Want a Ride? Conversations from an Uber
Editor's Note: Maria Clark drives for Uber, and she has fallen in love with the conversations she gets to have while making all kinds of turns throughout New Orleans. She has compiled her stories, and will be publishing them on both NolaVie as well as her "Want a Ride?" Facebook page.
Stan, the Toilet-Paper Guy
I called Stan. The pin drop on the app showed that he was somewhere under the U.S. 90 overpass over by the convention center.
"Stan. Hi, it's Maria, your Uber driver. Am I looking for a conventioneer or a homeless vet?"
"The former! Bald guy in a blue shirt with a briefcase."
He ran across the street as I turned onto Calliope.
"Sorry about that. I'm still getting to know the app."
"What convention are you here for?" I asked, hoping I wasn't driving another medical device nerd.
"Yes, it's pretty small. We are part of a national group of bathroom tissue manufacturers. Toilet paper, Kleenex. There's about 100 of us in total."
"So you all know each other."
"Yup, we're a small collective. Just got out of a meeting that discussed a new type of glue that can be applied to help toilet paper dissolve at a faster rate."
"Wow. Glue in toilet paper? No wonder it sometimes gets stuck to your butthole. Do you guys have beef with the creators of adult handy wipes?"
"Those guys are in an entirely different universe altogether. Handy wipes don't break down when you flush them. They end up clogging pipes and ultimately water treatment systems."
We were approaching the Marriott on Canal Street.
"Stan. One last question. When people ask you what you do, do you say, "I'm in toilet paper."
"Yes, actually I do. We have fun in our collective. "
Three bachelorettes positioned themselves behind the tiny screen trying to frame the selfie just right. The flash went off, momentarily blinding their Uber driver.
"Red lipstick selfie!!" They chanted simultaneously.
As the car turned down a side street, a little white cat crawled out from under a car.
"Ooooo a kitteh. Poor kitteh. Do people save kittehs here?" the rider asked the Uber driver.
"Sometimes. Mostly they fend for themselves or die."
"So sad,"she remarked.
"A cat once gave me ringworm," her friend added.
The flash went off again, a white glare on the rearview mirror.
"Red lipstick selfie!!!!"
Kelley Crawford is a professor, writer, mentor, dancer, and constant questioner. If you would like to contact Kelley Crawford, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.