The 90s were a great decade for high school cult classic films. I was actually in college by the time 10 Things I Hate About You came out, nevertheless, it immediately ranked up there with Clueless, Can’t Hardly Wait and Never Been Kissed as one of my top faves! In this modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, Kat Stratford (played by Julia Stiles) writes a sonnet poem for Patrick Verona (played by the late Heath Ledger) listing all of the things she loves to hate about their bittersweet puppy love romance, which unfolds when he shows up at Padua High. Though I haven’t watched the movie in ages, the title got me to thinking about all of the things I love to hate about driving Uber! It’s incredibly easy to tell people about all the things I totally love (the autonomy, getting paid once a week, freedom to roam around the five boroughs and meet interesting people), but the last three months have given me the type of insight and firsthand knowledge that CERTAINLY makes a girl frustrated at times.
So, the next few Uberlicious posts will be a part of series I’ll call:
10 Things I Hate About U(ber)!
#3 Weather Conditions
So, as I settle in at home just hours before the first and biggest anticipated snowfall of 2016, Winter Storm Jonas, I take a moment to reflect on how much I hate how the weather conditions impact my life as an Uber driver. Firstly, I’ll remind you that being a native Angeleno, or native Californian as it were, I have no experience of driving in inclement weather (read: snow/ice), and pretty much consider it a worst case scenario of industry hazards I could experience as a Uber driver (yes, I realize that there is, in fact, much worse things that can happen). And, that’s even if all can likely turn out well while on the icy roads driving from point A to point B around NYC. Nevertheless, it’s something I’m totally not looking forward to for a number of reasons.
- If I don’t drive, that’s a part of my income that I can’t rely on. While I freelance write and edit for clients throughout the month, the weekly check I get from Uber is something I expect to see every Thursday. So, snow = -$ check, as far as I’m concerned. And if you’re messing with my money, we aren’t cool!
- Even if I drive as cautiously as I know how to, which is pretty safe considering I learned how to drive in LA when I was like 15 (*ahem* Yes! That was shaded towards everyone else who learned how to drive either as adults or elsewhere!!!!!), I am still at risk of being in a dangerous accident at the hands of another driver who may not be as safe. Or, let’s say that both the other driver and I are both driving as cautiously as we know how. Who’s to say that an unfortunate quick break at an icy intersection or on the Jackie Robinson Parkway (one of NYC’s curviest parkways connecting Brooklyn and Queens) won’t send either car spiraling out of control and colliding as a result of black ice. I’m not, in any way, interested in experiencing that.
- Even though I’ve never driven during snowfall, I have spent time driving in rainy conditions, and I hate it! I’ll tell you why: I’ve come to realize that the signage here in NYC, and even in Long Island, is sometimes so small and out of the way that you cannot figure out which street is which if you’re driving at a certain speed. Factor in a small sign with smaller letters, or, God forbid, a sign that is weather worn, turned around or has been stolen/taken down, and driving during inclement weather becomes a dangerous game of “WAIT! What street was that??!!!???” trying to match the road you see through the windshield wipers to the one on the GPS map you see on your tablet. I definitely don’t want to play it in the snow.
- I can’t really guestimate if demand for riders is higher during the snow or lower. But I imagine that driving around, in the snow, trying to locate passengers can be a pain (and waste of gas) if there are more drivers out than passengers. If there aren’t a lot of drivers out, though, passengers can surely expect surge pricing to be in effect (which THEY will hate, but a report stated that surge pricing will be capped).
- Lastly, I hate being out in the inclement weather because those tend to be the best days to maximize staying in the house to spend time with loved ones (read: binge watch Netflix/Hulu/Amazon/DVR; make some homemade soup from scratch; put together a puzzle), or get some other creative work done with the time to yourself. So, even without Mayor de Blasio encouraging all New Yorkers to stay inside until the storm is over, I realize that there’s just something about the rain and the snow that amplifies the goodness that is STAYING HOME! At least for me, there is.
So, I won’t be out in the snowstorm chasing that almighty dollar. Now, if it turns out that the anticipated blizzard is just a few snow flurries… then I may decide to bundle up, defrost my windshield, turn on my seat warmers, and hit the road. But, it all remains to be seen in the next few hours.
Oh yeah, and KUDOS to Uber NYC for sending out a message encouraging drivers to be safe this weekend. While they tend to send text messages encouraging drivers to get on the road for the expected high demand during changing weather conditions, at least the text I received this evening was more along the lines of safety first and the choice to drive. At the end of the day, we each have to decide our limits as drivers.