Funny Blog, Syracuse Commentary, Ubservations

Shotgun & a Cherry Coke

If you know me, you know that I am an optimistic person to a fault…I’m the guy who sees the silver lining in everything…the guy who lets things play out as they will. You will hear me saying, “everything happens for a reason” and “Life’s too short to get caught up in stuff you can’t control.” So, as you can deduce, I probably haven’t given enough thought to my own safety driving Uber…until this one ride…

One crisp, sunny, winter afternoon a few weeks ago I picked up “Kiera,” from her place of work in Liverpool. Dressed in a smart, tan pantsuit (Are they still called pantsuits?!) and white blouse, “Kiera,” an attractive African American woman, entered my Lincoln. I greeted her heartily, but I could tell right away she was clearly agitated. I glanced back to see her texting intensely . She was interrupted by a call. “I’m coming right now,” she said. I glanced at my app to realize this was a two-stop ride. “I’m sorry…I was busy…I’ll be there in a minute…  “I’M COMING!” she shrieked in a half-whisper.

As I pulled up to Dick’s Sporting Goods at Destiny Mall, I noticed three cop cars with their lights on parked outside the entrance. A minute later, a young man, kind of resembling the late Tupac Shakur (if Tupac didn’t work out or eat much); dressed in chinos and an untucked, striped button-down under his drab green army jacket emerged carrying his purchase…Being the master of the obvious that I am, I immediately recognized the end-to-end double-bagged, 4-foot object to be a shotgun.

My first thought: it’s not an issue…the young man bought the gun in Dick’s. There must be background checks, an identification process, a psychoanalytic profile, right?! Damn, I’ve been meaning to brush up on NYS gun purchasing laws…well, at least I knew it wasn’t loaded.

I swipe right on the Uber app to reveal my destination…Southwest end of Syracuse near South Ave and Colvin St…about a 18-minute drive into the city. Not the most reputable section of our beautiful city…

“Alshon” hops in, bagged shotgun in hand. He issues a slight nod and grumbles, “hey” and sits silently as we weave our way out of the mall parking lot. Before we turn onto 81, he erupts, “Where the #%*#% were you! I called juue 10x…I coulda gotta a Uber 20 minutes ago…you know I couldn’t take the bus…whas wrong wit you Kiera.” She tries to defend, “I was working and didn’t have my phone…I texted you…I got the Uber…I’m here…” Why don’t you understand,” he bellows, “You didn’t answer, you knew I was gettin this, you knew, you knew, I coulda got a ride, you don’t get it, this is bulls#*%$&!” She tries to deflate, “I’m sorry Alshon, I’m sorry, I was at work, I got the Uber…” This is escalating quickly…


Holy crap…what do I do here? There’s an agitated man with a shotgun screaming at his girlfriend in my backseat…That escalated quickly…hehe…love that fight scene in Anchorman…wait, stop, think…. Should I say something? Ugh, Griff, you always say things at inappropriate times…just stay calm, stay quiet and drive….

Anywhoo, for the next ten minutes that seems like an hour, “Alshon” continues to rant on about a whole range of things including 1. Getting the gun for a cousin 2. Something about probation or an upcoming court date 3. Yelling at Kiesha for not supporting him more…(gulp)!

“Kiesha” continues, ineffectively, trying to deflate the situation by doing the old “I’m sorry but…” routine. A little advice for both men and women in arguments…Either defend or defer your position, but don’t try to do both!

I’m just trying not to make a wrong turn that would extend this ride…

On Onondaga Blvd., we pass a gaggle of cops surrounding a meth head on the side of the street who is ranting and raving, hands in the air like he’s giving the Sermon on the Mount. Ashlon, addresses me for the first time, “That’s Eric, he’s one crazy meth addict…” I’m thinking I would trade places with Eric right now…

Then, something snaps in Ashlon…He says to me, “hey I’m sorry man. Do you have any of those Uber waters?” Although I’ve not yet graduated to the super-Uber-elite-drivers who regularly carry goodies for their passengers, I did just buy a Cherry Coke. I offer to Ashlon. He thanks me, opens it and takes a long swig…

I’m telling you what happens next could well be the be fodder for the next great Coke commercial! Up there with Mean Joe Greene throwing the kid his Jersey after he offers the former Steeler great his Coca Cola! “I’d like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony…”

Ashlon turns to Kiesha and says, “I’m hungry, what are we having for dinner?” Keisha replies, “I was going to make some chicken and potatoes in the air fryer,” Yes! Now they are talking my language! I interject, “I love my Air Fryer! I use it all the time to cook chicken wings and vegetables. In fact, I just cooked up some Calamari the other night…delicious!”

The last five minutes of our ride turns into an episode of the “Rachel Ray” show. Keisha is very health conscious. The air fryer is a great way to cook veggies without all the grease and fat. Ashlon loves his chicken wings. “Have you ever tried quinoa?” Keisha says. Ashlon cringes. “I make a mean kale, quinoa, and white bean salad with homemade lemon vinaigrette!” I reply.

I deliver them to their duplex. They both thank me, apologize, and walk hand in hand and shotgun up their driveway.

So, what can we all take away from this Uberservation? Well, I, for one, am going to offer my wife a Cherry Coke the moment she reads this blog post as she might be a little miffed that I didn’t share this story with her when it happened!

It’s only fitting that we let Tupac take this out… “And I know they like to beat you down a lot; When you come around the block, brothers clown a lot; But please don’t cry, dry your eyes, never let up; Forgive, but don’t forget, {Uberservation lovers}, keep your heads up!

Please share my site,  with everyone as this ride has room for as many who care to journey with me! Look for upcoming posts including “Like Fight Club,” “Strippers, Playas, and Women of the Night,” “Drunks are the Best Tippers,” and “South Side Shuffle.”

All names in this blog have been changed to protect passengers’ privacy

 [GG1]#Ubservations #Uberstories #DrGriff #Shotgunride #Creativewriting #Syracusecommentary #Griffinstratetgic

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