Over Being Under Uber

This old dog needs to learn some new tricks. Uber-ing for extra dollars is getting to be too hard. Especially for someone with my health conditions who really should be behind the wheel less, not more. But more is the only way to keep up with rising expenses on food, insurance of all kinds, hospital bills, doctor’s bills, bankruptcy payments, and, thanks to Trump’s generally fascist tax policies, tax bills with penalties added.

A big part of the problem is how crappy of an employer Uber is. Let me correct that. I am not calling them “crappy” (a term that honors Thomas Crapper, inventor of the flush toilet) but “crappie”, the pugnacious little fish, a member of sunfish family. They are small and defend themselves mostly with bluff and spoof, pretending to be bigger and badder than they really are. Crappies, it may be noted, are predator fish that eat smaller fish, including the young of the muskellunge, northern pike, and walleye that grow up to eat crappies.

Uber doesn’t employ drivers, they make contracts with drivers as “independent contractors”. That means when tax time rolls around, you owe massive debts to the IRS because no monthly withholding has occurred. You have to maintain your own vehicle, pay for all the gas, mechanical maintenance, bottled water, and anything else needed to bribe passengers to give you a good rating.

And any chance of a bonus depends on that rating. But passengers when they are satisfied don’t often remember to give you five stars. You have to maintain a 4.85 star average. But the people who will not forget to rate you are the ones with some complaint or other. “He didn’t speed up to make it through intersections on yellow lights!” “He didn’t stop on stale yellow lights and risked going on red halfway through the intersection!” “The car smells bad!” “The car smells too much like air freshener!” “The driver doesn’t talk enough during the trip!” “The driver talks too much!” You get the idea. There is no winning at this game. Ones and twos kill your star average, and even fours bring it down.

And since I started Ubering as a way to make money whenever I felt well enough to work, I have to consider how little money I can actually make now that safe driving time is more limited by crappie health than ever (I may have meant to honor Thomas Crapper there.) I am now rarely well enough to deal with the red-haired alligators, alien spaceships, and man-eating muskellunges that you encounter in Dallas city traffic. I only made four dollars from Uber last week.

So, the solution is to find a new job. I could probably be the grinning door-guard greeter at Walmart on a part time basis. Maybe I can be a substitute teacher again a couple of days per week when school starts. Whatever, I do, I have to get away from driving for less than minimum wage.

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