Chocolates and an Ukulele
P. S. Gifford
© Copyright 2023 by P. S.
Photo by Paul Hanoka on Unsplash.
is rarely dull driving and there have been shifts that have been
doozies. They might sound fictional, but I assure you they are true.
night was rather eventful to say the least.
nights are typically mellow on the roads of the OC- and I typically
call it a night by nine or so. As was my intent last night motivated
further by steaks my darling plus one had acquired. I could taste
them as I drove.
as it was Veteran's day- and I would be amiss at this point to
sincerely thank all past and serving members of the military- and as
today is a work free day for many bars were rather busy.
first ride of note was a thirty-six year old blonde. I knew her age
precisely as, quite simply, she told me. I picked her up from a
coastal upscale neighborhood and I discerned immediately that this
was going to be a fun ride. As she climbed into my Caddy she
commented on my shoes. Now, picture me in the driver's seat and she
is getting in the rear corner seat. She mentioned that she loved my
white driving shoes. As I am partial to them myself- I never was one
for sneakers- I received the compliment well.
was listening to an alternative eighties channel- and she began to
sing along. She mentioned that although she was born in the eighties
that it was some of her favorite music. She went on to say that
growing up she had been exposed to a variety of different music and
met a plethora of recording artists as her father used to be the
president of Columbia records. She mused over how eccentric creative
types were and found them a quirky lot- commenting that James
Taylor was the most personable.
goes on to say that she did not really want to go out- that she felt
like a quiet night in. But, it was girl’s night out and hubby
was child sitting. She added that they had told the restaurant there
was a birthday in the party and had everyone bring a fake wrapped
gift. The goal was free chocolate cake.
she was obviously sufficiently well off to afford cake for her and
her friends- but she seemed to get a kick out of the ploy- and
bringing mock presents was, well, the icing on the cake for the ruse.
the conversation turned to where it often go to- my strangest rides.
I quickly tell a couple of my favorite stranger ones. Then she asked
if I ever get hit on- as she tapped me, with surprising force, on my
happens," I replied.
she prompted- tapping my shoulder again.
retell that two weeks in a row how a female- both mid 30's-
deliberately left something in my car on purpose so they could
contact me again.
are a stud." she exclaimed.
manage to turn the conversation to more mundane things with mixed
we pulled up at the restaurant she paused before she climbed out..
She tapped my shoulder one more time.
she said. "I don't have a sweater to leave."
winked and off she went.
next, or second to next as it all blurs into one, was a pick up from
an ocean view place. As I park and wait I saw a long haired gent
dragging a suitcase behind him heading towards me. I jumped out of my
car, popped the trunk and greeted him. I placed the case in the
trunk, closed it, and then opened the car door for him- as is my way.
I noticed he had what appeared to be a small violin case with
was a tall distinguished man, impeccably dressed with a black goatee
to match his shoulder length hair. We set off and I note he was
heading to Long Beach airport- I am relieved that it was not LAX- as
that place takes my stress level to maximum. An utter nightmare!
is a fifty-mile jaunt- and as I escaped the maze of tiny coastal
rides and made it to the freeway I asked what is his musical
I play for you?" He asked.
would love it," I said- not entirely sure if I would or not.
take my ukulele everywhere," he added. “It soothes me as I
travel a lot for work."
next thing I realized is that Hotel California is being played from
the back seat. I genuinely enjoyed it. This was followed by a medley
of other mellow rock songs. Then a familiar medley started- Jammin'
by Marley. His strumming was accompanied by singing- I sang along.
he finished I thanked him- and meant it.
have never before been serenaded as I drove," I said.
am pleased you enjoyed it," he replied.
know you are going to live on in one of my anecdotes," I said.
can think of nothing better," he answered.
am a man of my word.
conversation drifted from how the number eight is so relevant to
music, computing and the universe in general to his government job on
the international front to his looming red-eye to New York.
hour sped by. We pull into the airport and I once more hop out, get
his door and baggage.
end with a hand shake and off went the curious--but rather charming-
man into the night.
was going to tell of how a young woman with almost no English skills
got me in a pickle attempting to get into the nearby marine base- but
I have rattled on long enough for now.
I have many more anecdotes from the road to share. Being an Uber
driver is rarely dull.
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