Beep! My next ride is very close by. Minutes away. (It’s a Friday night around midnight, and I am in Baltimore. Ride requests, they are aplenty.) My passenger hops in with more of what feels like a Taxi! vibe.
She’s in a rush. She’s got to get to a nearby bar. There’s an emergency. What kind of emergency? The staff are too drunk to do their work, she tells me. She’s a manager at the bar and something has gone very wrong for her to get a call and have to come in on a night off. She doesn’t elaborate, but she does say, Kids these days! She says that she’s young herself, but she’s not that young!
She’s white, blond, medium build, friendly and age 32.
She asks me how I’m doing? In what regard? I ask. (My life? Tonight? Uber?) With Uber? How is it with all the drunk people? I tell her that I like driving at night; there are fewer cars on the road. That I haven’t had too many drunks. She tells me she feels for the late-night Uber drivers dealing with all the drunk passengers.
I drop her off at her bar and see what she means. We’re in Federal Hill, the epicenter of Baltimore’s drunk scene for young, (mostly) white, mostly privileged residents and bar-goers. It’s a madhouse. People are out all over the place and are very much clustered in front of her bar in particular. I drop her off a half block away because we’re stuck in traffic, and she can walk to her bar faster than I can drive her there. She wishes me a good night and I do the same.
Key experience: I have little reason to be in Federal Hill on a Friday night (which is an odd thing to say as I was just there last Friday for some live music … but off on a smaller street). My eyes are opened to the frat/drunk/bar scene here, and it’s not something I’d call lovely. They’re having fun in the way intoxicated people do, by shouting, slurring their words and being exaggerated in movement and speech. I’ve been there. I’m glad to be far beyond this world in terms of personal leanings, age and interest.