The Sheer Terror That Comes When You’re Pretty Sure Your Uber Driver Has Never Been Behind a Wheel

March 27th, 1 hour before we catch our train to Vienna

John checks the time on his phone and looks at me with a crazed look of epiphany, the type of look I have come to love him for, the look that says ‘I am about to exercise poor judgment and impulsiveness like you do all the time!’ “If we catch an Uber right now, we can see the Mucha stained glass at St. Vitus Cathedral and then go to the hotel, pick up our luggage, and make the train in plenty of time.” An equally crazed smile slowly evolves on my face. “Let’s do it!” I call an Uber on my phone, not realizing this is Big Mistake #1 in the grand scheme.

We both watch the little car icon drive down a nearby street, pause for God knows what reasons, flip around, flip back around again, and continue down the road. “Wow! We got a stunt driver it seems!” I am amused at this point, but mildly concerned. We both watch in horror as he misses his turn and drives down the wrong street. Suddenly his route readjusts and his arrival time is extended by 2 minutes. “No!” we exclaim in unison. The car icon is clearly supposed to make a right, but pauses, I’m assuming in desperation or confusion (or to deliberately piss us off.) He turns around (remember this is a stunt driver we’re talking about) and turns back around again whereupon I cheer him on by saying “Come on! You can do it!” and then watch in horror as he turns left, magically traverses what seems to be sidewalk, buildings, restaurants, etc, and winds up on a street as complicated and out of the way as female anatomy, extending the time by another 2 minutes.

“What?! No!” I say reflexively. We are both in the middle of a terrible video game in which neither of us are in control of the players and the game is clearly defective. Suddenly the car stops, 3 blocks away, and waits. And waits. After a few moments, I say: “Aargh.” (Because I am old and have the vernacular of someone who spent too much time with 75 year old ladies last weekend. “Let’s just walk to him.” John and I debate (AKA fight) about this for a little while until I assert myself and start walking in the driver’s direction. We wander to the left, to the right. “I think we’re getting closer!” I exclaim. And like the driver, we turn around, we turn again, and walk until at long last we find him, leaning nonchalantly against his vehicle as if he is about to take a smoke break. I am so grateful, I greet him with the most sincere yet frustrated smile ever. “Thank you,” I say, in a language I have just made up. And off we go.

Tyler Graves