I took an UberPool to the airport this morning in search of excitement. And boy did I find it! Two businessmen on a horrible trip of some sort got in, and I believe I was able to discern the nuances of their relationship and their jobs all in one short ride. I also learned a little about me. Mostly the whole thing just made me really sad.
  1. "Bud" (first occurrence)
    This was said twice by the man I believe to be the higher-ranking of the pair ("Bossman" henceforth), and both utterances were telling. The first was just after the UberPoolist and I arrived at their hotel on Robertson to find them waiting. Bossman eyed me with wary surprise -- he either didn't intend to order a Pool, or his associate ("Little Boy") had erred, and he was prepared to hold it against him. Bossman got in the passenger's seat and greeted me with a "Yo, Bud." I was not his bud.
  2. "We don't work with any resellers, do we?"
    This was a question from Little Boy directed at Bossman. It served to shatter a car-wide silence that had begun after they entered the Pool, a peaceful quiet that both Igor, the Russian-speaking driver, and I were sad to see go. Little Boy's conscious and nervous slurp of his complimentary hotel coffee before he asked told me he was anxious about speaking. Obviously their trip has been a mixed bag. Bossman answered with a curt "no." But he also had a lot more to say.
  3. "He probably has a dotted line into me. We need to update our org."
    I honestly have no idea what this means. It was said by Bossman, forty minutes into what the map said would be a twenty-five minute car ride, about another employee at whatever company they all work. Probably the Parallax Corporation? Who knows. What is a dotted line? Is an org a chart of some kind?
  4. "I'm going to need a programmatic sooner than later."
    Notice the absence of the word "rather," a mangled grammar typical of Bossman. It says, "it's not my job to know what I'm saying. You figure it out." I have no idea what he meant, or even really what line of work these men were in. This command came in a long digression half-associated with Little Boy's earlier question. Here, Little Boy gave a bumbling ascent, first confidently proclaiming that it wouldn't take long, then clarifying he had no idea how long it would take. Igor winced.
  5. "So we had an opening for project manager."
    I could guess by the tone in which Bossman said this that it was supposed to be a major plot turn in whatever lame fucking business story he was telling, but to be honest, I kind of zoned out here because it was super boring. Fuck this sentence.
  6. "He doesn't have the schmooze of you, but he also has a personality."
    Yikes! I nearly jumped when Bossman said this to Little Boy about a mutual professional acquaintance. The raw condescension was breathtaking -- in just a few words, he tells Little Boy that what he's good at doesn't matter, and that what he's bad at is a core strength of a future rival. Perhaps less surprising was how quickly Little Boy "yes and-ed" it, eager to hear more about this man that his boss would so happily replace him with. Stand up for yourself, fella!
  7. "Really nice kid. Originally from Houston. An athlete... and, uh, how would I describe him? A grinder. Just a total grinder."
    So much to love in this classic Bossman quote. The pointless biographical information, the Robert Evans-like mid-sentence pause for self-reflection, the unironic use of the word "grinder." This is like a shit sandwich made using other shit sandwiches. Just perfect. UberPool, you are full of delights.
  8. "Bud" (second occurrence)
    For Bossman's "bud" reprise, the subtext of disappointment became text. He bookended it with sighs directed at Igor, who had misunderstood the men's intended destination and taken us all to National Blvd rather than the National Car Rental by the airport. I was now sure I would miss my flight, but as the rage and panic subsided, I found myself filled with empathy for Igor. Doing his best. Not quite grasping the language. Dealing with these two douchebags. All for a 17 dollar fare.