#RealDeal: Hitchhiking was once safer than my Uber driver
First off, thanks everyone who tuned into our (semi impromptus) live stream of the Range Rover sport SVR.
See, a few months back my buddy Matt hit me up asking if I wanted to go for a ride in the in a 2016 Lamborghini huracan LP610-4 spyder. Of course, I said yes, but what I didn't expect was for the ride to be so nerdy and knowledgeable. Matt really knows his shit, and I am an insanely curious person, so objectively I was all ... oh man, we should turn this into something. So, we did.
One of the questions we received was "why didn't Jen drive the car?"
Great question, have a question for you ...
HAVE YOU SEEN ME DRIVE A CAR?
Exhibit A: Golf cart. Catalina Island.
See that pink bag in the road? That's mine.
I drove halfway down the mountain before I noticed a BRIGHT PINK BAG WAS GONE FROM THE GOLF CART.
The good part about living in my own little world is that when I get really excited/ enamored with an environment, I truly get lost in it.
The bad part about living in my own little world is that when I get really excited/ enamored with an environment, I truly get lost in it.
It's safer with Matt driving, trust me on this.
Now to the post ...
Not knowing, I was eager to find out.
I came home from the barn, showered, and grabbed an uber heading around the corner to a different section of the hills.
<tangent> Earlier in the day I had been invited to go horseback riding with a trained equestrian gf.
I used to go horseback riding as a kid, but haven't been on a horse since my 24th birthday (which I spent in the key of Jason Derulo).
Damn I forgot how much I love this song ...
I was super nervous when I first mounted ...
... so I quickly had to shift focus off the probability of being bucked, and remain in the here and now of "you're on a damn horse Friel, if you think you're going to get bucked- you're fucked. Brain off. Common sense on."
It didn't take long to get back in the saddle (oh the puns) ...
... but afterwards, I realized how cool it was that horses call you on your bullshit. I couldn't lie to myself and say I was calm when I was actually stressed; I had to be as in tune with my own body as I was with the horse.
Is zen and the art of horseback riding a thing? Because if not it should be. Back to the party, and point ... </tangent>
Even though I knew the person in charge of the guest list, I chose not to text because frankly, I hate asking for favors, and also because I knew I could get in without it. (I received the invite and address from a guy I met at the first party.)
Let's look at the situation logically, shall we?
The door is (typically) run by a dude.
What do dudes like?
Helping out chicks (particularly those in need).
I knew the names of the people I could ask for (should I need it), but in this outfit?
I didn't need it.
I wandered around a bit, and after getting the lay of the land settled for a back tent that resembled less of something found in the outback, and more of something pitched by the Troop residing in the Hills of Beverly.
Moments into copping a squat on the side of the couch, I was stopped by one of the girls.
"OMG, she said in a shrill, non-ironic Valley Girl voice, I love your outfit!"
"Thank you," was what I said, but "done" was what I thought.
<tangent> I could tell within two seconds that these girls were hustlers, and if I just sat back and temporarily friended them I could peripherally absorb whatever I wanted at this party without being responsible for actually talking/ making friends. If I liked someone I would speak up, but in this scenario I could be a fly on the wall and not the main feast. </tangent>
Another one of the girls stood up as I took a second and realized she looked familiar.
Top model, I thought, but didn't say; she was the bitch that season.
(Which could have been editing on the part of the producer, so I made sure to keep an open mind and not pass judgement too quickly.)
Top Model then announced to the group that she wanted to get another drink.
"Yeaaahhhhh, said the Valley Girl, we should like, get another drink; I know a way."
I'm sure you do, I thought as I reminded myself to keep an open mind. You wanted an adventure, and now you have one.
We left the pitched tent and walked over to the bar which was now about 20 people deep.
What are you drinking? she asked.
White wine, I said wondering where she was going with this.
K, one sec, she said walking to the front of the line and around the back of the bar to a patiently waiting (shockingly "not busy") male bartender.
I couldn't see what exactly she did, but moments later I had a drink in hand.
I was one part impressed, and another part wondering what she was giving in exchange.
We hung out for a few hours as I watched them hustle the room for joints, and digits. They were both openly looking for relationships, but I wasn't sure if it was more for companionship or cash.
Absolutely none of my business either way, but when I'm over something, I'm over it. While the party was definitely interesting, I was adventured out and ready to head home to the only animal I wanted in my bed.
THIS FACE!! I CAN'T EVEN!!
I walked away from the group and dipped over to the restroom before calling uber.
Moments later, I heard the voice again ...
... this time saying "there you are!"
<tangent> Mind you, she wasn't being clingy at all, this was all about power, and she was demonstrating her value to anyone within ear shot.
She was promoting the fact that she knew people ...
Promoting the fact that she was desired ...
Promoting the fact that this was her thing, and it was happening outside the place where dudes shake their uh ... thing.
As we waited in line, a guy approached only this time, I was the object of affection.
Words were coming out of his mouth as I politely nodded wanting the world to end in this exact moment.
He was really cute, so I wasn't mad at that, I was just again over it and wanted to take the express lane as fast as possible to destination home.
(As is, I had a shrill voice in my ear, and the last thing I needed was the puppy chasing the high pitched whistle.)
A few moments later the bathroom finally opened as the cute (poorly timed) guy asked for my number.
Sure, I said thinking I'd be less hangry after a burger and a Buster in my bed. (Horseback riding on a hot day takes a lot out of you, I discovered.)
He opened his phone and quickly realized he couldn't find the address book icon.
Here I said without thought, grabbing his device.
Two seconds into opening up his contacts he quickly grabs his phone back and said, "that tells me enough about your personality- I'm good."
So was I, I thought, finally dipping into the restroom.
As my brain mentally went to grabbing an uber, my arm was physically grabbed by another gentleman saying that he was impressed with what he saw.
WHY ARE YOU BOTHERING ME, I said with my eyes, genuinely confused as to why words were being spoken. (I really do get hangry.)
"You're really sharp, he said. I'd like to get your number to take you out. Here," he said handing me his phone.
Since he didn't look like a serial killer, I entered in my contact info but firmly said that I had to go.
I made it down the driveway and street far enough to not be seen, but also too far to have reception to call uber.
<tangent> You don't get reception in the hills, so you have to call uber while you still have wifi. By leaving the house, I left the wifi range. All that I knew was that I didn't want to go back. </tangent>
Not a problem, I thought, there's a shuttle service so I can jump on and get off somewhere within range.
As I waited by the designated shuttle area avoiding eye contact (by staring down at the reception-less device), I heard the Top Model ask, "when is the next shuttle? Why isn't there one here now?"
Face-palming would have been too obvious, so I instead accepted the fate that I chose, and simply replied, "I have no idea. I didn't take the shuttle up."
Her twin flame in tow, Valley Girl then asked, "what do you mean you didn't take the shuttle?"
"My friend just gave me the address, and the uber driver just drove here. Am I missing something?"
"We had to take two shuttles. We were told to park at this lot in Hollywood and that no one was allowed to drive directly to the house."
"Who invited you," I asked?
"This guy. He's a manager."
I laughed to myself knowing that's the oldest trick in the book, and not my scene jelly bean.
We waited for at least ten minutes, and I'm not sure if she was just super wasted or as exhausted as I was (or both), but Top Model lost her footing as she tripped and dropped the contents of her handbag into the bushes.
"Go get it," she directed in my direction as if I had suddenly transformed into Lassie ready, willing, and eager to grab Timmy from the well.
"You're a big girl," I sharply said back. "Here," I said playing fair and placing my arm out so she could safely climb over the chain link fence gathering her own belongings.
The girls then walked up the hill in an attempt to find out the arrival time of the next shuttle, and as they did so I about faced it down the road figuring I'd walk far enough until I (hopefully) got reception.
A half hour or so later, three shuttles passed by as I stupidly/ stubbornly/ confidently kept walking knowing my own piece of mind was all that mattered ("allegedly").
As I rounded a pair of trash cans, I noticed that the sidewalk was deeply disturbed by roots and I would have to continue the downward trek in the actual street.
Without street lights, on a windy road, in a dark outfit, logic said that I would be an ABSOLUTE idiot to continue further.
(Which let's be honest, I was the idiot to do this in the first place. WHO LEAVES A PARTY IN THE HILLS BY WALKING DOWN SAID HILL??? I've done it multiple times before which is what gave me the confidence to do it in the first place, but that STILL doesn't make the idea any smarter.)
I was faced with two options:
1. wait for yet another shuttle or 2. hitchhike
As I looked up, still debating, I saw headlights and the large Mercedes emblem that is on (Matt would know the name of it) one of those expensive convertibles.
THAT, I said flagging him down (which took a nano second considering my purposefully chosen outfit, and damsel in distress attitude).
He rolled down his window as I explained my predicament.
I asked if I could have a ride to the country mart that is next to Pace (pronounced ever so snobbily as Pach-ae).
"Get in, he said. I can't believe you walked this whole way from that party. I'm his neighbor, and it's nice to meet you."
Five minutes of pleasantries later, I was dropped off outside the country mart where I could finally call uber.
Two evenings later (while getting ready for a tinder date), I texted back the guy I met outside of the restroom:
I then left for my date, and when we were done, he ordered an uber for the ride home.
<tangent> It's funny, some girls I've heard take offense to this, but for a first date I think it's awesome.
After a first date (or if a guy wants dinner) he:
1. has to first call to ask me out (I won't accept a date via text)
2. then either drives to pick me up/get an uber and comes to my place to pick me up
3. returns the original option on the ride home.
A proper date is a proper date, and I am a classy broad.
This particular night wasn't a "true date" but rather a "hey let's see if you don't suck/ general get together" also known to some as the non-culinary related "sharing of space." </tangent>
We then bid each other adieu as I got in the uber noticing the driver fumble a bit trying to figure out the lock and park. My instincts immediately perked up, as the car pulled forward down San Vicente blvd.
Testing his sobriety, I asked if he wouldn't mind turning on the radio.
The car then rolled to almost a complete stop as my breath shortened realizing that this guy was definitely on something.
I didn't smell alcohol, but I couldn't rule out drugs.
As he rounded the corner to turn on Wilshire, I watched him take the turn too tight and almost go over onto the wrong side of the road.
That was all the confirmation I needed as I placed my hand on the lock holding it as best as I could.
(FYI, if you sit in the back of ubers be careful because the driver could lock the doors and theoretically turn on the child lock on rendering it impossible for you to leave [without something to break the glass].)
"Hey," I said leaning forward at a red light with my hand still on the lock. "I'm going to go visit my friend (who happened to live around the corner should I need a place to dodge into); do you mind dropping me off here," I asked very politely?
He then abruptly turned around and raised his voice saying "I have to take you to your destination. I'm getting paid for the full fare. You're not getting out of here."
"Oh yeah, I'm good," I said as I calmly but quickly opened the door.
Now out of the car, but not knowing what to do (and still genuinely shocked that after all the years of riding in cars with strangers this was the first time I didn't feel safe), I took this photo of the back of his car as my hands shook:
I didn't actually want to disturb my friend (who did live right there), I just knew it was a card I could play in a moment of need. I instead opted to dip into a bar down the street in an attempt to wait out any potential aggression.
As I sat down, still shaking (I don't respond well to unaccounted variables), I realized that the driver might do something to my date's rating. Having never been put in this position before, I genuinely had no idea, but wanted to be proactive and respectful giving him the heads up.
A half hour and yet another uber ride later, I received this screenshot:
So did this experience stop me from using uber?
Hell no. I still take it almost every day.
After all, even the worst uber driver is potentially a better driver than I am.
Next week, Matt and I are taking out a Jaguar SUV, (feel free to tune into Facebook to find out when). Oh, and also, I have an opportunity for one more person to ride in a Tesla to CES if anyone in the LA area is interested, I'll tell you more info privately.
Do you have an automotive dealer? Or work in the industry?
Check out dropinauto.com or email Jen at dropininc.com
I'd love to talk to you.
Also, just want to make my inbox weird? I respect that, and you go right ahead. Thanks internet!