Uber is leaving Austin, Texas. I’m going to spare you the details of why, because doing so could trigger a slew of political conversations that neither of us want to have. All you need to know is that effective at 8 a.m. this morning, Uber and Lyft both ended their tenure as ridesharing services in Austin.
Experience with Uber was short-lived for me. I moved here from a city that didn’t have it and, as spoiled as it sounds, it’s wildly difficult to imagine life without it. Too many beers on the golf course weren’t a problem because you could ditch your wheels and hop an Uber home. Getting to and from bars, or dinner with friends, or somewhere with hellish parking too. It was an extremely convenient means to and end. One that made our lives not only more convenient, but safer to boot.
But now it’s gone.
And now I don’t know what to do.
Like, what am I supposed to do with all this money that I’m not spending on Uber? When I went car shopping, I decided to buy a less expensive car after assuming I’d be utilizing Uber and Lyft on weekends, thus only driving my car to and from work five days a week. Now that those options are gone, I just have this money going towards, well, nothing. If I went to a bar on any given Friday night, I was almost always taking an Uber. That’s $7.50, give or take. I would then take it home during surge pricing, which was $11.25 per ride. Then, I’d do it again on Saturday. If you multiply that by weekends in a year, that’s almost $1,000 that’s just going unused.
It’s not like I can spend it on alcohol or meals out. Lord knows I can’t have a meal in public without getting blasted, so how am I supposed to go home? By standing on the side of the road trying to find a cab? Hell, I might as well hitchhike at that point. Or by driving the car that I took to the restaurant or bar back home? Yeah, I’d love to spend $10,000 on a DUI every time I go out in place of 4x surge pricing at 2 o’clock in the morning. That’s really fucking reasonable, guys.
Meanwhile, because I can’t eat out or drink anymore, I’m going to be forced to find hobbies. Yeah, I’ve always wanted to learn how to flyfish, but I’ve never actually wanted to commit the time and effort to doing so. And sure, I could start exercising, but now that I’m forced to be sober and cook meals, weight is just going to be falling off of me. Do I have to spend my nights catching up on Game of Thrones or watching all the Harry Potter movies for the first time? I hope not, because even that makes getting a DUI sound like an okay idea.
I’m sure there are other ridesharing apps out there. I’ve been an Uber loyalist so even using Lyft felt scummy to me. Once you fly first class, you don’t just stroll back to coach without feeling a tinge of horror. And to go below even Lyft would feel like I’m hopping on the side of a train like a character in O Brother, Where Art Though?” or something.
When I was growing up, I could endlessly entertain myself. I would play baseball alone in my backyard. I would blast tennis balls into my hockey net with my plastic stick for hours on end. I would play tennis against my garage. I’d even hit flop shots to one side of my yard back to the other which has now allowed me to have a Phil-esque, buttery flop game.
But then Uber entered my life. You, Uber, taught me how to be social. You tacitly said, “Go out, Will, we’ll take you home with no repercussions.” You trained me to live a life of barhopping, restaurant eating, and blackout cruising with the rest of the hammered people in my Uber Pool. Those were potential friends I was making, Uber.
And now those times are gone. Now I have to grocery shop and cook meals in my kitchen. Now I have to walk a mile instead of paying the minimum charge, waiting for you, and getting there in the same amount of time as if I’d just walked. Now I have to buy alcohol at the grocery store and invite friends over unless I want to drink alone. But that won’t happen. Because if my friends saw the way I lived outside of bars and restaurants, they’d hate me.
I know this sounds like I’m mad at you, Uber. But I’m not. I’m mad at myself for blindly thinking that this party would last forever. I’m mad that my life is about to be more about responsibility and less about washing my hands of it. I’m mad because I can’t get fucked up whenever I want to with no consequences.
So to you, Uber, let me say this – when you come back, I’ll be ready for you. I’ll be sitting on my couch watching Meet The Press with my sober brain firing on all cylinders just begging to go out. I’ll be like a pent up bull in Pamplona just before the running waiting to hit the town. I’ll be ready to see my friends out again, because now that I think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever seen them sober before.
Just please come back before I start saving money. I’m not responsible enough for that. .