There are times as an I uber driver when I feel uneasy. I know I shouldn’t stereotype, but I often experience “postcode paranoia”.
Definition: Irrational fear of a geographic location due to regular news reports of antisocial behaviour.
In a sentence: “Man I get postcode paranoia when I’m in Bankstown. I hear 9 people got shot here last night!”
When I accept a job in a suburb that falls under this definition I go into autopilot mode. CLICK CLICK – That’s the sound of my central locking activating. I then sit up a little straighter, crack my neck from side to side and nod confidently to myself in my rear vision mirror. “You’ve got this!”
BEEP. BEEP. BEEP
Marco – 4 minutes – Merrylands
Merrylands, a suburb in Western Sydney, known for cheap real estate and drive-by shootings. As far as postcode paranoia goes Merrylands is a code red. Marco hadn’t entered a street number either, just a street name, which further compounded my paranoia.
I pulled up in the street Marco had entered. It was more of a back alley than a street, with row after row of rusted garage doors covered in graffiti and “DO NOT PARK” signs painted in red. “F######k this.” I said to myself. I considered canceling the job and driving off when my phone started to ring. I accept the call.
“Yeahhhhh bruzzy! Just hold up 2 secs, I’m almost there!” An excitable male voice exclaimed.
On cue, Marco walked around the corner and started heading toward my car. I watched him carefully in my rear vision mirror and started my calculations.
Height – 5ft 10”
Weight – 75kgs
Build – Skinny
If you’re wondering what the hell I’m doing, I am trying to work out if I could “take him” if things go pear-shaped. Yes, I agree, It is a strange thing to do but I think it’s something that most men subconsciously do even when walking through a shopping mall.
In a split second, I decided I could probably “take” Marco or at least stun him enough to give myself a chance to flee if he turns out to be a psycho. I unlocked my doors as Marco approached.
Marco was wearing a tight white t-shirt, jeans and a pair of those Tiger sneakers. You know the white ones with the black lines running across them. His black hair was slicked back with a generous amount of gel and he had an enormous diamond earring in his left ear. Marco had a very unique style of walki ng. He appeared weightless, like he waswalking on the moon. Maybe the only thing weighing him down was the novelty size bottle of water he was carrying. Seriously, the thing must have been 5 litres.
Marco entered my car like a bat out of hell. He flung himself into my passenger side seat, leaned forward and started tapping my dashboard with both hands like he was playing the bongo drums. He stopped suddenly, turned his head, pointed at me with his left index finger and said:
“Yeahhhhh Bruzzy! You’re the first ever Uber C#!T to ever stop out this way ay! First ever! You’re the madddddest C#!T!”
Marco was talking in rapid fire. It was like he had swallowed the roadrunner.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah Redfern staysh Bruz! Redfern staysh!” – TRANSLATION – “Could you please take me to Redfern station.”
Marco then leaned in close to my stereo system before sitting back, clapping his hands, and yelling, “AUX Cord! Sickest C#!t!” It was clear Marco was keen to play some of his own music on our….. ah F#!k…. on our 32-minute ride to Redfern station.
Marco was feeling nostalgic. Zombie…..Zombie…. Zombie….. Zombie NATION! Started blaring from my speakers. Marco was in heaven. He was taking great delight in singing the very simple hook of the song, “DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA!”
I have to admit, it is a very good song. Marco couldn’t wipe the smile off his face, he also can’t stop wiping the torrents of sweat cascading off his forehead with his sleeve. The song ended and Marco turned down the stereo. He tapped me on the shoulder with the back of his hand. “Can you keep a secret?” He asked, again with this beaming smile on his face.
“I can keep a secret Marco,” I replied. “What have you got for me?”
Marco leaned in close and looked around suspiciously. “Have you ever injected cocaine up your ass?” He asked.
My brow immediately furrowed at his question as I sat there in total shock.
“HAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHHAHAAHAHAH!” Marco burst into a fit of hysterical laughter in reaction to the stunned look on my face. He was writhing around in his seat with his hands clasped together like the happiest little snake in the history of the world.
He abruptly snapped out of this laughing fit and once again leaned in close. “No joke! IT. IS. THE. BEST. SHIT. EVER!” He said with intensity.
I had hardly said a word back to Marco during our drive to Redfern station, yet he felt we were best friends. “See this is why I love Uber!” Marco announced. “You’re not some weirdo, old guy taxi man. You’re just like me!”
I started to feel like I was in Johnny Depp’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” Cruising through the desert with a madman high on drugs. 10 minutes to go.
Marco reached down to pick up the giant water bottle he had been holding between his feet. He started sculling the water, with most of it running down his chin and soaking into his shirt. “F#$k!”says Marco. “Sorry bruz, I didn’t spill any on the seat I promise!”
And then it hits me. I don’t care if Marco spills a few drops of water on my seat, but I sure as hell care if he is leaking feral ass juice laced with cocaine into my seats. “I would have to burn this car to the ground,” I thought to myself. Please don’t be ass juice stained into my seats. Please. Please. Please.
“Hey you should come out with me and the boys tonight!” Marco said. “Yeah, you should definitely come out tonight!” He said again with more conviction.
I politely declined his offer as I pulled up to Redfern station. Marco insisted on a handshake and a fist pump before he told me he loves me, before leaving my car. Thankfully, he didn’t leave a puddle on my seat. I will definitely be buying some car seat covers before I venture out on another crazy Saturday night.