rogue

“Dear Uber drivers, I’m sorry, but could you please stop talking to me."

I’ve had some pretty great conversations with Uber drivers in my time.

To a lot of my friends, I’m known as that annoying person who jumps in the front seat en route to the club and initiates a long-winded chat, opting for tried and test “Busy night?” opener to a wave of eye rolls in the back seat.

Yes, I’m *that* girl on a Saturday night.

If I’m headed off on holidays, I’ll ramble on excitedly about my plans, listening to the driver’s own travel stories and lapping up any recommendations they offer on the way to the airport.

I once found the best secret curry house on Brick Lane thanks to an Uber driver, and countless others have pointed out tiny cafes in Sydney’s inner west I would have never discovered on my own.

I’ve heard some amazing stories of people who have lived all over the world, and been handed business cards for landscaping services, photographers, DJ hire equipment, event planning, you name it.

I like to think I’m a pretty good passenger, too, with a 4.87 rating to show for it (mind the humble brag).

But.

When I heard the app was launching a “quiet mode”, my first thought was “Hell to the yes”, before the disappointment of realising it’s only being offered for premium customers in the US.

The service is introducing an actual button that kindly requests a silent ride, Vox reports, and while many people out there might find that completely unnecessary, I think it’s bloody brilliant.

You see – I work an evening shift and take an Uber home every night. When I clamber into my four-door chariot late on a weeknight, I’m longing to get home, ditch my bra for my soft clothes, and either climb into bed straightaway or stay up and watch my shows.

All I want to do is switch off, scroll mindlessly on my phone, and send obscure memes to my sister that she probably won’t understand.

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So when this is my vibe and an Uber driver asks “If I’ve had a good night”, I’ll usually respond as politely as possible, but with what I feel is a subtle undertone of “please, for the love of God, stop with the talky-talky”.

…It has never, in my entire ride-sharing life, worked.

Instead, I find myself nodding half-hardheartedly through their story about their son’s best friend’s mother’s cat’s broken paw, trying to stifle yawns between the occasional “hmm,” and unenthusiastic “oh, really?”

I’ve even tried looking out the window or looking down at my phone. But it. Never. Works.

Look, I know, I sound horrible – having to engage in 20 minutes of idle banter with a stranger is not the worst thing in the world. When I’m at my best, it’s actually something I enjoy, and *sometimes* I end up having a lovely little gab after my initial reluctance.

But when I don’t – I know I’ve probably come across as incredibly standoffish while I’m sitting there willing the journey to end. I’ve probably accidentally offended some drivers by coming across as a disinterested a**hole.

As someone who usually loves a good chat (but isn’t great at small talk), it’s never a nice feeling shutting a car door knowing you were probably that driver’s worst passenger of the day.

This all comes from a place of wanting to engage in quality conversations.

Because great conversations with strangers are a thing of beauty. Something to cherish and reflect on fondly.

When you’re not in the mood to engage, being able to push a little button and scroll through Instagram ’til your heart’s content, without subjecting your driver to sh*t chat, sounds like pure bliss.

…Or maybe I should just start taking the train home.

What do you think of “quiet mode” in Ubers? Let us know in the comments below.

Tags: news-stories , uber
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