From my weekly column for the S.F. Examiner published on March 7, 2019:
Well, it happened again.
Seems like no matter how hard I try to avoid choleric interactions with Uber/Lyft drivers, the odds are always against me.
On the streets of San Francisco, their numbers alone are reason enough to steer clear, but also why getting tangled up with one of these inexperienced drivers for hire is almost inevitable …
Last Friday night, with Hamilton back in town for a second run, I head towards the Orpheum around 9:45 p.m.
Right as I pull up on Hyde, the theater breaks. Insta-load. Two ladies going to Parc 55. Along the way, they ask to stop at the Walgreen’s on Powell.
Racing down O’Farrell on the red carpet, dodging potholes and double-parkers, their conversation comes and goes like a bad signal from a talk radio station. On the sidewalks, dark figures huddle and conspire in the shadows.
“I was here 10 years ago,” one tells the other. “And never hesitated to walk through Union Square. Now…”
“I know what you mean…”
They discuss the virtues of Denver and Phoenix as we hit a bit of congestion.
Outside the Hilton, I surreptitiously eyeball a streetwalker prowling the cold, wet night in a flimsy miniskirt.
When I pull up across the street from the drugstore, they ask me to wait. I’m not surprised.
“Just keep the meter running.”
“Uh, sure.” As long as they’re fast, I’ll still have time to hit Golden Gate
Theater in ten minutes. “I’ll either be here or…”
Just then, a space opens up in front of Walgreen’s.
“… over there.”
Once the coast is clear, I flip a U, which becomes a three-point turn due to the horrible turning radius on the Fusion.
As I attempt to straighten up, a Camry pulls in behind me, seemingly out of nowhere, and prevents me from fully accessing the space. In my rearview, I notice the U symbol on their windshield.