I love weddings. At least, I think I do. I think I went to one as a kid but I can't recall. Maybe it was all in my head. I've seen enough of them in movies, though, and seen people posting photos and videos of them all over social media so I think I'd love them if I ever attended one. The season was early spring, and where I live, that means still having snow storms, crappy weather, rain every other day that turns into ice overnight, constant overcasts, and "out of the blue" storms out to ruin everything right up next to their buddy freezing gusts of wind. Despite this, the coronavirus had forced everybody indoors for too long and ruined too many people's plans for weddings and other ceremonies. They just weren't having it anymore, and as soon as some of the social restrictions were lifted, people were grabbing whatever venue they could possibly get, not caring what the weather said otherwise.
For this particular group, the wedding was in the Inner City on top of a very tall hotel which was squished between other very tall buildings all crammed together overlooking the noisy, crowded, and somewhat hazardous streets below. The drop off location for this hotel was right around a tight corner in the city, making it very dangerous to stop at to allow people out since other drivers would come zooming around the corner as fast as possible, not realizing that there was a hotel there that people were stopping at. The hotel didn't even have an inlet to allow for the drop off and pick up of people, requiring them to simply stop on the street, the only parking available costing $10 a vehicle per hour which was not rideshare friendly.
The day was cloudy, the type of day where it rains a little bit and then stops, then rains again, then stops again, just enough to ruin the entire day instead of just getting it all done and over with all at once. It was the kind of day that most people would glance outside, go "nope" and get their indoor chores done instead. Not these people, however. They were going to have their wedding no matter what...on top of a tall hotel building on the roof during a pandemic in the rain.
My first trip of the time was way down in Far Away Little Town, picking up a nice couple dressed in a lovely set. They told me how they'd invited down Grandma to watch their child so that they could attend this wedding and how glad they were that they could find a ride during the pandemic, afraid that they were going to miss the wedding of their friend. I was actually a bit surprised when I pulled up to the hotel. I had been expecting to see a lovely venue or something, and as I pulled to the side of the Inner City hotel, I glanced back at the couple whom I'd just driven about forty minutes, asking if I had the correct place. "Oh yes, it's on the rooftop," said the guy, "They have tables up there or something I think."
I glanced at the overcast sky which threatened to start raining again, wishing them the best of luck as they got out of the car, the lady wondering if they'd have any sort of cover on the roof for if it started to rain. Meanwhile, some of the employees at the hotel greeting people was giving me the dirty look for daring to pause in front of the hotel to drop off my passengers instead of paying the $10 to go through the parking lot which I'd not get refunded for in the first place. Pretending that I didn't see his disapproving glare and the way he kept waving his hand at me to move along, I headed back out again once my clients were in the door, having already accepted another trip in the area.
Normally I don't like driving around the Inner City because the roads are hazardous, filled with building-consuming potholes, and there are no lines on the roads. It is filled with one-way streets which would be fine if they had signs anywhere but you have no idea which way is the one-way. Even if you figure it out, construction is always changing it. I've several times come upon a double sign which pointed in two different direction, stating "one way only" while pointing in opposing directions. Cars are parked everywhere, and people will stop on a dime since there's no area to pull over in the city. Drivers tended to drive around beat-up vehicles which often times left car parts over the road if they took a turn too quickly of which they always did. Stop signs, red lights, and right-of-way did not exist in Inner City, and people drove like madmen, not caring about other drivers on the road or how they may harm their vehicles. My state has a no-fault car insurance approach which basically boils down to it not mattering whose fault it is for the accident: everybody pays for their own stuff. So people in these literal duct-taped vehicles would zoom around carelessly not caring if they hit an expensive car because they'd not have to pay for it anyway. Most of them didn't even have car insurance themselves or even a license or car registration because, more often than not, on the super rare occasion a cop was in the area to pull them over or get involved during an accident, they always let them go. It was completely political, and Inner City cops would prefer to let Inner City drivers do whatever they wanted rather than be the next cop on the news being accused of police brutality or racism or sexism. Personally, I don't mind the Inner City having their own sort of culture and don't get involved in the politics. I just don't want my car - my way of making a living - to get smashed up.
Unfortunately, I had already accepted another ride, not realizing at the time that my previous passenger was going to the Inner City. So I took this ride, making sure to mark my app to go offline after I picked them up. Even on the way to them, a little noisy sports car flew through a red light, almost hitting me while cussing me out and flipping me the finger for daring to proceed on my own green light.
I managed to make it to my passenger in one piece, picking up a lady who was dressed in a very lovely green outfit which complimented her skin tone perfectly. She stepped carefully though the puddles of rain on the ground as she made the way to the car. I glanced at her as I confirmed her name, complimenting her on her lovely dress. She smiled, thanking me and telling me that she was going to a wedding. Curious, I started up the rideshare app, recognizing the address. It was the same hotel I'd just dropped the other couple off at.
"Oh, I know this one," I smiled as I started off, "I just dropped a couple off. It's on the rooftop, isn't it?" My passenger got very interested, asking me who I had dropped off. I told her the names and what they looked like as she started waving and going on her phone all excited. "Those are my friends!" she exclaimed, "I didn't think they'd make it!" She proceeded to tell me how they had issues finding a babysitter for their young child, and I replied that they'd called down Grandma so they were at the wedding. My passenger was very excited, texting her friends and telling them that she had the same rideshare driver.
Once more I pull up in front of the hotel as it starts to drizzle some. My passenger asks me if I know if they have tents on the roof or anything. I shrug and say I honestly had no idea but her friends may know since they were up there. Once more, the same employee outside greeting people glared at me, approaching as he waved his hands, telling me to move on (as though I could with my door open and somebody literally getting out of the car). I vaguely wondered if he remembered me from a half hour ago and thought I was just stupid or rude for pulling up to the doorway. I certainly wasn't going to make my passengers walk in their nice dresses and high heels down the Inner City streets (the front area was supposed to be reserved for valet only).
Having turned off my app, once I dropped off the passenger, I slowly and carefully made my way through the Inner City towards the highway, having to stop twice to not get hit by people racing at 30mph over the speed limit and running red lights as their cars swerved between lanes. It was very tense for me but I finally made it out and onto the highway. Just to be safe, I drove another twenty minutes before I turned my app back on. Immediately, I got another request, pulling off the highway to pick up another passenger.
I could tell that this passenger was in a hurry. I hadn't even finished coming to a stop, and the young man was opening up the door to the car and hoping in with a very "I'm so late" look upon his face as he quickly shut the door, practically screaming out his name to confirm it before I could finish asking to make sure I had the right passenger. Not wanting to delay this man who was obviously late any further, I started up the app without even looking at the destination, not wanting to invoke ire by confirming that as well and just assuming he had put it in correctly. He was dressed in a nice suit so I figured that he was late for an important work meeting or something or perhaps an interview at a big company; they did not tolerate tardiness at such things, even if somebody couldn't find a ride.
As I get back on the highway, the young man gets on his phone, switching from one person to the next, telling them all things like "I'll be there soon" or "I couldn't get a ride for an hour!" I felt bad but I had come as soon as I got the call, and it really wasn't my fault he couldn't get a ride any sooner. I simply kept quiet as I drove, the man obviously irritated and not wanting to draw that on myself.
As we drove, I realized that we were going back into the city. I mentally sighed; I'd obviously not gone far enough. Driving there during the daytime and weekday was fine for it was people going to work or doing their business but the evenings and weekends were just far too dangerous, people out partying and driving while high, drunk, or both as well as people racing around and showing off so I avoided the Inner City during that time. Once more I clicked off my app as I entered Inner City.
Finally, the man appeared to be done with his phone, sighing some as he calmed down. He glanced up at me, telling me that he was very late to a wedding and he was the groom's brother. I paused a moment, double-checking the drop-off location before I grinned, "Oh, is this at the hotel? On the rooftop?" The man paused a moment, "You know the place?" "Something like that," I replied with a slight smirk as we drove.
By the time we got to the hotel, it had started raining again. The man practically leapt out of my still-moving car as he ran into the hotel, the same employee glaring pure daggers at me as I glanced the other way, my turn signal on in order to get back into traffic as though I somehow magically didn't see him for the third time in a row.
I decided to go home after that. If anybody else had to go to that wedding, they were going to be really, really late, and I was not willing to take the blame for that. I do hope, however, that they had tents up on the roof and some sort of enclosure because it was storming and the wind was brutal even on the ground level. I could only imagine what it was like on the rooftop. Never trust Michigan weather, after all.
About the author
In 2nd grade, my teacher kept me after class. I thought I was in trouble. Rather, she told me that she wanted to publish my class assignment which was a 30 page short story. The assignment was one page. I have been writing ever since.