Conversations in Ubers…

Today we had a great chat with Ronald. He was an older man. Had moved to LA years ago from Chicago. He started in San Diego but the Windy City had made him a big city man and he moved to LA. Now he’s driving Uber to keep busy in retirement. I think he must have been around my age. I know about his grandkids…his worry that that kids today have too great a sense of entitlement. We chatted about life. About the changing world. And about the importance of engaging the world on terms that reflect our values. All on a 20 minute Uber ride. He got a nice tip.

Yesterday it was Duane. He had a gold Ford Focus. He offered us bottles of water. Mints were available in the door pockets in the back and there as a phone charger as well. When he heard me coughing a bit he had a pack of Ricola cough drops at the ready. Duane was dapper — wearing a driving cap and a scarf wrapped around his throat to forestall the chill in the air on Sunday morning with a lingering dampness from the previous day’s rain.

Duane was originally from Michigan. Detroit. He had come here to visit his daughter — his only child — some years ago. He had driven out. And then he headed home but along the way decided “screw it.” Why not move to LA to be closer to his daughter. So he did. We were his 4954th ride. He was doing Uber and loving life. We talked about the lecture gigs on the cruise ship (we drove by our ship which had just come into port that morning) and that led to a chat about the lectures and the theme of a world in transition.

You could tell it resonated with him, as it had with Roland. I hope it does with the passengers on board.

Ruslan, our Russian driver from LA.also offered his glimpses of life in the region. Venna on Saturday morning talked about our shared neighborhood in Haymarket and her early morning Uber passengers and why she wouldn’t wait for another fare at Dulles but would go to Herndon and let her day flow where her passengers took her.

Its fun to chat with the Uber drivers. In DC I’ve met drivers from Somalia and Ethiopia and from Pakistan and from the Middle East. We met a southerner who had transplanted himself to Alaska to escape “all the government.” We’ve met all sorts and almost universally they have been chatty…fun even…and generally interested in people. I’m sure that not everyone’s experience is the same, but I look forward to the next ride. The Uber drivers we met seem a restless bunch…restless in a good way. Looking to the next ride, open to the next adventure.

We’ve got itchy feet too and now it’s off to sea. On board the ship. In a bit the USC Marching Band in coming on board to entertain us and then, at 6 tonight we leave port. So, from Uber rides, to missives from Stateroom 9019, we wish you fair winds and following seas.

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