It may be the desert and it may only be early October, but Vegas is still pretty cold at 7 in the morning. It didn't help that I was soaking wet and vomiting in a parking lot.
I'm hoarse. My throat is raw from a fight I got into with an Uber driver. And I love the basis for the argument: I'd given him a one star rating and then he gave me a one star rating.
He dropped me off at the wrong Embassy Suites. I walked into the lobby carrying a martini and the front desk was different, the plants were moved, the entire building seemed to have shifted in another direction. I figured I could at least get centered in my room but I couldn't even find the elevators.
I asked the clerk what had happened and you could tell he was filtering so much commentary. I mean when a guy who reeks of terrible decisions is claiming that the entire hotel has physically changed, you've really got to dig deep to keep it professional. He suggested the obvious and that's when the Uber meltdown began. I think my martini glass is still at the other hotel as I needed both hands to get the driver back. Within five minutes I was in a full throttle shouting match with a Ukrainian man about our ratings. It's such a modern online argument. It's either one star or five star in this uber social world, and neither of us could get across our point in the necessary language. I remember my mom would talk loudly to foreigners and I thought of that as I ripped a lung in the back of his Prius.
I shouted, "I'M NOT A ONE STAR RIDER!" and he replied "NO ONE STAR DRIVER!"
First, I contested that it doesn't seem right that a rider, a good one at that, gets a reciprocal rating for being dropped off in the wrong place.
He countered that I gave him the wrong address, but I shot back that I didn't even know where in the hell I was. Plus...and I tried to make this abundantly clear, I hadn't wanted to give him a one star rating but Uber's user interface made me rate him to get to the screen I needed to bring him back to the altered Embassy. So I was really rating the moment. Something that didn't translate all that well. I was drunk, I was tired, I wasn't sure where I was and no amount of stabbing at my phone was getting me to the proper menu.
The one-star system worked in that he turned around and came right back wondering why I'd given him one star. That sounds creepy and stalkerish but he was genuinely hurt because we'd chummed so well in his Toyota. And it was in the carpeted confines of his car where I could not yell loud enough to make him understand my dedication to giving Uber drivers five star ratings. I'd only not rated one driver once and that's when she nearly killed both of us and everyone in oncoming traffic while going the wrong way in her terrifying new Jaguar. I just want people to be able to make a living, and I'm often too nice doing it.
I made it home, emailed Uber and fixed his rating. I'm not sure if he added to my lonely sun, but I hope he did.
That's what I was thinking about has I grabbled a palm tree and unleashed the free continental breakfast. I was ill, but I had tried the pool to turn things around. It did not work. I bobbed around in pain waiting for a mother and her child to leave the premises. (I'm a scary loud horker and even the distance I'd gain from the pool area would traumatize a child.) They smiled and talked and I tried everything in my power not to blast intestinal regret all over their morning. But when they left...oh thank god. You know when you have to pee really bad and you get to the bathroom and you're all about thanking every deity and friend who made that possible? I've thanked plumbers unions and civilization in general for saving those close calls. Anyway, that's what I was doing between the trampling throngs of exiting morsels. And palm trees are not comforting. If you're going to hug a tree you should find a different species.
I should add that going gluten free changed my life. I know, dramatic, but true. The problem is that while everyone else is enjoying pasta and bread and other things that are good for a night of drinking, I had a salad and a sample of salami. (Which, btw, was 47 dollars.) And not the cheap Oscar Meyer stuff but some outrageously priced appetizer with four slices of fancy meat. So with a tiny Italian garden in my tummy, I went about drinking (gluten free) martinis. Those add up pretty fast. A one-star decision.
So I got a bucket from the janitors closet, filled it with pool water and did my best to clean the rocks. Look at me now Uber man. Look at me now.