When Uber Drivers Stop Being Polite, and Start Being Real.

I use Uber… A lot. Maybe too much. I actually use it so much that I probably could’ve purchased a car with the amount of money I’ve spent on it. Anyways… I typically enjoy my Uber rides. You can have some really good conversations with the drivers because they lead lives other than being Uber drivers. I once met a tattoo artist form the Bay. He told me that he could hook me up with some really nice ink and gave me a business card. One guy from Mexico helped me with my Spanish and repeatedly told me how pretty I was. (*Does hair flip.*) I even met a soccer mom. I kid you not. I met a legitimate soccer mom. Her kids were all grown up and had left the house so she wanted to do something productive with her time. She even had snacks!

Needless to say, I don’t pay for Uber solely because I need transportation, but I like the conversations I have. And today, I certainly got my money’s worth.

I had a CPR training at UCSD. I didn’t know when it would end really, so instead of asking a friend for a ride, I just decided to take an Uber back to my campus. The driver pulled up to the building and asked if I was Chelsea. I said yes and hopped in. His name was Vadim. We made some idle small talk.

“You’re going to USD? I heard there was a concert going on over there.” He asked.

I nodded in agreement. I didn’t really know what he was talking about because USD is such a small campus, and I probably would’ve known if there was a concert. He probably just confused us with SDSU. Totally understandable. My grandmother didn’t know what school I was going to until my second semester, and this man had a thick accent. So mainly I was nodding in confusion because I didn’t want to seem like some uncultured swine by asking him to repeat himself again and again, but still I tried to further the conversation.

“That’s a really lovely accent. Where does it come from?” I ask.

“Oh. It’s Russian. Sorry if you can’t understand me. My English is not that good.” I assure him it’s fine, and he continues. “I mean I’m Russian, but I’m Armenian, too.”

Okay, cool. Now we’re getting to the good stuff. I get ready to ask him another question, but his phone rings. He says it’s his wife. I encourage him to answer. He swipes the call, and I can hear the bluetooth switch on. He yells something in Russian, and the wife clicks the call off immediately without saying anything.

“Sorry. She keeps calling me. We had an argument, and she keeps calling me ’cause it’s her fault.”

This. Is. Where. Shit. Goes. Down.

Vadim tells me all about his marriage to his wife. They’ve been married for three years just around the same time that he’s been living in San Diego. They have a beautiful two year old together. (He showed me pictures; his wife is beautiful, too.) He loves his wife, but lately they’ve just been arguing all the time. Vadim blames her for it. He says that she changed after she had their son. And he thinks that the only reason that that they’re still together is because of their son.

“I love my wife, but it’s hard, Chelsea. She gets mad at me when I talk to other pretty girls because I’m not paying attention to her, but it’s her fault. I would never do anything with these other women, but she only sleeps with me once a week. She used to sleep with me everyday before she had my son. I’m a young guy, I work hard. I’m not a bad guy I promise. She knows that. She’s changed.”

I tense up a little. Not because conversations around sex disturb me, but because conversations around strangers’ marital problems disturb me. And Vadim is very open and honest about them.

“I do not treason on my wife.” I lock eyes with him in the rearview mirror. And I look confused as shit so he tries to explain further. “Do you know what I mean by treason?”

I shake my head. He pulls out his phone and opens a translator app, but the app is failing at its job. He keeps saying the word treason, but I don’t understand. He finally shouts out,

“I don’t sleep with other women that aren’t my wife!” Ohhh, duh. I get it now. Treason. It makes sense. “What’s the word for that again?”

I respond, “To cheat.”

“Cheat?”

“Yes. You do not cheat on your wife.”

It gets silent for a bit. Vadim seems quite upset by his problems. He genuinely seems like he wants to talk them out, which makes me glad for a number of reasons. One, he can let out his frustrations. And two, I initially thought he was going to ask to have sex with me, and I was not in the mood  to swerve off a pervert. But Vadim genuinely wanted someone to listen to him.

“You’re single right? You seem like you’re single.”

Normally this question would offend me, but I’m young and Vadim is a little older. He’s got a little more life experience. Also, we’re talking about Vadim’s issues, not mine so I’m honestly not offended.

I do this weird nonchalant shrug thing, and let him continue.

“Now, you’re probably thinking you’ll never get married after hearing me.” We both laugh. “It’s different when you’re married. Everything changes. I honestly don’t know if my wife and I will divorce. I love her, and I will try, but we argue. I just really don’t know.”

We finally pull up to USD. Vadim shares his final thoughts, “I’m sorry I told you all this. I just really needed to talk. I needed someone to hear me.”

I smile. “Of course. You’re fine.”

He shakes my hand and says that it was nice to meet me and hopes that we run into each other again.

I hop out of the car, and Vadim drives away. I walk up to my room, and I sit down and open my laptop and I start writing this post here. And I can’t help but think, that this man told me 3 years of his relationship in only a 15 minute car ride.

So morals of the story:

  1. You never know what kind of shit people are going through so try your hardest to always be kind.
  2. When you take an Uber, you might be playing Dr. Phil that day. Be ready to whip out your PhD on life and listen.