I’ve been traveling a lot in the last few months, going to big cities like Boston, San Francisco and Seattle. One major difference between big city and small town life is how we get around. Here, we use our feet and our cars. In big cities, they Uber.
In the unlikely event some of you are even less hip than I am, let me explain that Uber is a kind of taxi service that is all the rage now in most cities. Unlike conventional licensed, yellow taxis, Uber taxis are ordinary Joes driving their own cars.
Anybody can hire themselves out. They sign up online with Uber, prove they aren’t ax murderers (I assume) and Uber adds their name to the list of approved drivers. A rider downloads the Uber app on their smart phone, gives their credit card info, and hails a cab electronically. Uber handles the transaction for a fee and nobody carries cash.
My mom strictly impressed upon me that you never take rides from strangers. This was even worse than taking candy from them. Yet this is something my 20-somethng daughters do routinely. I’m not too thrilled by the idea, frankly, but it’s now part of everyday life.
This is so common it has become a verb. You don’t “call an Uber” like you’d call a taxi. You don’t “catch the Uber” like you’d catch the bus. You just “Uber.”
When I was visiting relatives in Seattle, my younger and much more cosmopolitan cousin must have mentioned Ubering as a transportation option at least half a dozen times. I finally replied that I wasn’t familiar with it because we didn’t have it at home.
She looked at me blankly.
“Uber.” I clarified. “I don’t think we have that. Don’t need it, really. My office is in town, so I can walk to the bank, the post office, the doctor’s office – even city hall is just a block away. For everything else, most folks just hop in their cars.”
She was too polite to call me a clueless, country bumpkin, but the look on her face said it all. I realized I had just described life in Mayberry.
“Round ‘bout where we-all live,” I explained further, “we don’t Uber: we Goober.”
“Whenever we need a ride, we ring up Sarah on the telephone party line and she calls Goober down at Wally’s Garage & Gas Station.” I said.
“You need a ride? Go-o-olly!” says Goober. “Sure thing! I just gotta finish changin’ a tire on this ‘56 Dodge pickup, then I’ll be down to getcha in two shakes of a lamb’s tail. Shazam!”
- Took your best girl for a bite at the Bluebird Diner, and it’s pouring down rain when it’s time to go home? Better Goober.
- Need to get over to Mount Pilot? Better Goober.
- Put the “Gone fishing” sign on the door for an afternoon at Myers Lake and now your car won’t start? Better Goober.
I was wrong about one thing, though. I checked online when I got home from Seattle, and it turns out we DO have Uber around here. That’s who Goober uses after he’s had too many glasses of Aunt Bee’s elderberry wine.