Uber Diaries: The Crying Woman
I pull up to a park and there's a couple waiting on the sidewalk. I push the button to open the sliding door and they're having a serious talk and she's crying. They look over at me and I say "take your time" as I push the button to close the door.
After a couple of minutes, the man walks away and the woman gets in the car. She's crying, and not the type of cry you'd expect when you're riding in a stranger's car. Usually, you'd expect heaving shoulders and muffled sobs as the person tries to hold it together during the short ride. But this woman is weeping loudly like a widow at a mafia funeral.
I have never seen this woman in my life and have no idea what she and the man were talking about or what has her so upset. But I look at the map and I know exactly where we're going, and I know more about the back story than I probably should.
Three months ago, I picked up the man from this very location. We went to the grocery store and he went inside and bought some diapers, then we drove them over to the house I'm taking the woman to now. After that, I took him to work. The ride took 30 minutes, and he talked the whole time.
This happens sometimes. People get into the car and they just want to unload. I'm not bothered by this and actually consider it a bit of a privilege to be able to provide such a service. Once a woman who was dealing with some difficult stuff apologized for unloading it on me, and I said something I've repeated to a lot of other passengers:
"It's fine. Just dump all that crap into this car. Get as much of it out as you can. When this ride is over, I'll drive away with all that crap and find a place to dump it, and you will never see me or that crap again."
I actually said that exact same thing to the man who was standing on the side of the road, but I didn't count on actually seeing him again. And I certainly didn't imagine I'd meet the woman he was talking about.
So I know about this woman in the back of my car... or at least I know some things about this woman.
I know she and the man are both young, maybe 22 or 23. And I know they have a daughter together who's still an infant.
I know he wants a relationship with her (or at least did three months ago) and she does not.
I know she wanted to get an abortion when she learned she was pregnant, but he talked her out of it.
I know things are not good between her and the man on the side of the street.
I know she subtly resents her child to taking her youth away and resents him for convincing her to go through with the pregnancy and not offer the child up for adoption.
I know her parents hate the man who knocked up their daughter, and actually have a restraining order out on him. When we dropped the diapers off at her house he had to leave them on the doorstep and jog away saying, "I'm technically not supposed to be here."
I know she's had a history of depression.
I know the man is crazy about the daughter they have together and he says it has changed the course of his life, a life that has had more than a few troubled patches.
I know he was a little buzzed as I dropped him off for the graveyard shift at his work. I know he operates heavy equipment at his work.
I know all of this is absolutely none of my business, and mentioning a word of this to the sobbing woman in my car would probably freak her out.
So we drive for 5 minutes, but it feels like a lot longer. I've got all this knowledge, but it's completely worthless at this moment. It's not going to comfort her, or give her perspective, or anything. It's not going to solve the problems or the pain in her life right now.
The only thing I can really offer her is a Kleenex.
She takes the Kleenex, wipes off her cheeks and runs out of the car and into her house.
I drive away.
Drop off: Five Oaks