A dear friend, and one whose opinion I respect, helped me edit my book manuscript. While he agreed with some of the points in this story, he also suggested I edit it to be politically correct. I decided to keep it in, as my book is not about being politically correct or incorrect, but is about human observation and what I see and experience.
You’re not one of the regulars
I pick him up. He’s politely and respectfully standing outside of his home, waiting for me. He enters my car. Medium height, late 30s, Nepalese. He’s off to a dentist appointment.
You’re not one of the regulars, he says to me, then he begins listing a bunch of men’s names who, per his experience, are the regulars. No, I just started about 10 days ago, I tell him. I live nearby, I say. I assume he Ubers regularly and probably doesn’t drive or own a car.
He has many advanced degrees, degrees in finance, engineering, IT. He makes some comment about how it’s not fun to go to school but if you’re going to be a hippie then you have to live in a small house and not complain about how much money you make.
I can’t tell if he’s bonding with me, preaching, or channeling God. I’m a hippie, a modern-day one.
He has a smell about him. I make an assumption and tell myself a story: It’s his diet, his foreign-to-me diet and probably some Nepalese spices or staple foods he consumes regularly. It impacts all of him. It’s not bad, per se; it’s simply different.
I recall that 25 years prior, for a short time I dated the kindest gentleman from Côte d’Ivoire. He was smart, funny, attentive and really nice. But he had a foreign smell to me that I simply couldn’t get over. I remember going one day to his home where he and some of his siblings lived. (He had eight siblings, all told.) They were eating peanut soup made with some tasty and exotic spices.
I realized then that this guy’s whole biome was different; his gut was different, his bacteria were different. I felt the same with this Nepalese guy now in my car. His body is a whole different ecosystem and universe of bacteria, microorganisms and gases than mine. And the resulting smell is neither familiar nor comfortable to me.
Key experience: Regulars! Who knew? I have a feeling I’ll probably be giving him more Uber rides in the future. What an interesting thought to have regular passengers.
Photo by Jonathan Niederhoffer.