Wednesday evening in Seattle Washington turned out to be a surprisingly rather profitable one for me. I had got a late start to the day being that I had worked pretty late into the night the day prior. I woke up around 10:00 AM, which meant I had already slept through all the early morning profits of the early AM commute, which meant missing a few airport runs as well. I quickly got myself together and rushed out the door into……..the Midday Slump. Oh well, let the grind begin, I thought. I spent the better part of the next few hours grudgingly hauling pax from one short trip to another, with a few grocery store runs thrown in to further compound my misery.
As afternoon wore into evening, and the PM rush hour began, my profits picked up some. The sun had come out and the air was unusually warm for a fall day in Seattle. This enticed many locals to leave work early for engagements in various outdoor mid week activities or social functions. I soon became quite busy shuttling pax from one activity to another. However as the afternoon turned to evening I noticed the traffic was still quite congested, even though it was now 8:00 PM, well past the evening rush hour/commute.
I looked to my left, and then my right, at the heavily clogged streets and I gradually became aware, that nearly every car out on the road was another ant. So much for Uber reducing the carbon footprint huh? But that's a thought for a different story.
Around 10:00 PM I had decided that after one last ride, I was going to pack it in. I wanted to be able to get up in time for the next day’s early AM commute. A few minutes later a request came through from a well known ritzy seafood grill and bar. “Great!” I thought, “A most likely well-to-do couple and an almost certain tip to end my night on!”
I pulled up to the front of the seafood grill, bypassing the valet area to park just far enough away so as to not interfere with their job, but still be visible to my pax. Then I saw her, “Wasted Wendy,” staggering towards my car holding up her phone and babbling to anyone and no one in particular. .She approached my passenger window and motioned for me to roll it down, to which I did. “I’m Wendy! I’m your Uber….You're my Uber…...I’m your passenger…..Buuuurp!”
Before I could think of a way out, the Valet had opened my rear door…(“No Stop!........Oh Crap!!”)....and gestured for Wendy to get in. Great! Let's get this over with. Once settled in we were under way. The first thing Wendy said to me was not a sentence I wanted to hear. “Oh boy! That wine I had sure didn't mix well with my seafood.”......(Buuuuuuuurp!)
OH God!! A smell of fermented, pickled tuna assaulted my nose while burning my eyes. “ Are you going to be sick?!” I asked. “No…….gurgle….burp…….I’m fine.” I was thoroughly disgusted at my predicament and rather annoyed by my prior greed, that I did not end my night earlier. No one has ever thrown up in my car, and that's how I want to keep it. I pulled a gallon zip lock bag out of my glove box and attempted to hand it back to her, which she staunchly waved away. “I’m fine!” she said.
She then rolled down the window and began leaning out. As I glanced back at her I became aware that another car was behind me, quite close. What was this guy's problem. Oh I see. Its Anxious Ant! He’s more important, he's gotta be places! I knew I was going the posted speed limit on this single lane 30 mph city road. This ant was just going to have to chill out. I had bigger problems inside my car. As I continued my pace, Anxious Ant began dramatically jerking his car side to side, riding the shoulder and plowing over the plastic markers in the bicycle lane. I then noticed that he had pax in the car and they looked terrified by the ant’s driving. I saw them yelling something at him, while he in turn yelled back and angrily gestured towards me. Then to add to dramatic flair, he suddenly floored it and raced up directly on my rear bumper, completely obliterating his headlights from my view.
As I began looking for a driveway to pull over in to let this nutcase go by, I heard my pax in the back seat. “W-WH-WH-WHU……..”
“Don't you throw up in my car!! You hear me?? Don't you dare!”
“Naw…..W-whaz goin ooon? Whyz he driving like that?”
“Dont worry about it! I’m pulling over so you can get some air!”
I see a left hand turn lane coming up at the end of the block and I turn on my turn signal, still well away from the intersection. The ant was inches from my bumper and I didnt want to unexpectedly slow down. I looked into my rear view mirror and saw his angry scowling face, fists pumping the air in frustration. As I reached the beginning of the left hand turn lane, I carefully began to ease my car into the lane, knowing that as soon as I barely cleared my car from the road, the ant would race by with mere inches.
I did not slow down as I entered the turn lane. I was so busy watching both Wendy and the crazy ant, that I overshot the lane and my driver's tire ran over one of the big yellow lane marker bumps. This was too much for Wendy, who had been hanging her head out my window all this time. Then I saw it….the thing no Uber driver wants to see, her abdomen shuddering and her shoulders shaking as she fights the losing battle within.
“NOOOOOOOO! My door panel!”
She arched her head back first, then violently forward, releasing the most projectile vomit spew of which I had not seen since the Exorcist movies. Right onto my………..Oh wait……...her head is out the window! Ok my outside door can be hosed off, but…...Oh wait, the other Ant! Time seemed to move in slow motion as I watched a shapeless blob of the unimaginable, fly out of this petite womans mouth and for a second seemed to almost take flight, before gravity taking hold and sending this mass flying back towards the windshield of the ant’s passing car. I heard a sudden screech of brakes, and simultaneously I look back at the ant, he himself seemed frozen in time, with a look of shock and horror upon his face as he watched the inevitable come flying towards his windshield.
The blob hit his windshield with a resounding splat. With an accuracy as certain as if she had aimed his way intentionally. I looked quickly down at my inner door panel beneath her…..nothing! Not even a drop…...good…….good……..Oh wait...What's that other sound. It sounds like screams. Yes! Screams of rage and disgust coming from the other car.
I look back at the other ant, but alas, I can no longer see inside the front windshield. It's now collage of scattered debris, a blurry mess now made into a smeared paste with the windshield wipers working furiously as wiper fluid squirted volumes of fluid onto the mess.
I decided that perhaps Wendy and I should get out of there, fast, which we did. Thankfully Wendy didn't get sick again and we made it the final two miles to her house. When we pulled up I looked back at her to see her passed out again hanging her head and arm outside of my car window. I decided to get out and survey the damage. Actually, it wasn’t too bad, Most of the vomit was projected onto the other ant’s car. I tapped of the clean part of my outside door.
“Wendy!....Wendy!!....C’mon, time to get up! You're home.”
She clambered out of the car and staggered to her feet, pausing for a few seconds to gather herself. Without a word, she lumbering towards her door before going inside. I looked back at my car and debated whether I wanted to spend the next five hours arguing with Uber over a cleaning fee, or hose it off myself. Yes my door had a lot of vomit on it, but I keep something in my trunk for just such emergencies. I decided to clean it myself.
A Super Soaker 1100
I drove around the block, parked my car, and went to my trunk to pull out my gallon of water and load my squirt gun with the water. Within seconds I had power blasted all the vomit from my car, emptied the rest of the unused water from the gun onto the ground and stored it back in the trunk.
“You have kids?” my luggage hauling airport pax always ask upon seeing the squirt gun in my trunk.
“No,” I reply, “But I’m always stuck babysitting a few.”