-naturedly mentioned that I would be getting home next. I was happy to hear this, because she had her stuff so spread out that I was hugging the corner in a backseat built to sit two comfortably. She asked the driver to close the window in a question that sounded more like a command. She got on her phone and I tried to tune out her conversation and listen to the news broadcast Lawrence had on.
Traffic was particularly bad, because it had me, the blind guy, feeling anxious with all the stopping and going. We hit a series of bumps. “This really sucks; life really sucks!” I could hear the woman next to me saying. She had been talking on the phone in another language. I figured she just spoke certain phrases in English and continued to focus my attention on Trump, Russia and Wikileaks as we went over another series of particularly bad bumps. “I think I’m gonna have the baby now,” I thought I heard the woman say. That’s an odd thing to say over the phone, but who am I to judge what people talk about.
“I said, ‘I think i’m gonna have the baby now!’ Hello! Are you guys hearing me?”
I wondered if she had gotten off the phone and had started talking to us. I figured it was Lawrence’s responsibility to respond to her; after all, I’m just the passenger.
I recognized that “seriously!” I shouldn’t have that “seriously!” directed at me anymore. I’m not married, I thought. This was definitely Lawrence’s responsibility to respond to.
“I’m gonna have the baby now!”
Lawrence was immersed in the traffic and MSNBC. I was going to have to respond. “Um, did you say you were gonna have a baby now,” I timidly asked.
“Yes!” She said.
“Are you pregnant,” I asked.
“Yes!” She answered in frustration.
“Like, right now?”
“These bumps are causing me to have contractions.”
“Wait, are you having contractions now?” I continued the questioning.
“How far apart are they?”
“They’re not very frequent, but the one after the bump was pretty strong.”
“When are you due?”
“And you think your gonna have the baby now,” I asked.
“No! But the contraction after the bumps was strong, so I thought I’d just say I was to see if you guys were listening. And you weren’t!”
“It can’t be legal for a pregnant woman to play these mind games with a guy she doesn’t know,” I thought.
“The driver still doesn’t know what we’re talking about,” she said and began tapping him on the shoulder. “Sir, driver, I said I think I’m gonna have the baby now!”
“In the car,” Lawrence asked worriedly.
At this point, I knew this pregnant woman’s wicked game and I could have stepped in to protect him, but fuck Lawrence! Where was he when I thought I might have to deliver a newborn on my way home. I did decide to give him a tip, though.