BEANED IN THE LINE OF DUTY

Recently, I had the pleasure of being beaned by a passenger. I was not injured which is good because I believe that the Uber is not into workmen’s compensation. And besides, I had to expect the pelting. It was just another Labor Day weekend in Atlanta.

In most towns, around the country, Labor Day is about going to the pool, barbeques, and the last rites of summer. Not so much in Atlanta. Maybe it’s the 70,000 people at Dragoncon who are dressed up like Ninja Turtles Matrix dudes, and Trekkies. Perhaps it is the crowds flamboyantly dressed up for Black Gay Pride weekend. Perchance, it’s the hordes of reading enthusiasts carrying their favorite books around the Decatur Book Festival (definitely the wildest group) or it is just possibly the throngs of football fans at the Georgia Dome for the big games…. Whatever the reason, it is just crazy town.

But I digress. Of all of the events going on, the one I tried to avoid was the Georgia Dome. There is something about hordes of people walking around with beers that just sends up little warning sounds in my head. So, I situated myself far from the maddening crowds.

As luck would have it, I picked up a couple that had just moved to Atlanta from China. I was happily showing them the sites of Midtown when I realized that the GPS was drawing us closer and closer to the UNC-Georgia football game just as it was ending. Ironically this newly arrived couple was particularly interested in knowing what the safe parts of town were. As I pulled up to the house, I understood their trepidations. The nervous couple asked if I could literally drive them across the front yard to the door. “Oh, don’t worry,” I tried to reassure them, “this area is not that bad. It’s in transition.” Which is what real estate agents say when they are describing an area that includes drug dealers and hip professionals hoping to buy low and sell high. The couple was having none of that. As they stepped out of my car and directly onto their porch they told me that they would be moving out in another week. Note to Self: Do not rely solely on the internet when moving to a foreign city you have never been to.

As I pulled out of the “transitioning” neighborhood, looming ahead was the Georgia Dome. Shining in all its glory, the area was overwhelmed by masses of people leaving the stadium. Happy Georgia Bulldog fans; very depressed UNC Tar Heels. As luck would have it, I ended up picking up four very large, unhappy, and totally inebriated Tar Heels. They probably had a right to be depressed considering the two consecutive pass interference calls that gave Georgia the momentum to begin the winning drive.

Pass Interference, my horn!

Maneuvering through the teeming crowds, my Tar Heel passengers gave me driving instructions such as “Don’t go around that car. You could be called for pass interference.” “Don’t follow that car at a safe distance. You could be called for pass interference.” At one point, someone noticed the tissues I keep in the backseat pocket. And that’s when it happened. I got beaned. “Oops” said my Tar Heel bad boy, “pass interference.” It was then that the gang of four drunk giants grasped that they had just hit their Uber driver. They turned into little boys who realized that they had done a no-no. But I brushed off by saying that it was a new experience. It is not every day that you get pelted.

I could share other experiences like being told to drive backwards down a main street because the passenger wanted to put an envelope into a real old fashioned mailbox we had passed; or the out-of-towners that insisted on me playing the Old School radio station at full blast while mangling every word of every song, but why bother. It was just another Labor Day in Atlanta.

SUMMING IT UP: There is a tendency for people to take themselves too seriously or to get all self-righteous about things that really don’t matter. I think people need to take a step back and look at the humor of it all. Sure, I could have got all annoyed at being beaned by a bunch of inebriated fans, but it was kinda funny. I could have gotten nasty about the situation and gotten in their faces. But what would that have accomplished? Would I have felt better as four angry Tar Heel fans pounded on me? Of course, not. I could have driven past the Tar Heel passengers’ stop and shouted “penalty for pass interference- 30 yards.” Would I have enjoyed my self-righteousness as they turned my car upside down? Of course, not. So let’s not take things too seriously. I was just beaned by a pack of tissues and I found it kind of funny.