I’ve never used the Pool option with Uber before, preferring to e-hail a driver and keep them all to myself. But my first Braves game this season changed my mind for a night, a decision I would immediately regret.

I had tickets to the Braves home opener and a friend from Knoxville was staying at the Battery that night, so I assumed I would just park at her hotel after I got off work. However, I learned the hotel wouldn’t be offering any parking passes since it doesn’t own any of the parking decks in the area. No problem, I thought, I have a friend who lives nearby SunTrust Park and would simply Uber from her place.

When I got to my friend’s house, I visited for a few minutes before summoning my Uber driver. When the Pool option popped up, the cost was only around $4. Perfect, I thought. It’s about a mile or so to the stadium and I could deal with a carload of strangers for that cheap of a price.

I began to envy those that walked to the game as we passed them since the other passenger in the car began to talk to me non-stop before I got my seatbelt on. It’s not the fact she was social, it was more about her critical and controlling attitude, like immediately letting me know our driver didn’t speak much English, with a tone of you’ll be lucky if you get where you’re going. Then she let me know she had lived in the area for 20 years and knew how to get everywhere, including telling the driver to go straight through the light to get to the Battery even though our street didn’t allow you to go straight through that light! By the way, she wasn’t going to the stadium but was speaking on my behalf, even though at this point all I’ve said was “hello” and that I was going to the Braves game.

As our driver attempted a legal left toward the stadium, my backseat neighbor then suggested I just get out and walk at this point since it would be “an hour” before we made it to the drop off point. I tried to nod her suggestion off by concentrating on anything that looked important on my phone, but she questioned if I knew where I was going and that the traffic was going to be bad. After about the third mention of my exiting the car I turned to her and asked if I was making her late to her destination and was that why she kept encouraging me to take off? She didn’t say another word during our remaining 10 minute trip to where I was supposed to be.

The older I get the less I’m attracted to anything that is negative. I don’t participate in heavy gossip, I watch far less news than I used to, I scroll passed social posts promoting the worst in human beings, and I certainly don’t tolerate a lot of drama from people I don’t know. I’m not convinced our driver did know English and simply used ignorance of the language as an excuse not to deal with certain passengers.

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