Of Taxi Drivers and Interpreters

This morning I woke up bright and early, packed my things, and waited for the magical moment when a taxi would pull up and take me away. As per usual with me moving from one place to another, it was raining. Thus, a taxi was necessary to get me to my next destination.

Which is another hotel.

Down the same street.

Like four blocks.

And the taxi driver wasn’t actually a taxi driver, he was an Uber driver. So far, I’ve always had much better luck with actual taxis than with Uber, and surprise surprise, today was no exception.

You see, I was not switching hotels by myself. I was, however, the only francophone. Let’s also keep in mind that I’m not a true francophone. I know enough French to get myself in trouble, but not enough to get myself out of trouble, much less get someone else out of trouble. So here we are, and here comes our Uber driver, who only speaks–you guessed it–French. Oy vey.

The drive was filled with miscommunication, frustrations (the app routed the driver to the wrong place), and mishaps (we couldn’t change the address for the app). This, of course, all endeared Uber strongly to me, and it definitely did not endear us to our driver in the least, who had decided we simply didn’t know how to use the app and was giving extensive directions on how to work the app.

I swear, sir, it has nothing to do with the app, but everything to do with the fact that this phone has suddenly decided it doesn’t speak French 4G and will only accept English 4G.

What bugs me about this, I suppose, is that I have managed to get on with non-English speaking taxi drivers with very few mishaps. Often things involve pointing and and smiling with hand cues regarding the yes and no status of things. Oh, and a meter. Meters make everything easier to pay for, especially when they’re the sort where you just tap your transport card on it and voila! your fare is paid, no money passed hands, neither party has any reason to be nervous about the other one scamming them, and it’s a beautiful world filled with daisies and rainbows and fairies and glitter.

Uber might let you pay over the app, but there’s a lot less trust between drivers and riders, and I don’t like it. We all did eventually get to our destination, and everyone ended the ride content with the outcome (yay, tipping), but still.

Someone call me a taxi, I want out.

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