In a world of technology where we don’t physically need to have a face to face conversation with friends or colleagues, it is interesting how our conversations in the presence of another being have become so introverted. There are times when we have a conversation with somebody we would never expect to have a good conversation with, and it usually is a good feeling. People haven’t always been so afraid to have moments like these with total strangers, so it intrigues us when we find a conversation with an elder, or just anybody that stimulates our gears and really gets us thinking outside our bubble. Naturally, you’d never expect to find those connections through a simple transportation app.
Uber has been one of those things that have really pulled me out of disconnection and withdrawals from social interaction. Strange thing to say, I know, but hear me out. Nowadays people have grown more distant with each other. I cannot stress that point enough. Depending on where you live, your experience may vary. I lived in Las Vegas for the majority of my life, and kindness isn’t foreign, but is rarely ever accepted and processed. So when you’re walking on the street, saying something like, “good morning to ya” would scare the pants off of anyone. You can't throw a rock in Vegas without hitting someone that would give you shame eyes for saying "jolly good day," and it was something I would question mentally. Canada, please show us how it's done. I used to ask myself all the time, “how have we gotten this anti social?” We just don’t speak to anyone anymore, or at least not as much as we used to physically, because we have phones that do the job for us and we barely have to lift our dainty, soft little princess hands to do it.
I myself had become a bit fragile to interaction, but the Uber app has brought me to meet many people with different thoughts, beliefs, and opinions, and has really made my inner social butterfly show herself.
Uber, (if there’s anyone out there who doesn’t know what it is), is a transportation app that allows a passenger to request a ride (much like that of a taxi) with a few personal requests that will take them to a destination for cheaper than most taxis, and it's pretty amazing and super simple to use (may taxi driving rest in peace). Your driver is displayed with information so you know his name and rating with comments on other’s personal experiences with the driver. Some drivers are silent and some drivers are talkative, it’s just a personal preference.
I am a bit shy when it comes to making conversation with somebody new, Uber has been a welcome mat for me into the world of interacting like a human. Although there were times that I got the impression that the person driving didn’t want to make conversation with me, I still found incredible depth in knowledge in those who did want to strike one up with me.
I personally use the Uber app often, so I’ve met hundreds of people, and some of the conversations I've had left me feeling heavy in my heart with inspiration. There was one Uber driver I met that left such a big impression on me—and I swear I will never forget this day. It was late and I was pretty exhausted, and needed a ride out to a friend's house, and as this big red car pulls up to me, I instantly notice the interior decorating of his car as being unique. Interestingly, he had lined the ceiling of the car in a plethora of origami animals he had made by hand. The interior of this vehicle was comparable to that of the move, Night at the Museum.
Once I was fastened safely in the back, he then proceeds to ask me on the way if I wanted to keep one of his animals. Instantly I’m thinking to myself, “that is so cute, he literally made a whole bunch of these just to give to people. I'm literally in a mobile origami pet store.” Outside of my thought cloud, he continued to tell me exactly what each animal meant spiritually, and what their importance is in Japanese culture (he was a white guy, but who cares, I was happy). The entire time this man is telling me what the animals represent, I’m overwhelmed with a feeling of pure bliss. It was so out of the ordinary for me to be that purely elated. I started to think about how genuinely kind this person was inside and out, and began to feel thankful for the experience I got to have with this individual. After my silent thoughts to myself began to veer more into focus, and I chose the crane. He hands me the crane, and to anybody else this would be such an awkward thing to be a part of, but I was seriously so in awe at this man with so much energy and humbleness. I felt like a kid in a candy store.
The woman that joined our ride was a great example of the “to anybody else this would be such an awkward thing to be a part of” thing I said before. He’s all excited to have her join with him in the front seat, and already I could just feel the rejection of his presentation. Immediately the mood shifts when he offers her an animal as he did with me, and the only reply the woman had to offer in return was a very negative scoff and a very transparent, “no.” It felt unnatural to me, but it's not my place to wonder who spit in her cereal that morning.
After that entire experience, though it seemed like one that could easily be passed over through time really stuck with me, and I started to evaluate myself and the way I was going about life at the time. Being in that situation made me feel like I wanted to be more outgoing, and to be more happy-go-lucky in a sense, because at the time I was just miserable and angry at the world and had no self control. The reason I called this silly article "Uber Therapy" was because these conversations had been ones I should have been getting to enhance myself as a being, but haven’t been getting from the everyday circle I had. It was like the universe's way of being like, “hey, I know it’s been tough lately, but here's a person that can help you out in 20 minutes," and it was therapeutic because it created a door way to open to coping and self awareness.
One of the more recent conversations I had with an Uber driver was simply about technology, and how a lot of kids don’t want to be outside anymore because they’re more interested in their Minecraft world, and mining for diamonds than the real world, and learning about actual value (which is funny and made me giggle).
My Uber driver had brought up a really good point to me that I hadn’t really thought about in the change in the generations through the distraction of tech. He mentioned how most kids growing up nowadays don’t even know how to sew the holes in their clothing, or how to prepare an entire meal for themselves, and I began to think. Sewing isn't everything of course, but it's just a simple example. I am so lucky that I had parents that wanted to teach me those things because it’s completely true. I mean now you can just look up, “how to sew my pants together,” but I think the trend today is to have holes anyways, and I'm totally guilty. We started talking about how children are too sheltered, and are a bit spoiled in nearly any class rank someway and somehow, and it jolted a form of adrenaline, and I just wanted to keep on having that conversation. Nobody really talks to me about these sorts of things because everyone has guilt, and denial in that guilt, so nobody could relate, so this conversation in the depth that it went to was very useful to me, because it acted as an opportunity to vent in a way that I usually wouldn't.
These interactions with people could happen outside of the Uber community (obviously), but when you’re a passenger in a car it’s more personal, and limited to one direction rather than if you just wanted to have a deep conversation with a stranger while at the store or out with your friends at a pub. The limitations of being in an enclosed space with minimal people usually strikes up better opportunities to talk about where you’re from, and what your intentions are as a person. A lot of my Uber drivers would ask me what I wanted to do in life, and in return I’d ask them the same question. I’ve gotten to learn so much about people, although I’d probably never see him/ her ever again. It’s just a much needed thing in life. Being around a person, and really going into depth with people could really teach us something. I’ve learned a lot in these moments, and it’s funny, but I’d like to sit and appreciate it.
Learn from everybody young and old. Just talk to people, you never know who in what circumstance could really impact you, and you'd be amazed at what you find in yourself through other people.