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Monday, September 8, 2014

The Fuber

Yet again, I should not be alive.

I know, I know, I should probably start blaming myself for these things, but really, again, this wasn't totally my fault. Who shames the victim anyway? Don't be that guy.

Let's start at the beginning, where everything always seems normal and pleasant:

This weekend I was out in the Upper East Side grabbing drinks with a friend. Great night, great bars, great drinks, great times. Neither of us were in the mood to truly rage, so 1 a.m. rolls around and we go our separate ways.
Seeing as I just moved to the city like, two weeks ago, the Subway system still terrifies me.
Seeing as no one cares about my neuroses, and weekend track construction is a thing, changes to the late night lines are an inevitably confusing problem.

I hopped on the 4 train only to discover that my connection to the E would not be happening as I originally planned, and I needed to take the 6 back to Grand Central to get on the 7 to connect to the E later down the line.
If the previous sentence makes sense to you, you're either a saint or sober. At the time, I was neither, and although four drinks don't exactly do me in, they make any trip involving that many numbers and letters turn into quite the production. Still, I managed to follow directions reasonably well, and got off at my transfer station in Jackson Heights.

As soon as I stepped off the train and it pulled away I knew I was in the wrong place. The two trannies I encountered a few seconds later confirmed it. Luckily, I'm used to this shit by now, and I calmly stepped off to the side to consult my phone and the many transit apps I had installed the day I moved here.
Suddenly a stout man with grease stains on his shirt appeared by my side out of nowhere, speaking to me in Spanish. I ignored him and silently apologized to Señora Baker for spending both Español I and II in high school doing my homework for other classes. I noticed him gesturing towards the trannies standing close by and realized he was either asking if I was part of their clique or wondering if the one on the left was a natural blonde (Answer to both: no. I was wearing a sundress and gladiator sandals for God's sake. Harsh roots though, girl). I glanced at him, shook my head, ignored him while he yelled something that was definitely not, "Where is the library, friend?" and put my full attention and trust back into Moovit.

To get to a station that would take me back to Queens, I would have to walk nine minutes. Not a substantial amount of time at any other point of the day, but at 1:45 a.m. when you're tired, have lost your buzz, and have just been made aware that you have mannish features, nine minutes is a lifetime. Couldn't do it, so I called an Uber.

Amrin and his Toyota Highlander would be there to pick me up in six minutes. Perfect! I would definitely be thoroughly creeped out by the produce vendor on the corner making sexy eyes at me by then! My phone notified me that I had just hit 10% battery life, which is pretty standard for these situations, so I put it away and awaited my chariot's arrival.
Two minutes later a shiny black SUV crosses the intersection and the driver gestures at me. Amrin apparently replaced Paul Walker in Fast and Furious 7 and I could not be more pleased with the casting choice.
I approach the car's open passenger window.
And so commences a potential episode of Dateline: Missing in America.

The driver is very pleasant, asking me how my night was and making the usual Uber small talk that is typically cut short by one of my friends in the backseat screaming, "CAN YOU TURN ON THE RADIO?!" We discussed the humidity, how I used to live in DC, how driving in the city is a nightmare, and how cigarettes were a gross habit that I should definitely join him in on our ride because "You are eh-young, is no problem." Valid point, but I passed anyway.

Then my phone rings. Unknown number.

"Hi, it's Amrin. I'm outside Bank of America in the black Highlander. Do you see me?"
I glance at the Driver Formerly Known As Amrin, who is distracted by the gay bar on the corner blasting Skrillex.
"Well I thought I was with you already but apparently not."
"Yeahhh...I've got a ride right now but I might be calling you back."
"I'll call you back."

I hang up and look back at Stranger Danger.
Buzz: gone. Nerves: ignited. Game face: on. I have way too great of hair to disappear into someone's basement for a decade, okay? This was not going to happen on my watch.
"I'm sorry, what did you say your name was again?" I asked.
"Alex." Shit. "What is yours?" 
"Is very nice to meet you."
"You too!!!"

My overenthusiasm was a ploy to scare him into briefly forgetting which Taken dungeon I would soon be inhabiting.
"So you are married?" Translation: Who will come looking for you when you're gone?
"Never been married?" Translation: Did your ex-husband love you enough to come find you when you're gone?
"You have children?" Translation: What are we working with down there?
"You have boyfriend?" Translation: Sweet Allah have I hit the jackpot?!
"You do?"
"Yes yes yes."

(As every girl who has encountered a sketchy bro at the bar knows, the answer is always yes. Always.)

During this transaction I go to my recent calls and dial everyone that is not my parents. Three separate people, multiple redials, no answers. THANKS A HEAP GUYS, REALLY APPRECIATE THE FRIENDSHIP. I am simultaneously watching Alex's every turn and making note of the streets we are on, realizing we are, in fact, going in the opposite direction of my apartment. Classic.

"Uh-oh Alex, I think 67th Street is the other way!"
"No no, we are taking short cut to avoid lights. Is faster, trust me."
"Ten blocks the other way is faster? That's so weird."

Meanwhile, I'm still haphazardly dialing each number in my recent call log, wondering why I associate with lame-o's who aren't up, out, and about at 2 a.m. on a Friday.

"Alex why don't we just go the regular way. You can drop me off at 67th Street, then there aren't lights to deal wi-"
"Is no problem."
"Actually it kind of is. Just drop me off at 67th Street."
"You sure?"
"Is no problem."
"67th Street, please."

We pull a death-defying U-ie and Alex is chain smoking like an Indonesian toddler, visibly displeased with how this night has turned out. That makes two of us, pal. He casually misses the first opportunity to turn onto 67th Street, holding onto hope that I'll change my mind and be the drugged out Princess Leia to his Jabba the Hutt.

"Right there."
"67th Street is right up there. You can pull over."
"Is okay, I take you the whole way."
"No no it's really, really fine. Right there is fine."
"You sure?"
"Riiiiight there."

He stares at me for a solid ten seconds and then slowly pulls over, passing over the first option of the vacant fire hydrant space because that would be illegal.

Before he can child lock the doors and strangle me with his Brooklyn Nets lanyard, I say, "Alright well great thanks so much have a great night!" leaping out of the car and race-walking in a zig-zag up the street, as you are supposed to do to wild predators. I never looked back, but I know he waited in that spot until I was completely out of sight.

And that is how I escaped the Fuber, or the Fake Uber. As always, I'm sure a certain level of naïveté contributed to this mess, but I can't help but wonder when my nine cat lives will run out and I won't have the opportunity to write about my death-defying adventures for you folks.

I need a chaperone.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Instagram Stole My Sanity

I legitimately think I'm losing my mind, and it's all thanks to an app.

I posted my last Instagram picture sometime back at the beginning of June.
I've done many things since then.
Exciting things.
Fun things.
Adventurous things.
Things I want to brag about to everyone I know.
How am I supposed to do that, call them on the phone? Screw that. I want them to ogle my exceptional life via square photos.

When my photos first wouldn't post, I gave Instagram the benefit of the doubt.
"Oh, it's just a silly little mishap. Probably too much traffic from people posting regrettable Memorial Day Weekend pics. No problem. Maybe I shouldn't be THAT GUY and post a picture of my Blueberry and Peach Coffee Cake anyway," I thought.

Then I baked strawberry soufflé. Then I saw a homeless man wearing a full-on Cat in the Hat costume with Mardi Gras beads on my lunch break. Then it was my birthday. Then my friends from Louisville came to visit. And I couldn't post any of those pictures.

This is the screen that appears whenever I try to upload something.

My friends, though sympathetic, are no help at all.

I've reported my problem to Instagram Help Center which basically told me it was my fault and I should find a stronger WiFi connection and/or get a life.
In reference to the former: my WiFi connection is solid.
In reference to the latter: uh, fat chance.

So now I'm left with one option; the point that I never actually want to reach but which seems to come so naturally to me: complain mercilessly.
Reporting my specific problem to Instagram has done absolutely nothing, so I've taken to Twitter to show them not only how perplexed I am, but that desperation mixed with mental instability is a cocktail in which I indulge on a daily basis.

Please, Instagram, I beg of you, just fix my account. I'm trying to be the voice of a generation, and I can't very well do that without participating in Throwback Thursday.