Saturday night and you’re feeling right. The downtown Reno bar scene is alive and thriving. Drinks are steadily flowing and good times are definitely being had by all. But eventually, after hearing “Can’t Feel My Face” for the sixth time, The Weeknd isn’t the only one going numb. If this wasn’t a sign enough the night should come to an end, your roommate has inevitably entered that part of the night where she thinks it’s a good move to text her ex. Logically you decide it’s best for all parties if you turn in for the night.
You can’t tell if you’re too lazy to make the trek home or if you’re just downright drunk. But what’s the difference right? The time has come, my friend. Request an Uber.
Your phone screen illuminates with the fleet of cars in your area as you patiently await your fate.
Then BAM! Chad, who drives a black Honda Civic, is at your beck and call, just a mere four minutes away. Before you even get in the Uber, you feel like you already know so much about Chad. Aside from knowing the make, model and color of his car, you know Chad has an impressive 4.8 stars and a profile picture that looks like it was taking during a J.C. Penney personal photo spread. We can all already take a pretty educated guess on the kind of guy “Chad” is.
Despite the lack of style Chad may or may not have, he is the captain of your Uber ship, The commander on the SS Uber. He is the assurance that you and your (less than composed) roommate are going to get home in one piece.
But first, in order to assure this ride is smooth sailing, you must know there is an unspoken etiquette in the Uber ride you’re about to venture on.
First off, an unwritten rule is that you must apologize. We still are unsure why this trend is an Uber-mannerism must have, but think about it. After a long night have you ever gotten into an Uber, taxi or lyft and didn’t initially open up with a “Hey, uh yeah I’m so sorry.”
Uber drivers everywhere, although puzzled by your unprovoked apology, serve as a great conscience clearer. I’m guessing this apology stems from a subconscious need to right wrongs such as singing Mariah Carey at Cal Neva karaoke or the six rounds of $15 drinks you spent at St. James. Either way the apology, although completely unnecessary serves as a fresh start and opens the doorway for a clear conscience and entryway into the rest of the Uber journey.
Once in the Uber one of the worst things you can do is remain quiet. This is a perfect opportunity to practice your conversational skills with strangers. I know at times it almost pains you to not exclaim your unwavering love for Uber while bashing every cabbie in a 100-mile radius, but for the love of God try to refrain from your drunken proclamation of Uber love. This is probably the most generic conversation Uber drivers hear every time someone gets in their car. For Chad’s sake, don’t beat a dead horse.
Instead, maybe politely inquire on whether or not Uber serves as their full-time job or just a side gig. It is human nature for others to enjoy talking about themselves. And let’s face it, after the amount of gin and tonics you’ve probably just guzzled down, it’s safer Chad does the talking anyway. But in all sincerity, this segue into this conversation can be a great way to network. Many Uber drivers have other careers. In my personal experience, I have had Uber drivers that manned yachts, invented online poker apps and used to limo drive for some of Hollywood’s most lavish celebrities. Who knows what your driver’s day job is? It doesn’t hurt to strike up that conversation. Who knows maybe you will have a valuable business card by the end of your ride.
Another huge Uber no-no is assuming position as co-captain during your expedition when you don’t know your ass from your elbow when it comes to directions. And instead of telling your driver on three separate occasions that he missed a turn because you are too busy regrettably tweeting your night’s play-by-play. Do Chad and yourself a favor and let MapQuest take the lead here.
For those of you are versed in Ubers you know that some offer special amenities such as tissues, a candy bowl filled with undesirables and in some cases if you’re really lucky, the Uber driver will even have an aux cord. It is blessing enough if the Uber driver recognized radio stations can be less than average, making the aux cord a man’s best friend. But don’t take advantage of this luxury. Refrain from playing the first 30 seconds of six of your favorite pop songs. Choose confidently and with thoughtful caution that you will be able to make it through the song. This is not only an Uber etiquette, but any car trip common courtesy.
Uber is a convenient service that can be a fun little experience if done the right way. But Ubering is a craft. Avoid basic questions, keep the Biebs off the aux cord and be fully attentive when giving directions. Make sure to leave a comment if you have an enjoyable experience and most importantly, don’t forget to generously star your driver.
Ali Schultz studies journalism. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @AliSchultzzz.