Xander Vale

Tales from the Driver’s Side: Times I pushed it too far. Blue Light Special, Part one.

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Blue light special, part one.

Driving in a major city with so many large outlying cities you can get stuck going from downtown to a city 30 minutes away and getting stuck doing rides in that city for hours, just trying to get back to familiar territory but not willing to turn down rides. I ended up in a hateful relationship with one city my first big weekend driving, and found myself actively avoiding this place from then on. Seriously, fuck this place. My first ride here tried to fight me.  I had taken a call from downtown big city to this little artsy town. So, using context clues here, we can assume I’m already pissed off. After dropping of that failed abortion who got in my face, I got another call from a house to a bar that was closed then back to his house; then a call from a bar to a different house. The downtown area of this city was very nice and well kept-up, decorated with string lights everywhere. The ambiance was pleasing, and I thought it might calm me. So I decided, “One more and I’m done.” That one more came a moment later, pick up at a bus depot…on a hill…that I couldn’t get to. I followed the GPS step by step and the place it took me was the middle of the road at the bottom of the hill. I contacted the client who informed me that he couldn’t help, he had never been there before. But it was okay, I had time, because this douche nozzle was still on the fucking bus. After 20 minutes, several illegal U-turns, and screaming myself horse, I may have hopped a curb into a parking lot and found the bus depot.

The client got in the car and I knew this might be comical. He was extremely well-manned (kept calling me “Sir,” felt like I was back in the South), but he was a big one. As he approached, I pulled the passenger seat up so that he and his luggage could easily fit in the back seat. (I had a hatchback at the time, not much trunk space.) As I’m making room for him, he places his bags in the back seat and greets me; then proceeds to get in the front seat, which I just mad smaller. As he wedges himself in and knocks me around trying to buckle his seat belt, I mention that the seat slides back so he can have more room. I think the same thought dawned on us simultaneously; neither of us could reach the lever and it would be too much work to get back out. So he clicked his door to a slight close. (You know, the first click, where the door’s not fully secure but the cabin lights go off.) So off we go, and I spend the next eleven minutes jamming my shift knob further into this guys leg with every gear. To make things worse, I’m pressed against my door at an angle so my foot keeps sliding off the gas and we are basically arm in arm just for me to shift. I get him to his parent’s apartment and that’s it. I’m done. But the calls keep coming. I have no idea where I am or where I’m going. I’ve turned down a couple of rides, just trying to find the interstate. For some reason, I don’t turn the app off though.

No interstate in sight, I end up back at the bus depot somehow and know that from there I can make it back to civilization. Not much of one, but they have bars and string lights. I pull up to where shopping centers and street lights exist again, just getting excited about the possibility of making it to the interstate and back home (Yes, I put directions in the GPS, it was just far away and I could handle it myself after I found the interstate) when another fucking request comes in. I take my hands off the wheel to pull my hair out and scream at my phone. I swerved a little, corrected, and for some reason accepted the ride anyway. What the fuck is wrong with me? I didn’t give swerving a second thought because I was the only idiot on the road, but once again, I was wrong. I hear tires screech like the movies and the interior of my car was filled with a fantastic shade of blue strobe lights like an epileptic dance party.

I have tremendous respect for law enforcement, as well as all first responders for everything that they do to keep us safe. And if you don’t, fuck you. So I calmly pull over to the side of the road and roll down my window while collecting my paperwork and canceling the ride I was on. A rather young and attractive female officer approaches my window and I decide it’s time to lay on the Southern Charm and flirt my way out of this one. She shines that million-candle power light in my face and identifies herself as DUI patrol.

“I saw you swerve a little back there. Had anything to drink tonight?”

“No, ma’am. I am actually a driver for [insert ride share company name here]. I took my hand off the wheel for a second to accept a ride and I guess I moved too much.” I say as I gesture towards my phone, drawing her attention to the open app. “I am terribly sorry about that, ma’am.” I smile at her and she smiles back.

“I gotcha. I’m glad that there are drivers like you out there. We have noticed less DUI’s around here lately because of it.”

“Well I am glad I could be of service, ma’am.” I smile thickly at her. (I’m just in it for the money.)

“I’ll tell you what,” she smiles back again, “I’ll just do a quick warrant check on you license and get you on your way. Sound good?”

“I greatly appreciate that, ma’am.”

She heads back to her cruiser and I joke to myself something about hoping she doesn’t find out about the trail of dead hookers I leave in my wake. Then something happens that pushes me out of my good mood. I get another fucking request. “You have got to be fucking kidding me! Hell naw! Fuck you and fuck your drunk ass wanting to go home you can fucking walk you piece of shit!” I shout quite loudly as I decline the ride. About that time my lady in Kevlar armor comes back and hands me my ID.

“So, why’d you turn me down?”

“I’m sorry? I wasn’t aware an offer was being made?” (But if there is one, your car and keep the utility belt on.)

She pulls out her personal phone. “I sent you a request. Just trying to see if you were trying to get one over on me.”

“Oh, wow! That was you? Yeah, I couldn’t accept it. It seems I’ve been bad and gotten myself into a little trouble with the law.” Down boy.

Then it hits me…

“You didn’t hear all those things I said did you?”

“Every word.”

“Ma’am, I am so sorry. It has been an extremely long night.”

“I understand completely. But I don’t feel like walking home. I might need a ride.”

Get the fuck out of here. Did she just?

She pats the top of my car as she walks away and wishes me a good night. I watch her ass rock back and forth in my mirror and giggle to myself a little about what just transpired and wave to her as she passes me. I’d like to say there was potential there, but I’m not that naive, I did a ring check. And, as it turns out, I was wearing one. I found the interstate about fifteen minutes later.

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