My first Uber Pool ride led to an unexpected night as I left the vehicle with two new friends. Who knew a friendship could blossom between two sets of strangers that were randomly picked up by Uber. Also, I finally learned what a bathroom party actually means.
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The uber man's phone lit up and disturbed a deep day dream I was having. Although an avid Uber user, this was my first Uber Pool experience. I was coming from Bushwick, Brooklyn and heading back to what felt like the other side of the world -- Harlem. He played with the screen, turned towards the back seat, and asked me if he could pick someone up. I am not quite sure what the pool etiquette is. So, the first thing that came to my mind was to say yes, just to please him, just to see how this was going to go. So there we were, picking up whoever was the lucky or unlucky girl or guy that will have the pleasure or displeasure of this Uber Pool ride. In short -- this ride can go in any direction and play out many ways, including the very real possibility of it being absolutely boring, absolutely story-less. But the fact is -- it was anything but boring.
Two ladies walked towards the vehicle. One opened the door and immediately said, "this Uber smells funny," and proceeded to climb in anyway. I immediately disliked her. Was she suggesting that I smell? Or that the vehicle smelled? My confusion turned into high defense. I was suddenly protective of this driver and the contraption that I've sat in for about ten minutes. The other chick flicked her cigarette into the sidewalk and sat next to me with considerable distance between us. They were much more drunk than I was. I was quite jealous of their inebriation.
The very outspoken one kept talking about this "new friend," which I quickly realized was me. This wasn't her first rendezvous. She asked for the aux cord from the Uber driver and he complied. This wasn't his first rendezvous either. "Let me know if you think this sucks," she fussed over the cord in the passenger side and pressed all over the touch screen like a baby slamming a puzzle with her fist. "Yeah," I said. A part of me just wanted to get home. I was counting down the seconds before I can get rid of them. But I also knew one crucial thing -- this entire impression will be dependent on this first track that she will play. She has one more chance to change my mind about her. She played Drake - "Back to Back". Hold up. Wait. Done. We were friends for life. That may have been the champagne speaking. She followed up with The Weeknd and I was already asking myself, "Why haven't we been friends before?"
Next thing you know, I'm shutting the Uber door behind me many many miles away from my initial destination. I am sitting next to the girls at a bar in Brooklyn. I ordered the usual Vodka Soda. They both had a beer and a shot of tequila. I liked how this was going. On a Sunday night. The bartendress came back and gave us three complimentary Jell-O shots. This quickly led to -- "We don't normally do this but you can totally come with us to the bathroom party." A couple loose translations entered my mind. But I was already in a bar with complete strangers in a strange place. I wasn't going to draw a line now. I took up their invitation. I quickly understood that the bathroom party actually existed in her pocket wrapped in black party crepe paper. I remember because we laughed about it. The party went from the little pouch, to the tip of a raw brass key, and in their gentle noses. I kindly declined, "I have work tomorrow." What I really meant to say was this is where I draw the line. And we laughed about how her ex probably had a massive plan to invade every bar she goes to by littering their bathrooms with stickers.
We left the bathroom as casually as we walked in. At the bar, we got more curious about each other's lives. Who had hurt us last. Who we had last hurt. What we did for a living, egging each other's passions on. How we never got along with girls growing up but somehow we found company in each other right now. Fast forward an hour later, one said, "Let's go to this other bar?" We walked ten steps and landed in our next destination. This time I had what they were having. Can't say no to tequila, can I? This time, the people around us were entertaining me. The bartender divulged how he made a girl cry earlier. The two older ladies next to us high-fived me for being a fellow Libra. The alcohol was having a blood race in my veins. I drunkenly scribbled on a a bar napkin, "nothing interesting but what's in front of you". I may or may not have taken another shot. It may or may not have been whiskey. I called another Uber Pool. "Shit, missed that one." So, I called another one. I walked outside, hugged my new friends, waved farewell to the gentlemen keeping them company, and climbed into my last vehicle of the evening. I was finally heading home.