Sunday, April 17, 2016

The UBER Film Critic

One of the things that is very important for a critic to maintain is a social life.  This may not sound very difficult, but let me assure you that being a critic full time is one of the loneliest professions on the planet.  It is VERY hard to maintain an active social life!  This is such a huge draw back to the job I write about so much that I'm surprised I haven't tackled it yet.  I will write a future blog post about why this is the case, but for the sake of today's article we need to acknowledge that if you do this job, you are going to need to find something to do that forces you to interact with people.  Going to church certainly helps (but that usually just covers Sunday... maybe Wednesday if you join a small group).  A book club would be nice if you can find people who will dedicate time to reading one book a month (not an easy task I assure you).  Online gaming and Facebook doesn't really count as far as I'm concerned because there is still that digital wall between you and the other person.

Sports is also a great way to socialize with other people... too bad I don't like to play sports.  When I sat down and decided what would be a good way to socialize with other people, a unique opportunity arrived: UBER!  The money you make from UBER is certainly not going to afford you the right to retire anytime soon (something that has been played out in the media for a good portion of the past year), but it does get you out of the house and driving real people around town.  Most of the people you pick up will be friendly and want to talk.  If this person wants to go a long distance it is even better.  One of the most common questions you will get asked is if UBER is something you do full time.  I always tell them "no, I'm a film critic." This is a great line if you want to spark a conversation with a complete stranger in a car.  Most people immediately have questions concerning this new bit of information you have just provided.

How does someone get that job?  Is it cool?  What is the bet movie currently in theaters (for the record, this usually translates to "is the latest superhero movie any good")?  What is your favorite movie?  Can you please turn the A/C up?  The trick to answering all these questions is to answer them in a friendly way that is not confrontation.  If your passenger likes "The Waterboy" (and those people do exist) you politely disagree with them but let them know that you are happy someone enjoyed it.  Rarely will these conversations get testy though, and sometimes the movie conversation will be a segway into another topic.  Sometimes you will have passengers who don't really watch movies.  Ask them what some of their interests are and take it from there.  Feel free to even discuss the lack of a tip feature on UBER (this is something that NEEDS to change).

I picked up a couple tonight who were heading home after catching up with some friends they went on a vacation with.  I can't remember his name, but her name was Lynn (hi Lynn!), and the conversation went from the pictures they looked at, the vacation, to what I do, to her Googling me (and yes, I do come up if you search my full name), to finding out what her son does for a living, to a goodbye that went something along the lines of "we should all have lunch sometimes." Now, most of the time you will never see these people again.  While it would be nice to have the aforementioned lunch I acknowledge the reality of it happening is low.  Most people simply need a ride home and you will never see them again.  This isn't something you do to form new, lasting friendships.  If you want that go to church.

If you want social interaction then there are worse ways to get it than driving for UBER.  Again, the amount of income you get isn't going to be very much (although during surge times it can certainly be worth your while and can help pay for a new car).  The idea is that you have something to do to speak to people.  Again, this could be playing sports, a book club... whatever.  For me this is how I get the bulk of my social interaction.  And if you plan to do this for a living you will need to find a social outlet as well.  It's not anyone's fault, but this is one of those professions where talking to human beings is largely not in the cards.  We'll discuss why later this week.  For now though, start exploring your social options.  Oh, and if you DO want to give UBER a try, sign up with it using my referral code!


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