Dear Uber Drivers, Here's What's Going On When I Don't Want to Talk (It's Not Out of Rudeness)


I’ve used Uber, the mobile taxi service, many times. I’ve ordered an Uber after a night out, to get home from work or when I have a lot of bags and am headed to the train station. But I’ve also taken an Uber when I’ve needed to get home quickly due to my health conditions.

I’ve taken a few Ubers when I’ve had a migraine that wasn’t helped by my usual migraine prescription medication, in a hurry to get home as the world starts to spin around me and I struggle to focus on anything while the daylight and everyday sounds around me pierce through my right eye and behind my eye socket.

The car arrives, I feel relieved to know I’ll be home in 15 minutes or so, and I jump on in. The happy driver says, “Hi” and wants to have a conversation with me. Barely able to focus on what he’s saying or asking me, I try to explain that I’m in a lot of pain, thus ordering the Uber so I could get home early. “I’m sorry I’m not more fun to talk to,” I blurt out to the driver as I close my eyes and mop my sweaty hands on my cardigan sleeves. I just want to get home, get under a duvet and wait for this to pass.

Later on, when I’m able to think clearly again, I realize the Uber driver might have thought I was rude as I interrupted his polite attempt at making conversation with possibly his first customer all day. I’d practically said, “Don’t talk.”

I hope I didn’t upset him. I hope he understood and met a much chattier customer not long after dropping me off home.

I’ve avoided taking cabs or Ubers in the past because I didn’t want to have to make small talk when I felt ill, physically or mentally.

On a day where I’m barely keeping myself together from feeling so overwhelmingly depressed or anxious about everything, I don’t want to talk to a) anyone, but b) especially anyone new. I get anxiety when I think about calling an Uber to take me home and realize it’s going to be awkward in the car as we sit in silence for the whole journey, me fiddling with my phone, bracelet or scrolling through social media to avoid having to make conversation. I get anxiety when I have to stand and wait for him to arrive. Will I be able to keep myself together for the journey? I’m crying at everything and nothing these days. I’m worrying.

The fact that Uber drivers can also rate their customers for how pleasant they were to pick up and drop off can make me feel like I’m a burden if I actively avoid speaking to the driver.

Uber drivers and in fact any taxi/cab drivers: please don’t think your customer is rude or ignorant if they’re not feeling up to chatting with you loads. I know I worry afterwards what you thought and if you felt I wasn’t holding up my side of the deal when you arrived so promptly and took me home without an issue.

Follow Rachel on The Invisible Hypothyroidism.

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