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My week of diversity


My Uber “career” is never dull and if you spend any amount of time with me you’re going to endure a story about one of my passengers. I typically only drive weekdays, which I realize probably limits my exposure to some of the more interesting characters, but I’m never disappointed. The moon and "last call" may breed an entertaining freak show but the daylight exposes much more.

On Saturdays I tend to recall and evaluate my week: the people I met, the conversations we had and their potential to be used as entertainment or for a learning experience.

This past week was FULL of diversity.

1. I met a man from Ghana. He was in North America for a few weeks-first in Canada for training, and then the US to visit family and friends. We had 30 minutes to converse while I transported him to the train station. We discussed climate, culture and parenting. I don’t know if it was due to my blonde hair or the fact that a monkey could do my job but early in the conversation he asked me: “Have you ever heard of Africa?” I wanted to answer “I think so, isn’t that where they filmed the Lion King?”, but didn’t know if the humor would transfer well from my “American English” to his “2nd language English”. Regardless, we had a great conversation and he left a very nice review and rating for me.

2. I met a research scientist who has literally traveled the world during her career. We had over an hour together and discussed her travels, our vices and our grandchildren. Way more content than I could ever write here but one interesting statement she made regarding her experiences was that people who speak English as a 2nd language seem to have the most difficulty comprehending English spoken with an Australian accent. I never really thought about that before, that the English language, when spoken with an accent, would be more difficult for a novice English speaker to understand.

3. I met a man from Mexico. We also had over an hour together and discussed the Amish (because we passed several horse drawn buggies on our trip) and his life in Mexico prior to moving to the US.

4. I met a man from India. He has been in the US for a few months on a work visa. During this time he has experienced American night clubs and is very intrigued by women and their freedom to choose their own interests. I didn't understand his fascination until he briefly explained the caste system as his "religion". Just like any faith-based system I'm sure there are variations and multiple sects but WOW, that was interesting.

5. My 5th encounter is the one that makes me giggle, not because it's particularly funny, but because it just rounds out this week of diversity in an odd way. All week long (with the exception of the American research scientist who I included because of her own experience with diversity) I have encountered people who do not speak English as their native language. I held lengthy conversations with them and my life has been enriched because of it. Despite their accents and/or broken English, I was able to understand what they were trying to convey. #5 is a man I've transported several times, he is All-American: loves discussing football, loves making me aware of controversial current events, and regularly tells me "as always, a pleasure to see you again" when I deliver him to his destination. However, HE is the one that stumped me this week. He got in my car and immediately asked "do you mind taking me to pick up my DUGS?" I looked at him with a confused expression and he repeated."my DUGS. Do you care if they ride in your car?".

My blonde brain was trying to decode the message? Did he mean Drugs? That would make sense since he's asking permission and transporting them makes me an accomplice but I don't want any part of that so I'll have to tell him "NO"....or did he say "Doug", like a man's name, but maybe there's 2 of them so he used it in plural form and they need a ride??? ...or is DUG some acronym slang that I'm not cool enough to know?

Sensing my hesitation to give him an answer he tried to reassure me..."they're at the groomer so they've just had a bath and won't stink or shed in your car"

OH! DUGS = Dogs, he just has a funny way of pronouncing it. I felt so dumb for not understanding him, especially after deciphering the English spoken with various accents the rest of the week.

I'm happy to announce that all dogs and Dougs are welcome in my car.

#dog #dug #ghana #mexico #india #diversity #uber

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