We’re shifting from Driver Culture to Car Culture. Should that change the way we think about Uber?
Alex Danco
1167

The little town in which I live on the Great Plains of Turtle Island has no Uber. None. Thankfully, this little cornfield-surrounded town has a local taxi company. I’ve been using them on and off for the last six years. One of the things I like about them is that you need no smart phone. You simply call them up and say, ‘I am here and I want to go there.’ They show up in 3 to 7 minutes and take you where ever you want to go.

And they will take you anywhere within the town limits for just 4 bucks! If Uber were in control we would be paying 2 to 4 times that much — even without a driver.

But I really like the family of three who run our local taxi service. I always ask the cabbie that I get how the family is doing. We catch up on news and gossip and weather. And, even though the cost is 4 bucks, I always pay 6 bucks because I believe in 50% gratuities.

“Uber, schmoober,” is what the patriarch of the familial triumvirate responded one day when I asked him what the result would be if Uber finally came to our little podunk town. I happen to know that this cabbie patriarch is just two years away from collecting Social Security. He talks often about retirement and he probably thinks he can make it before Uber takes over.

Or maybe by, “Uber, schmoober,” he means something more. I don’t know. I never prodded him to go further.

Without a car, I truly appreciate my very human taxicab drivers. I care about them. But what scares me is the whole driver-less car thing. When it comes time to get a car of my own again, will I be able to drive the damn thing? Or will it insist on driving itself? It will be like using a taxicab service without anyone to talk to.

I want to drive my own car, gosh darn it. Driving your own car is a true joy, an inalienable right, an euphoric experience. Will we all lose that some day? Will future generations grow up without ever experiencing the profound thrill of driving a car through the countryside, windows down, hands on the steering wheel, the dog sticking her head out the window?

Smartphones try to do all our thinking for us. Cars are now wanting to take all the driving from us. How long will technology take before it wipes our asses for us? I’m not sure I want to live in a world where I can’t wipe my own ass or drive my own car.