Amman to Alexandria
My wife and I left Alexandria early in the morning for an appointment in Washington DC. Neither we nor our driver Samir (not real name) are morning people. Along the way we had an enjoyable and often funny conversation that made the time go by quickly.
Samir: How are you doing?
Bryan: I’m waking up – trying to at least.
Samir: I’ve also been trying to get used to mornings (points to large coffee). If I drive in the mornings, that means I can wrap up early in the afternoon. Evenings can be too crazy when people have been drinking a lot.
Bryan: People behave better on the way to work, don’t they?
Samir: Yes. People talk on the phone, talk to me, read the paper, or browse the internet. Sometimes they are in a big hurry, but with traffic there is only so much I can do.
Bryan: Have you been driving with both Uber and Lyft?
Samir: I had a bad experience with Uber. I originally applied to drive with them. They told me I needed to buy a new car and so I did. Then when I followed up they told me there had been a mistake and that I couldn’t drive with them because I did not have an American driver’s license for one year. But I had been driving in Amman for eight years before that. I’ve been driving with Lyft for months and have been happy.
Bryan: Many drivers tell me they prefer Lyft passengers.
Samir: I don’t know for certain because I never rode with Uber and I won’t. I hear the same thing though. Being a driver is very flexible and it made me easier to quit my second job.
Bryan: What were you doing for a second job?
Samir: I was bartending. I’m working on my graduate degree so I thought I would be the best educated person in the bar – but there were people working there with more than one graduate degree and one guy who was working on his doctorate. It was fine but the hours were hard.
Bryan: Had any strange experiences as a driver?
Samir: I played a good joke on a passenger once. I picked up a passenger at the airport once. He was really talkative and was telling me about his work, how he lived in Philadelphia and came to Washington DC twice a month and so on. Two months later I pick up the same guy at the airport. He didn’t remember me. I said to him “I know you just arrived from Philadelphia.” He was really surprised and asked how I knew that. I told him I knew he came here twice a month and then I repeated some things he had told me about his job. He looked pale and started texting someone. At that point, I had to let him know he had ridden with me previously. He hadn’t remembered me at all and was texting a friend that he needed to get out of the car right away. We had a good laugh after.
Bryan: Funny! You have a good memory.
Samir: Here is another one. You see how I am wearing a ring on my finger? I am not engaged or anything like that. I just wear it so when women make advances I can tell them that I am married. Usually that works. Not always though. A very drunk woman was in the front seat and she kept telling me about how she wanted to kiss me. I kept telling her I was married and she kept telling me that my wife wasn’t there and so I should kiss her. I finally told her I just didn’t want to kiss her and she got angry, crossed her arms, and started singing really loudly. Then she hung her head out the window and was yelling at people that I wouldn’t kiss her. I was really happy to drop her off at her place near the Capitol. The Capitol Police came over and asked me if everything was ok. I explained I had what felt like one of the longest rides of my life.
Bryan: She probably didn’t get a very high passenger rating from you did she?
Samir: No she didn’t!
Bryan: Do you live in Washington DC?
Samir: I lived in Georgetown for a while since I am studying there. It was so expensive! My small place was $3,000 a month and the landlord wanted to raise the price again. That is when I moved out here to Alexandria. I like it. Alexandria is calm, quiet, and there are things to do on King Street. I just don’t like the commute. If I leave by 7:00 I can get to Georgetown in less than thirty minutes. If I leave at seven thirty it can be up to an hour with traffic.
Bryan: I hear you. I like Alexandria. Just not getting to and from Alexandria. That’s my stop over there. Thanks!