Letters to my Sister in Japan — Day 44

A not-so-pleasant ride-sharing experience

Dear Sister,

By the time I found the right key to open the men’s restroom door, my phone buzzed to let me know that I had no time left to relieve myself. My Uber driver was downstairs already waiting for me.

I requested a ride during my walk to the restroom because I figured the app would take its time in finding an appropriate driver. From where I work, it usually takes 2 minutes for a driver to be assigned, and then an additional 5–10 minutes for the driver to reach me. Plenty of time to tinkle, walk back, clean-up my work desk, lock up the office and then head downstairs. Today, Uber decided to surprise me.

Once I got the alert, I blazed through my closing up ritual, and ended forgetting a few things back in the office. Probably a bad sign that the worst was yet to come.

I exited the building and found my driver on the main street, patiently waiting for me. I ran up to his car and apologized for making him wait. He kind of nodded as if he heard every excuse before. I thought it best to simply be polite and wait out the 20 minutes it takes to get home. The driver had another idea.

He introduced himself to me, and told me he was a soccer player, and a horse breeder, and a children’s book writer, and a songwriter too. He was working on a children’s book that he would donate to children’s hospitals in order to get exposure, and then hopefully generate sales. “Do you think it’s a good idea?” Oh shit, this guy is one of those dudes.

I tried my best to remain calm and encouraging, and just nodded and “uh-huhed” through all his hullabaloo, but he had other plans for me. He changed the CD in his stereo, and scanned for Track 1. Once the song started playing, I could hear the opening notes of what felt like a Nick Jr. TV show theme song. The instrument samples sounded fake, and the melodies way too simple. Then came the singing.

Remember the days when we used to have karaoke nights at the house and we’d all sing classics and stuff? Remember how embarrassing it was for us to sing any song after Dad would murder the mic? Remember how bad we all sounded? Well multiply that feeling of embarrassment by a thousand, because that’s the type of cringe I felt once this guy’s voice started blasting from the speakers.

To his credit, he carried the tune, but the audio quality was so bad it sounded like he decided to record his singing through a Skype call. But listening to his music wasn’t the worse part.

After he was done listening to him sing through his stereo, he put on the oldies station and proceeded to force me to listen to him sing in person. Poor Anita Baker, she didn’t deserve this man to drag “Sweet Love” through the mud.

That’s not all though. He was so excited to share his tunes, and share pictures of himself from his various odd jobs, that he forgot that I had ordered a carpool, and we had to double back and pick up someone else. My trip with this guy was extended an additional 15–20 minutes just because of his shitty music. What was supposed to be a 20 minute ride home after a long day, turned into a 40 minute torture fest.

He wasn’t a horrible person. He was kind, really positive, and all smiles. If anything, he was enjoying himself and merely sharing a piece of his world with me. Sure, it sucked that I was forced to endure his… creativity… but all in all, I’m glad I had the experience. It makes for an interesting memory and a funny story to be able to share with you.


Your Little Brother