Taken for a ride: an Uber-full of nonsense

Taken from A Carriage in London by Constantin Guys (1848-56)
Taken from A Carriage in London by Constantin Guys (1848-56)
Taken from A Carriage in London by Constantin Guys (1848-56)

I ordered an Uber to the railway station. The driver reached me within two minutes. This digital behaviour has become highly evident, and is truly habit-forming. Once you’ve hailed a ride through a digital interface, it’s hard to imagine ever going back to calling a dispatcher and waiting, and waiting.

I acknowledged that I was in a mask, as I’d been negative for only a few days. That’s alright, he said, although he thought the tests were showing everything as Covid now. Oh joy, I thought.

My Uber rating is surprisingly low, as a result of a single booking more than five years ago: returning from the vet with my cat, howling for freedom in her carrier. I can scarcely afford a disagreement with a taxi driver.

He continued. He thought the Covid thing was overblown; that the media and government had made a great big deal out of nothing. That politicians and scientists were out to control you. I stuck to neutral noises: not in agreement but not contesting either. The cowardice of a man with a low score.

He’d had Covid, he said, and it was basically just ‘flu. Oh so he’d had his jabs, then, I replied hopefully. No, he didn’t believe in them. My next noise must have sounded curious. He would’ve got them but he knew so many people that got sick from the vaccines, with blood clots and all. Like who, I regretted asking. Of course, he couldn’t name anyone. I lurched for another topic of conversation.

Just as it’s hard to return to calling minicab offices, it’s hard to come back to professionally-researched information through mainstream media. Social feels like socialising: a conversation in the pub, surrounded by friends: low-commitment and self-regulating. You would only see the half-truths and manipulation on your timelines if you choose to look, and why would a comfortable person choose discomfort?

My digital behaviour brought me a taxi ride. His brought him a customer, and a warm bath of misinformation. And by leaving this unchallenged, my Uber score improved by 0.01.

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