The 36th day

Up early. The sun cannot be seen. Trying to make up from lost time from Monday and Tuesday. My daily quota was half of what it should be. Stupid glitch. The glitch wasn’t showing my earnings for the day. Couldn’t gauge where I was. As I rumbled down the freeway in my vehicle, the rain was pelting down. Cool my car gets a free wash. I’m going to see if I can get a customer at the first flight to Bellingham from Seattle. I sat there for an hour an a half. Some of that time was me being there before everyone else. Nope nothing. Damn. Wasted my time. Fine you win this round airport. I went south to to Frederick Meyer. Ping!

Finally a customer. Tristan. His car had broken down on the way to work. It was his alternator. Poor bugger. He works as a joiner at carpentry business. Honestly I thought he said he was a jointer at first. As in someone who sells marijuana. I mean it’s legal in Washington afterall. Really hate the smell of it to be honest. That skunky gross smell. Yuck. Then it dawned on me that’s not what he said at all. Oh Joiner! He said points on what that is. I said something to do with construction or carpentry. Boom. I got the points. Most people think I’m a stupid uber driver. I’m not. I’m an archaeologist. I don’t know everything, but I can certainly tell you a thing or two about certain things. I dropped him off and tipped me more than I expected. Maybe it was my points for guessing roughly what he did? Either way I was thankful and asked him if he needed a lift home later. No unfortunately. Getting a lift back from a colleague.

Next passenger Infiniti. What a cool name! I told her as much when I picked her up. She thanked me and said do you sign with the Infinity symbol? Unfortunately she doesn’t. What a shame. Missed opportunity. Her nickname was Fin. Not as cool.

Sadie followed, wait a minute. I had a Sadie in my car on Friday night last week. Sure enough it was the same person. She had crutches the last time I saw her. She apparently broke her leg doing cheerleading. Damn, sounded painful. She did a tumble incorrectly and sustained a rather painful injury. I could only imagine the agony. I asked if there are any fellows doing cheerleading. Yes apparently they have one guy. He is stronger than the girls when lifting them up. That sounded like a fair statement. As I dropped her off I told her to get well soon and wished her the very best.

Dylan the man who entered my car speaking on his mobile phone. I had to turn my music down. Better not blast the guy out the car. Oh look he’s done with his conversation on his phone. G’day mate how are you doing today? …Hi there, I’m good thanks, you? Swell thanks mate. Found out he is a chef at one of the breweries downtown and that he was a psychology graduate. Nice one. Chatted for a bit. He had errands to accomplish on his day off.

After dropping off the brew cook, psychological analysis chap. Ping. Zach. Huh I have picked up a Zach before. He immediately messaged me and said make a left toward the parking garage. When I drove in I went right. Fiddlesticks! He said left. Reversed and repositioned myself. Drove back down to correct location. G’day Zach! He said you’re the aspiring archaeologist. Um well technically I am one. He stated last time I was looking for something else in that field. Oh yes I did have you in my car last time didn’t I? Yep. You worked at Haggen near the cinema. Sure do! Sweet. He had a kid with him this time. He was silent. We chatted about my future career prospects and then realized I was dropping them off at a high school in town. It was pretty impressive looking. Looks like they got some money here ay? Yeah it even has a Starbucks. Um what did you just say? Yeah the students really wanted one. The teachers agreed that it was a good decision. Seriously? This school has a bloody Starbucks? My voice cracked in disbelief. What? Yeah. No way! You’re having me on. Nope definitely a Starbucks in there. You have got to be kidding me? What next a Maccas? Pizza Hut? Steakhouse? Unbelievable. I wouldn’t shut up about it. My brain exploded all over the uber and out into most likely some spoiled students latte! Yes my exclamation was heard by many. Including the two high school students standing out the front. Sorry I’m foreign we don’t have fancy coffee joints in schools. USA out of control with consumerism. I suppose students could work at the Starbucks get some money at the lunch breaks. Nope I’m gobsmacked here. Dropped them off. I kept muttering as I left like a crazy person. Damn I thought having vending machines at school was the best thing besides the tuckshop. Nup. Ooo we got a Starbucks in our fancy school. Bloody hell.

After my mind had gone to another dimension and finally returned. I picked up Viktoriia from the airport. She was Russian. How do I know? Well she was on a phone call the whole time talking to someone. I heard her say Americano and Ruski. She was going to Vancouver via the bus station. She packed extremely light. Probably a spy. I made sure I kept silent so she could give the missile codes to Dimitri. Nah she was didn’t say any missile codes. I honestly don’t know what she said. Occasionally she laughed about certain things. Laughing is infectious so I laughed too. OK I smiled. Not crazy at all. I dropped her off and she thanked me in Swahili. I mean English.

Maybe I need to know a few more sentences in another few languages? Could be useful. Mona was my next customer. She was on business at one of the refineries in California. She was cool. She told how what she did was extremely dominated by men, but she learned everything she needed to know on the job 17 years ago from a couple of fellows. They were happy to teach her and she never got a degree or a certificate in anything. I told her I worked in South Australia at an oil and gas field in the desert as an archaeologist. She was stoked t o hear this. We chatted for a while, then she needed wine at the bottlelo. Sure I’ll wait. After she purchased the wine, I said is it Aussie wine? No. Awww. Told her about 19 Crimes and app you use to hear the convicts story. She wrote it down. As I dropped her off she said thank you baby and gave me $10 cash tip. Wow thanks. Wait what did you call me? 👶

Jesse was next and he was a silent talker. Had to really listen hard to hear him. Am I going deaf? No just silent talker. I’d hate to be in a nightclub trying to hear him. What!? You want to do what with a deer? Oh a beer OK! He was a tattoo artist and his partner in crime was a make up artist. Imagine if they swapped jobs for a day 😊🤔😟😲👹👺.

Then there was Mary and Vanessa. From Virginia. In town for a cousin wedding. Awesome sounds fun. As soon as I said I was an archaeologist. Vanessa told me she did an anthropology class once and that she found out you can date obsidian by extracting the water from the stone. Hydro obsidian analysis. Wow! Nice one. I was stunned she knew what she was talking about. I then thought about it. Why does that matter? How old is this obsidian? Oh about 40,000 years. When was it knapped to make a stone tool? Um yesterday. OK. Cool.

I dropped them both off and another Mary pinged me just before I finished the trip. It inadvertently started somehow. Wait which Mary is this one? The one I dropped off or another one? Rang her, which Mary is this? I’m your uber driver. We’re at the Archers Ale. Shit OK. I know where that is. Be there shortly. As I picked them up I apologised for the glitch. They understood. Mary works at a bank and husband is now a corn farmer. I told them about the lady that told me in Canada people have corn wars. Crazy. The farmer said yes it can happen if you’re not careful. If you’re trying to grow sweet corn and it’s non gmo, and your neighbor is growing gmo corn. The gmo corn will germinate the natural corn. How did that become so strong and dominate? That’s tough. After dropping them off it was time to think about finishing up. I thought about getting another trip by the airport. Nothing. Waited. Universe has spoken. I kept the APP on just in case. Almost home! Ping! Ethan 5 minutes away. I got with in 3 minutes of the guy and he cancelled. Darn. It would have been a 19 minute trip south.

Oh well till tomorrow.

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Day 35

I arrived at the airport to see if I can get a ping. Yes Monday’s oh no matter what I do work related I will always hate Mondays. They just have a smell about them. They are menacing Mondays. It’s the day that will rip your head off and spit down your neck or rip your arms off and best you with the soggy ends. Who knows what torment you or even attack you. Actually I was born on a Monday. Although it was Labor Day. So it got a free pass. Yes I was born on a Labor Day. So many jokes. Your mum went into Labor on Labor Day. Fine there’s only one joke there.

As I looked at the airport queue there was at least 1-5 people in front of me. In fact I could see at least 2 of them. Damn these early risers. Ping! Wait hang on, that’s me! Haha peace out other uber drivers! My passenger. Not yours! Sarah. An Irish lass from Limerick. I told her my great grandfather was from Ireland. Sarah had returned from Vegas to see her sister. She was on her way back to Vancouver. Sarah was heading over to Australia in about a month or so. Told her she would love it. As I dropped her off I glared at the taxis ahead of me. I jumped out of the car and retrieved her bag for her.

Then there was Lockey. A former Western Washington Uni graduate. He was back visiting with his mates from Cali. All but one were reminiscing about their uni days. It made me think of Armidale. Had some wonderful times there. Made me miss those times. Heading up to the Stro on a Wednesdy night. Getting those Christian sausages coming back down the hill. Oh yeah the Christians would have a free sausage sizzle for the drunks. Bless them. Then in my third year they had free donuts. Not the bloody same. On a cold winter’s night a hot sausage and hot choccy was the most delightful gift from God you’ll ever see. Nothing but a hot bit of sausage in between a slice of bread covered in tomato sauce. A.k.a. ketchup. I think there were onions too. My first night at the Stro was to see a band called the Freestylers. I turned 18. I do not remember them at all. No one took photos, all I know is I had a great time and my mates carried me home. I still went to class the next day. Had a tutorial for ARCH104 Art and Society. My head was pounding. My head was on the desk when my professor came in and like Thor’s hammer, slammed his books on the desk. I moaned. Then he stated ahhh we turned 18 didn’t we? Yes I did. I don’t remember a bloody thing. Must’ve been a good night. Um I think so? Yes memories. Well what I can remember anyway.

After I dropped the former frat party off. I kept remembering simpler times. Then ping! VANESSA! On my way! She didn’t want to walk from the Dollar Tree. It was bloody hot, that’s for sure. Although it was only about a mile away. I took her home and on the way she told me she was from Canada and got knocked up by a Man Child. Basically an immature man. I wondered how immature he actually was? Did he throw temper tantrums when he didn’t get what he wanted? Perhaps he played with toys like hot wheels? Couldn’t get certain images out of my head including the boss baby from Looney Tunes. Maybe Warner Brothers was on to something? Poor lady having to deal with a smoking baby man.

I dropped her off and went back to the airport. More and more homeless people. I remembered reading an article about some panhandlers getting $100-$200 a day. Was thinking bloody hell. That’s pretty good, but to physically stand there? Maybe that’s why there’s different ones almost every day? Some are probably flying to the Caribbean living it up whilst I’m ubering to feed a 4 legged child. I’m doing this for you boy. Making sure there’s fresh kibble gracing that dog bowl everyday.

I went to the airport then POW! Leon! A bass player from Texas was in town to see his son and play in his band. He had played with a whole bunch of random bands I’d never heard of. Still he makes a living doing it. His bass wouldn’t fit in the boot, so it had to be the backseat. He wasn’t worried about it. He immediately grabbed a water from my center console and launched into his story from the plane having issues, he also told me back in the day he saw an AC/DC cover band that was all female, to when a bouncer pushed him by accident in that very setting and broke his neck. A freak accident because the bouncer was trying remove an unruly patron and he was in the way. He tried to sue the venue but it conveniently went bankrupt. That’s such a dodgy trick businesses do. Should be illegal. Poor bugger, but he was happy about life and wouldn’t change his life or pathway for anything. I dropped him off and noticed he forgot his water he opened and partly drank. I got out and gave it to him. He thanked me and said best not to waste it. He tipped me well. Nice chap. He did have those weird wireless Apple earphones. Yeah you know the ones.

I decided to hang out on Holly Street on the main drag. I was parked on the one side, when a Lexus passed me with music blaring. It wasn’t good music and the speakers were extremely popped. Come on man you’re not cool with popped speakers. I’m embarrassed for you.

Ping! Clive Owen was my next customer. Ha no! Just Owen. He was British and said he owns a construction company. He just came over from Melbourne, now on to Boston. He loved Australia. He said immigration was pretty tame also. He told me how friendly British immigration was and how his wife, an American was nervous initially, but then realized they weren’t American immigration border people. How inviting. British humour transcends all boundaries. He loved chatting with me and wished me all the best in my future endeavors. Cheers mate.

My app decided to not show my earnings after Owen. It was rather annoying because I wanted to see how far off my total I was. Ping! OK I’ll be there soon Aubree. She was off to work and was from Iowa initially. Grew up in a corn field. Well that’s what a gathered. She was sick to death of corn. I said surely there’s a difference between west coast corn to east coast corn. Or mid west corn? Nope all the same. I told her oysters from the east coast taste different to the west coast. I said not sure why it tastes so different. Maybe it’s the radiation from Fukushima? She said probably! Ha yeah damn radioactive oysters. Probably going to grow excessively and start eating cargo ships. Look out! Oyster on the starboard side! Captain full haul to port! Come on there’s gotta be a B grade movie made now! Then it shoots pearls at people like a machine gun. Tat tat tat tat! Brrrr! Pew pew pew! You have heard of Sharnado! Now get ready for Megoyster! The Pearly Gates! It Shell be the Apocalypse!

Then finally a future anthropologist, from Ethiopia. He said he was graduating soon and wanted to work for a social media company or Google. Yes anthropologists are being hired by these corporations to study people. It’s like marketing and analysis. Studying behaviour and cultural trends to boost client relationships. This in turn builds profits. Understandable. Us humans are very complex and extremely fascinating. We’re not all the same. We’re all individuals to a certain degree, but we do have similar goals. Survival being the main one. We chatted about archaeology a bit too, but his heart was definitely set. Go get em mate! He asked for my details. I said sure mate, I do have many contacts in Australia, Europe, the USA and Asia. I have met so many people and ubering has increased this exponentially.

322 people! Holy cow! Then my 4.99 rating returned to 5 stars. That 4 star rating didn’t win. Now if you give your driver less than 5 stars they have to say why? Feedback. Good! See screenshots.

Till Wednesday.

May the 34th be with you!

I had a VIP booking from Mike and Pam. Friends of Candy and Ari. The B’Ham friends I met at an Irish pub last year. They wanted me to pick them up, drop them off at their friends place and then take them into town for dinner and then drop them off downtown. Eventually picking them up and taking them all home. All cash in hand. In amongst all that pick up uber customers. The friends were obviously the VIPs. Priority over all of the others. In driving them around I would turn the app off.

After chatting for a bit I dropped them off at their first destination at a restaurant. Then I’d thought I’ll go up to the airport and see if I can get get any pings. On the way there I went through Bellingham when I saw a man in a beige flannel, white socks and black shoes and dark coloured shorts. He was wearing a Phantom of the Opera style mask, wearing a baseball cap and holding a steak knife. Hand holding the blade out in front of him. He looked angry. He was stomping up the hill on Holly street near the closing store of Rocket doughnuts. Um he looked dangerous. So for the first time in my life I rang 911. A lady answered immediately and I told her exactly what I had seen. She asked me many questions including if he was on the sidewalk, which direction he was going and what he was wearing. I told her everything I could. She thanked me and that police will be on the scene immediately. Great to know. Sure enough literally 5 minutes later Bellingham police Department rang me back. Was going to post a screenshot of my call history of the 911 call but it never saved in my call history. Wonder why? Maybe because it runs on a separate network. Does anyone know? I mean what if wanted that information in court or something? Bit strange. There is a call record of Bellingham police Department though. Top number in screenshot. They rang me and couldn’t find him. What the bloody hell? Where’d he go? Was it a joke? Was someone pretending? Whilst I was the phone dinner was completed. Didn’t pick anyone up that whole time just chatting with the coppers. Eventually VIPs contacted me. I went to go pick them up in downtown.

I told my VIPs the story they alarmed because that’s close to where I saw the knife wielding psychopath. I said well maybe he was just being a weirdo. Probably. As I dropped them off my night got extremely busy. I thought it was going to be a quiet night. The 13 other uber drivers were my competition, but they either didn’t work as much or it was just full on for everyone working.

My first new customer was Gabe a graphic designer from Seattle. He said I need to do a blog and go on a podcast. Um yeah I really should. He told me about NPR. Sounded cool. But can’t really remember what it was. Sounded like you work doing podcasts. Anyway he was so keen on me doing it he wrote it in my comments on the uber app. Nice fellow. He told me about how he would make less money in Bellingham as a graphic designer, but in Seattle you make bank. Nice one. After I dropped him off downtown he shook my hand firmly. He seemed excited to speak with me. Ha cool. I’m so exotic. 😏

Met 3 sheilas who were extremely nice. I told them about losing my job and asked me where my former employers office was. They couldn’t understand why I was fired. I told them roughly why. They said that’s no reason to get rid of someone. If you want something a certain way train, give input, guide and retain. It’s more expensive to a company to constantly hire and fire people. Yeah I believed them. One lady was honestly was a Jill of all trades, I told her and she loved it. Wants to put that on her business cards. Ha I said it’s a saying from Down Under. Jack of all trades is a dude with a lot of skills. Yep. One lady had just graduated and the third was a vagabond that had lived in the UK and was heading over Hong Kong. I totally forgot about the unrest over there. Could have said something. Now she might get caught in so.e scary crap over there. I’m sure she knows. After dropping them off they tipped me handsomely and wished me all the best in my future exploits. Cheers.

Gena was a military lady. She was the following passenger along with her mate x. Didn’t catch his name. She was from San Diego and was a delight in the car. An African American lady with such a refined vocabulary. I’d give you examples, but not right now. She told me she wanted to go to Australia. I told her she should and that her accent will give her a lot of attention down there. She said her husband wouldn’t like that. Fair enough. As I dropped the two off I caught her say I wonder if my husband can do accents? Strewth! I think I should start trying to do an American accent. I could be a bloody home wrecker if all I know. Eh I have tried and I sound like a game show host announcer or some person from the south. You know like Texas or apparently Alabama. She thought I was from Michigan actually at first over the phone when I was trying to find her. Then realised no I wasn’t.

Next customer lived all the way in Ferndale. Wow such a good fare. Long trip. Four passengers coming home from the Chrysallis. One guy knew I was Aussie, he said Gold Coast. I said that’s where I grew up. He apparently stayed there for a month at the age of 18. Loved it there. We chatted about the theme parks and the beaches, oh and sharks. He was cool. The ladies in the back invited me to paint their house on Sunday. The reward would be their single female friends. I feel like you’re a pimp and this is a weird TV show. I can see it now.

The Buck: next week on the Buck can this Bloke paint the house to the satisfaction of the owner? If he doesn’t he gets evicted from the house. If he succeeds he gets to date all the owners single friends at the same time. It’s like the bachelor but with real tasks. Watch our hero do an oil change. Then build a shed. But the ultimate task, build that blasted IKEA set that is missing 2 pieces. He wins a million dollars. Yeah it’ll happen on HGTV. Then they’ll make one called the Doe. Similar story except one lady and bunch of fellows. Yeah it’s basically the bachelor or bachelorette.

Next customer was Jesse a mental health professional. His car unfortunately broke down before going to work. Working on a Friday that must suck. Oh wait I’m working. He also said he does doordash and postmates. Fair enough.

Jo from IT another customer watches a lady stack it on the curb in her heels. Then Dan the real estate man. He normally fixes equipment at the refinery but wanted a change. I hear you brother.

Michael was next he works on skyscrapers in Seattle. Wants to become a helicopter pilot. Cool. His Australian accent was terrible. He wants to go there. Do it man, just leave the Australian accent to the professionals.

Heather was next. She works at Lowe’s. The hardware store not the mens clothing store in Australia. She wants a career change in ultrasound!

Next was Aunree. What an exotic name. Is it French? I hope I pronounce it right. I drive up to the club. AUNREE?? It’s Aubree. Uh OK interesting spelling. She looked. Oh I spelt my name wrong. That makes sense now.

Cain was next. He told me I should make the big time with uber. Maybe. He was my final customer until I had to pick up my VIPS. 2.30 am wow already made my quota and then some. My VIPs had a blast. Party animals. Anyway that’s it for now.

Here are some stats!

The 33rd day

After sitting around waiting and driving around trying to get a passenger I decided to ring uber to see if I was online and working. Just as the person on the other end went to check ping. Maddy. Okay here I come. As I progressed closer to her. Traffic light after traffic light a cyclist was in my way. I overtook her. So I could be ready go take my free right turn. Then knock knock. The cyclist was yelling at me. I’m not obliged to open my window. She had a nose ring. Could be a hooligan. Better not put my window down. After stopping I turned immediately to get away from her irate persona.

Then I went to locate my customer at the University. Nowhere to be found. Rang her. She tried to tell me but to no avail. I changed my position to help her. Nope. Eventually I told her to change her current position on the app so it was more convenient. The app was charging her wait time. Oh yeah I was still on the phone to uber because I was ranting about glitches and wondering if I can drive in another city. No I couldn’t. Only deliveries. Really? That sucks. Looks like Bellingham will be my bread and butter for a while. Meanwhile Maddy has changed her position. Finally! She apologised it’s her first time ubering. Oh OK understandable. She wanted to go the Amtrak station at Fairdinkumhaven. OK sure thing. She was registering for university. Nice she was studying theatre and teaching. Reminded me of my Uncle Dave who does that in Australia. I said drama teaching? She said yes. Any ancient history at all? No just English and drama. That sounds fun and dramatic.

Next customer was Paul. He sounded like he was from Boston. A retired FDA chap going to pick up his Audi 2003 model. Great year that’s when Penrith won their last Grand Final. I told him my grandfather is a retired pharmacist. He said he used to do that for a living. Wonderful. As dad used to say drug dealer.

Then ping another person from the University. Just be a few in town for O week. Greg. He was there with his daughter from Vegas. He works as a gambling official for the horse racing contraptions in the casinos. I guess it likes the TAB in Australia except automated. He doesn’t gamble personally, but is happy to to take people’s money. I said like s drug dealer, but doesn’t use. He said exactly. Ah yes economics. The daughter was going to be studying marketing. I said my mum used to be a marketing manager. She said that was cool and then I dropped them off at the Chrysallis in Fairdinkumhaven. Lovely resort overlooking the water. The man tipped me handsomely. Thanks cobber.

Sean! In Fairdinkumhaven. I picked him and his mates up from the Amtrak station. They just came from Portland via Seattle. First it was a train and then it was a bus. They really liked the train ride. Said I must do it one day. The fellows were in town to pick up a boat and charter it back to Portland. Holy cow. That’s a long bloody way. Hope the boat is seaworthy. One chap used to build railway carts the other two are firefighters. Oh by the way my app glitched and it told me their 4.9 mile destination was over 4962 minutes away. Screenshot attached. Crazy uber app. If only it had paid me that rate. When we got close to the destination Sean said hang a Roscoe here. What? Jeff are you channeling Sean? Jeff was a gent I worked with over at my previous employee. He would say hang a Louie or hang a Roscoe instead of left or right. Then at that moment Sean said now hang a Louie here. OK! Jeff stop it! I dropped them off and wished them all the best with their maritime adventure.

Finally Mavis a lovely lady from the bay area, who owns an IT company that deals with furniture. She was visiting her father. She asked me about my life as an immigrant. Oh boy opened up a can of worms there. She couldn’t believe the stories from my experiences. Yep and I’m a white fella from Down Under. She donates to charities who give to immigrants. Specifically church charities. Still better than nothing.

That’s all he wrote, until my fruitful Fridays. I’ll write that one soon there’s at least 14 trips and a VIP amongst them.

The 32nd day

It’s officially been over a month of Ubering and as I slowly make my way to my 300th trip. I reflect on what highlights that have been and gone. From Shane the Jeff Goldblum lookalike and talk alike to Treezy the California trip. What will I see next? Who will I encounter? The mystery is endless because people are fascinating, they’re also batshit insane, and downright weird. I mean from people who get upset on where a toaster should live (after use please move it from this shelf on top to the one directly below it, the one without a door? Yes. Um okay, why? To the ones that just that really want to spend the extra money on that registration plate. Yes as I’m driving through B’Ham MRSHBUG on the license plate. Is it Mr Sh Bug? Mrs H Bug or Mrs HB Ug or an acronym for something? I really don’t know and for some reason it’s irritating that the crap out of me. Finally I came to the conclusion it’s gotta be Mrs H Bug. Because it’s a Volkswagen bug and it appears to be a woman driving this vibrant red coloured car and appears to have a wedding ring on the left ring finger. As I drove passed I discreetly looked over. Not discreet enough both people in the car saw me and the mrshbug smiled. Eh hi. Really not what I wanted to happen. I’m not checking you out. I’m merely having a sticky beak at why you have such a trivial bloody plate.

After my face went bright red. Yes probably as red as that bloody car I got pinged by an Uber Eats customer. Wait hold on! I thought I turned you off? No somehow in a restart of the app at some point the damn thing decided reactivate this time wasting, petrol wasting part of the app. Great guess I’m going to Dairy Queen. As I walk into the building there’s people everywhere! Okay one person in my way. Fair dinkum, I’m not very patient am I? Eventually Speedy Gonzalez got out of my way. That’s what my grandad calls slow people. Funny coming from a man over 80, but honestly if I was his age I wouldn’t want to wait around for some slowish person buying a burger. In fact I don’t like waiting at all. I go up to the counter and say Uber Eats. The 6 foot 3 inch infant behind the counter says have you got a punch card? Um no I don’t come here very often and I’m not buying anything. He said oh it’s for the delivery drivers. Get 5 stamps and you get a free blizzard. What? Really? Damn you McDonalds where’s my bloody choc fudge sundae punch card? Cheap asses. Then the tall adolescent fellow said do you want a free drink while you wait? I replied to the man, yes please kind sir. I immediately went and dispensed a cool and refreshing Pepsi into the ginormous cup. Added ice. Dammit Pepsi everywhere. Always ice first, then liquid. It’s physics people. Glad no one saw. Oh wait a camera is suspended above me facing me on the adjacent wall. Lap it up security it’s the best you’ll see all day I’m sure.

Dairy Queen. You complete me and made uber eats slightly better. I picked up the food and headed to Jacksons house. Pulled up to the driveway. Typed I have arrived in the app. He comes out and he is but a child. Okay maybe I’m just getting old. He looked young okay, probably not his house or name. He apologized for me waiting. I honestly didn’t wait long. Only a minute or two. Nice kid. Here’s ya food mate.

I turned the Uber eats button off again. Let’s make some real money. Shawn. Here I come. How exciting who will this person be? Your rider canceled. Blast! Screw you Shawn. See if someone cancels within 2 minutes you don’t get paid. He had lightning fingers. Maybe he gave me 4 stars and realized it was me and thought oh no not him he will give me 3 stars. Yeah if I ever find out who gave me 4 stars you’ll be getting less stars from me. Call me vindictive, but hey I can be. I hold grudges, remember stupid comments and people who generally screw me over. I’m not perfect by any means, but I don’t go out of my way to bitch about someone behind their back or hire someone, give them no assistance and then fire them for bad work that was never finished when you said it was.

Then there was Leslie. The customer kindly wrote me their exact location wonderful. It’s so valuable. I went to go to the right location when a man gestured his hand to me and crossed the road. Excellent thanks Leslie I’ll pick you up on this side of the road. The bearded man kept walking. Damn that wasn’t Leslie. Oh look there’s 3 people in that location I’m supposed to go to on the other side of the road. Luckily it’s a one way street. Window down. Leslie? Yes that’s me. I told her about the mix up and apologized. Oh that’s okay was her response. She works at the registration office at one of the community colleges in town. She loves people and loves guiding people to get their certificates. Rewarding job. She told me she’s a Native American and that she gets racially profiled coming back from Canada every time. They think she’s Asian. Bloody hell. That’s disgusting and deplorable. She has more of a right to be in the states than anyone else. We chatted about all things immigration. She thanked me for the wonderful conversation. I was chuffed. Cheers. You too. She tipped me handsomely.

Then there was Guy and Reed. I had apparently picked up Guy before. Yep really don’t remember this repeat offender, but there he was trying to remember our last convo about archaeology. I told him yeah I remember. Pretty much a stuck record these days, so I just spewed out not sure if I want to do it anymore etc. Yep that was it. Then he told me how he used to work at Walmart. I said oh they just took down posters of violent video games. Reed in the back said oh stupid idiots. Bloody liberal blah blah. I was a little bit more diplomatic with my response, because guns can be fun, you just should have stricter laws to make it harder for psychological unstable from owning one. Maybe smaller magazines and licensing. They agreed as long as the can still have their AR to blow the head off a cockroach from 300 yards away. Um yeah sure dudes I’m allergic to them. Go right ahead.

Um then there was Beverly. She was from San Diego. Her and her husband were off for a pint at the local brewery. Yeah there’s 30 of them. Retired and living it up.

Finally there was Mary. An newly appointed Americorps volunteer. Reminded me of the movie Volunteers with John Candy and Tom Hanks. Hilarious. Tom Tuttle of Tacoma Washington. Great movie. She apparently doesn’t get to go overseas and help communities. Damn. Just does it locally. Fair enough. Dropped her off an Airbnb.

That’s all folks. Till yesterday.

Day 31th

After going through the car wash and getting rid of the dirt in my car it was time to Uber. I had missed ubering after 3 days of digging in another county. The physical nature of archaeology can take a toll. I’m constantly plagued with back pain and now my knee just pops out of nowhere. Getting old sucks. Oh yeah now my left wrist clicks constantly.

Back at it. After driving through the carwash in neutral. Yeah there’s a conveyorbelt that takes you through. Right at the end some guy shammies your car. I turned the app on. Ping! Wow that was fast. Josh was the man, as made my way to pick him up I noticed a trucking company called Bugga Inc. I chuckled at this and thought I wonder if they knew what that word was. Tempted now to start a company that is a derogatory term in Australia and bring it over to the USA as a household name, but what? As I passed the bugga truck I wanted to photograph it, but managed to get my own face. Okay bugga truck you win this round.

Now for my customer. I got a text saying he’s tall, in black and holding a backpack. Thanks mate. I got to the bus depot in downtown. On the corner I saw him, so I parked in the45 degree angle parking spot so I didn’t hold up traffic. I thought he saw me. Rang him immediately. No response okay. I’ll get closer. Powered my window down. Yelled. JOSH! He responded Uber? YEAH! He thanked me incessantly. How’s your day? His response surprised me a little. You’re the third Uber driver I’ve attempted to get here today. Really? Why’s that? As he sat down in my car I noticed some teeth missing and the overpowering smell of feet. He was in town from Marblemont to visit his aunt. Not ant. He said ant. Thought that’s a long way to travel to visit your tiny friend, don’t they have ants out in the mountains? Anyway he said he tried to get 3 different uber drivers and they never showed up. Weird maybe they judged him from a distance and cancelled or just didn’t make the effort. Am I the only driver that yells someone’s name when I drive up? It has fallen on deaf ears before. Yell out someone’s name and the person shakes their head or they have earphones in. Okay you’re not the droid I’m looking for.

Once I powered through the stench of feet. Josh apparently looked like a YouTube rap personality. Never heard of him and now I can’t even remember his name. He said it was annoying people would come up and ask for his autograph and he wouldn’t have a pen. Ah. All righty then. He said he should just start up his own YouTube channel. He talked about weed a lot and I mentioned it’s great for you guys now having it so readily accessible. (No it isn’t). (You probably need to stop). The guy was totally out of touch with reality, but then he tipped me. Well sir I honestly didn’t think of all the people in my car you would tip me, he even stated how clean and nice my car was. Okay dude you’re getting a 5 stars from me now. Because aside from the fact he was a pot head and smelled like feet. He was a bloody nice chap. The teeth missing didn’t bother me too much because hey teeth are expensive and hell it gave the man some serious character. Maybe you should start your own channel. I might even watch it in my underwear.

Next passenger was an underwear model. Okay no it wasn’t. It was a sweet old retired couple coming back from a family reunion in New York. Sounds like a great time. I still haven’t been to New York, but I really want to. It’s what I have imagined the USA would be since I was a kid. Gotham. Skyscrapers, a French statue holding an ice cream and King Kong. Not to mention a bloody great big park that is centrally located. Ha yes New York takes me back to Independence Day, Godzilla, the Phantom, did I mention King Kong and the Umpire of the State building. New York New York, start spreading the news….

This couple apparently use Uber a lot and get the same drivers, so they were surprised to meet someone different. They said one of their family members couldn’t make it. They have a family member that lives on the Gold Coast, QLD. on the Gold Coast, QLD. Fair dinkum this world is getting smaller by the minute. I told them I went to primary and secondary school there. We discussed their retirement and how the husband volunteers. How rewarding. You must get bored for you to do that. Yes was the response.

After dropping off the New York visitors. I went back to the airport, then ping! Tim was next. Got to the airport Tim I yelled. Woman shakes her head. Fair enough 🤣😂. Then near the shuttle bay, the customer was waiting for me waving. He was in town from Sacramento. On business. With his bag still not in Bellingham. Oh I hate when my bag decides to go on an adventure without me. Wonder who he meets along the way. “Hello I’m a duffle bag from Ouagadougou”.

Anyway Tim, an IT man helping the newspaper the Herald move. Yes the newspaper is downsizing. They had a whole building and now the Herald building will just have other businesses in it. Weird. It’s the 21st century and newspapers are downsizing, it makes sense though. You know that song video killed the radio star? Well internet killed the newspaper star. Bit of a mouthful though. The fellow discussed his next few days will be 12hr days. This paper is not owned by News Corp. Take that Murdoch you billionaire Aussie tyrant! Then the conversation went to property costs and how he is in the process of inheriting 10% of a $2.3 million property in the Bay Area. An inheritance broker tracked him down and said he was one of the heirs. Huh cool. I thought the state got that? He said he thought if no one was there to claim it he thought the Government got it. Nope. Imagine trying to track someone down for lost inheritance. Sounds messy and what if you get it wrong? Smith? I mean how many Smiths are there? Do they go on ancestry.com and follow the yellow brick road until they find a link? I remember I received a letter once saying I was the rightful owner of $25,000 in the post in Armidale, NSW. I rang the guy and he told me he had the right person. I rang my family and asked them about this so called inheritance. If it was in my email I would of thought scam, but this guy had my address and everything. I had only been there for 6 months. I looked online for unclaimed state money. Nothing came up. I looked up the man’s business name. Nope nothing. Hmmm…mmm…mmm he doesn’t exist spooky. So I determined it was a scam and moved on. I hope this guy’s inheritance is legit. Good luck mate.

Got a repeat offender in the car. As in the same customer as a few weeks ago. A Baker. Angelica.

Oh yeah speaking of scams three calls about my social security number. Haha they think I’m a citizen. Stupid robot. That’s how I know you’re not real.

Finally David pinged me. He was my last customer after a half day due to my archaeology paperwork I had to endure in the morning. I picked him up from the wharf. He looked like Eric Idle, but he sounded like Gene Wilder. He heard my Irish music playing and he got excited. He was born on St Patrick’s day. We had an in depth conversation about Irish whiskey, fighting with two British expatriates and how he lives at the tallest point of Bellingham. He really does. I’ll ad some photos of this marvelous location. I told him about my Irish heritage on my father’s side. Said we were descended from the first leprechauns, that’s why I wasn’t very tall growing up. Told him I’m an archaeologist by trade and then he mentioned Ancient Aliens. Oh God. No. Was tempted to drop him off in the middle of nowhere and say get a UFO next time. That stupid bloody show gives people an awful misrepresentation of archaeology. It shouldn’t be on TV at all. The people who are on and produce are sell outs. My customer still had some redeeming qualities though. He liked my music and had some great stories, but come on. Ancient Aliens no. We were going so well. It’s like you go to a seminar and it sounds great then it turns into a timeshare. We were doing so well! Then you hurt my feelings with your propaganda and traps. It’s like when you find out about a famous star or celebrity who you admire and then you find out they are into pedophilia. Yes that’s extreme, but someone needs to do a study on this. The same reaction in the brain when you just get disappointed. Is it the same level of disappointment as other situations? Famous celebrity is a pedophile vs your mate that you go hunting with or golfing with likes Justin Bieber, in fact even goes to his concerts. I mean it’s got to be the same shock value.

Till tomorrow.

The 30th Day

I wasn’t going to Uber on Wednesday, but after the interview I was oozing with confidence. I was sharp wearing a suit and my Penrith Panthers tie. Screw it let’s pick people up in style.

As soon as I hit the Bham! Ping. Valentine. Yep never met a Valentine. As in Valentine’s Day. She had nose piercing. You know the ones with a proper ring. The side of her head was shaved. Blonde. Tattoos everywhere. She was a hair stylist. Ah cool makes sense. I dropped her off.

Went back to the airport. Waited in my suit. Sharp, dapper and waiting. Nothing for a bit. Thought after that interview I’m kinda tired, night go home. PING! Okay guess I’ll drop you off and go home. Wait a tick. 78 minute trip! Nice. Going to get my money’s worth. What’s with me getting the unicorns? I mean that’s 3 in less than a month. California, Seattle and now Everett.

The gentleman’s name was Henry. A former doctor, his wife a former nurse. Both retired and visiting family. We discussed Trump, immigration, the healthcare system and gun laws. The thing that surprised me the most is that that both agreed that it should be a public health system rather than private. People can’t afford it. It’s true.

Henry was born in San Francisco from Chinese parents. I told him I went there a few years ago and that I was impressed with the China town there. I told him to go to Sydney Australia for some excellent yum cha. We discussed immigration. He stated that we are all immigrants in this country except for the Native Americans. Agreed. It was a delightful opportunity to have these two in my car. We chatted the whole way. More talkative than that Google person. I noticed the traffic heading back. Oh boy. That’s going to take a while. Henry noticed it too. Must be an accident. Yeah or just close to Seattle. We drove past the Boeing headquarters. Thought about my $50 shares I have with them through my Stash app account. They went up to $67 once then they had those issues with the plane crashes. They dropped to $53. It was a strange feeling. Money in people’s lives. I thought about my interview in the morning where will I be in 10 years? Archaeology has been tough lately. Digging for a pittance. Should be the name of a book. I’m not talking about one company specifically. I’m talking about America in general.

I dropped off Henry and his lovely wife. Enterprise rental car company. Henry tipped me in cash. Cheers mate! Wouldn’t mind knowing them for the long haul. But I didn’t. I was tired. I’d made my quota and then some. Makes up for the short days prior. Back to archaeology for three days. Oh boy!

On the way home I hit the traffic and spoke to mum, when email from my interviewers. Holy cow. Next Phase already.

Till Tuesday next week.

Day 29

Tuesday. Michelle was an older sheila. She knew I was Australian. How you ask? Well simple. Her client is an Australian boat building company. Well played non sir. She told me about the intricacies of the boats that they get in. I asked her about catamarans. Nope they don’t build those. Okay sorry my apologies. I like the word catamaran. It just roles off the tongue. If I can find an opportunity to say that bloody word I will. “What are you doing today Paul?” “I’m reading about catamarans”. Ah yes words can be absolutely delightful, but then they can be disgusting. Feel free to comment on this post your favorite or least favorite words.

Beth was next. She told me about an Aussie blog. Actually it was a vlog. Yes video blog. A family travels Australia in a campervan. Or something. Cool. I thought about my high school mate Eliott who rode a motorbike from Cape Town to Cairo. Then on to Germany. That’s a blog or should I say vlog I would have watched. Such a cool trip. I wanted to do that in a Jeep once.

Next customer was Isaiah. Couldn’t help but think Isaiah Yeo from my rugby league team the Penrith Panthers. I told him about this legend and he was stoked. I realized that his other half was the lady I dropped off about a week ago at Jack in the Box. He was the bf that worked there. Small world.

Final customer for the day was Inga. She was a Russian medical translator for the hospital. Hmmm… must be a lot of Russians to keep her busy.

Slowish day. Till Wednesday.

Racism Venting and Day 28

My first passenger, well what can I say? She was racist. She was catching a plane in the afternoon from Vancouver to Shanghai. I won’t go into too much detail about her stupid self, but just that she was a racist.

When I get racist customers in my car I often think what is the best way to approach the situation? In an ideal world, in my brain anyway, I think of a James Bond style ejector seat. It’s disgusting. Racism is a disease that filters down from parents and people of influence to finally an individual. This one particular lady said there’s too many black people in America and they’re dangerous. I said um white people shoot people all the time. So do Asians. She said “ah yes white people in America very dangerous.” I still sat driving, thinking keep digging that hole. She wasn’t the first racist person I’ve had in my car. I’m not going to mention backgrounds or ethnicities here because it’s been all races that have been racist in my bloody car. It’s the weirdest thing. Why are people so.candid with me? These kind of racist opinions should not be voiced to anyone. It shouldn’t even be thought about. The media doesn’t help with racism at all. Often a news reporter will say today a [insert ethnicity here] shot up a country music festival or [insert ethnicities here] raped and murdered a women in Central Park. Why don’t they say a person did horrific crime to [these names of people]? Many people have said the US president is racist. However the media is racist too. Not to mention some people’s ideals and morals can be ethnocentric.

Gone are the days of colonialism or should I say invasion. Inclusive action is now. I am a strong believer of not judging a book by its cover or jumping to conclusions too fast, unless it’s bloody weird. I remember Comcast man entered my house to fix the internet once and he was in favour of a wall, because an illegal immigrant, shot and killed his uncle back in the 90s. I said to him, a citizen could have done that too you know.

People must think I’m not going to respond to such comments. I do and in some cases a debate sparks, in other cases nothing is said afterwards. In the long run the key is education. Teach a child how to be a good person. Introduce them to culture. If they ask why another person is different to them. Tell them.

Having an understanding of culture and having an appreciation for different people is worth more than hatred, violence or racial discrimination. I learned a lot from reading, studying archaeology, visiting different countries and talking with my elders. When I was 4 years old I went to Fiji with my mum and dad. That was probably my first international cultural experience. I remember drums, fire walking, grass skirts and giant crabs oh and the word Bula. I have vague memories of freaking out when my parents weren’t there and the babysitter had to come and find my parents at a restaurant. Long story short I still remember bits and pieces from that trip, but what I remember most is that the Fijian culture was uniquely different to what I was observing and experiencing growing up. It possibly helped my views on the world.

My next customer wanted a lift to the border. Sure I’ll take it. Easy $50. She went to Vegas and had a blast. I told her of my Vegas exploits including my old mate Ed’s idea to go the Wet Republic. She chimed in and said she spent a load of money on a cabana. I responded my dear mate Zach threw some money at that and we had a blast.

This lady mentioned about the healthcare issue in the USA and that it can cost up to $10,000 to have a baby. I was shocked. Is that with or without insurance? I’m going to Australia to have babies.

This is a 40 minute drive we talked a lot. When we hit Lynden she told me about corn wars. Yes that’s right. Farmers growing crappy corn to counter the neighbors well established corn crop. Wow. Vindictive. Must be a Canadian thing. She said round up was a common issue that pops up and that her family tries to not use it. Australia banned roundup a few years ago. Must be a reason why they did it.

I found out that my passenger was allergic to the sun. Just like Bonnie. Crazy. Must be Pacific Northwest thing. She lives in Chilliwack. Yes sounds cold over there in British Columbia.

My final passenger was all the way down near Western Washington University. I wanted another passenger from the airport, but after giving up I did a lap of Bellingham. Then ping! About bloody time. Mondays! Seriously. Didn’t think Mondays would be so slow, but they are and I get it. To top it off my new passenger didn’t hear me when he sat in my car. I said G’day how’s it going? Silence. Okay awkward. He had earphones in. Ahhhhhh right probably listening to that new techno that’s going around. I’m there rocking out to Phil Collins, then his phone rang. It’s his father. About dropping off a key. Then I noticed he finished his convo and had an ear free. Mate there’s water and Nerds back there if you want them. Oh thanks. Boom an in! He’s a construction worker and knew what an archaeologist was. Then he mentioned mammoth. Okay maybe not…

After dropping him off I went and got a haircut at Sports Clips. They cut my hair too short now I’m bald. Okay no just my ears are sticking out gloriously. It’s the one thing that my eyes go to after my hair is cut, especially when it’s too bloody short.

After I sheepishly left the Barber of Fleet Street, it was time to go home.

Till tomorrow.

Dayeth 27th – Fruitful Fridays

6am my booking a cash in hand job thanks to the lady I had met two days prior. Geeze I hate mornings, but I’ll get up for money. I still had a long way to go for my quota, but I’ll do what it takes to get my weekly quota.

After I dropped the nice lady off at the airport I needed it coffee. Extremely early. I went to my new favorite place Cool Beans. I asked for my usual. White chocolate mocha please. Yes sweeter than the sweet and I’m sure a Colombian dies whenever I drink my sacrilecious and delicious beverage. I went to take my first sip. Lumps. Okay maybe that was just the first sip. Hmmm no. More lumps. Take a gulp. Okay yuck it’s not supposed to be lumpy. I immediately went back. The milk had certainly turned in the wrong direction. The coffee barista was super apologetic and made me a new one. Sip. Ahhhhhh much better cheers. Bloody hot though. As I took a big gulp I heard a Colombian jump off a roof in anger for my sweetening down of rich full bodied beans from the depths of the jungle.

Then ping. Thorkild. The Danish. Cool name. He was a thunderous man who was a nurse by trade but used to be a Commercial fisherman. He’d been to Melbourne for 6 months. He even got to see a Richmond Tigers game. He enjoyed footy. I thought that’s great news. Not many Americans know about Australian Football.

After dropping him off I went by the airport then ping. Crikey. Tom Cruise! Actually he was just a man called Tom who used to work for a cruise liner back in the day. Sorry peeps no real celebrities. Yet. His flight was canceled and wanted a bus to Seattle. I took him to the depot and he was super thankful.

I took another chance at the airport to pick up any passengers from the new flight coming in. Ping. Wow my luck has changed. G’day Amy how are you? She had a tiny suitcase and herself. I put her case in the trunk aka boot. Shut it and noticed the clock. That 16 minutes looks odd. Oh wait that’s 116 minutes. Where are we going? SeaTac. Awesome another Unicorn trip. Thanks Alaska Airlines for canceling your flights today. The other plane wasn’t supposed to come until 7pm. This poor Google HR manager didn’t want to wait. So she got me. Lucky her. She wasn’t too talkative. I managed to find out she had worked for Google for 9 years. I said do you get a cake at the 10 year mark? Nope you get a plaque with your name on it. I asked her what will she get at the 20 year mark? A cake and a new plaque? She didn’t know and didn’t seem to get my joke or I wasn’t funny. She slept for most of the drive to Seattle Tacoma Airport. I had no music going either so it was the quietest ride ever.

After dropping her off I went to Tacoma to try my other driving location. Only deliveries was showing so I called customer support. I hung out near the Tacoma dome. It took them 3 hrs of trouble shooting and turning my phone off and on again, that it still doesn’t work. Not sure why?

I eventually gave up on this glitch and went back home. I got back to Bellingham and then ping. Sarah got me she wanted to get her nails done. Sure I’ll take you there. Dropped her off. Then I realized I got pretty close to my quota after just one day.

Another fruitful Friday.

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