A very good friend of my celebrated his 40th birthday (belatedly, but that’s not important right now) this past weekend, and, as you do when making hay about such things, roped the Whole Gang together to do so. The husbands—and yes, that includes me, regardless of whether I’m still authorized to carry a Man Card—began early Saturday, with tees time at a golf course that assured us several hours of hacking at dimpled balls with reckless abandon.
Well, okay, yeah, putting it that way makes it sound kind of offensive. But then, if you’ve ever seen me attempt to play 18 holes, you know the sentiment in question isn’t half as offensive as my golf game.
At any rate, after spending most of the morning and early afternoon in mildly ridiculous heat, we got cleaned up and heading into downtown Cincinnati for a night in the city. I believe I’ve mention this before, but on the off chance you haven’t been following along lately, Cincinnati is kind of an exciting place to be these days. We’re not quite booming like back in The Day of America’s Westward Expansion (when the city was the gateway to both the south and the west), but the place is kind of electric with promise and growth at the moment.
The only problem is, for a dude and his wife from the (dreaded, for you urban-y types) ‘burbs, planning an evening to take place at a variety of locations in town can be problem for those of us dependent on cars. You know, because parking costs actual US dollars, and I’m not keen on shelling it out multiple times, once at every location we decided to hit. Luckily, though, the better portion of the Hip and Happening areas of Cincinnati are concentrated in walkable areas that seem to be stretching out as time goes on. That’s a very good thing. It also helped very much that the Gang figured on an eventual visit to the Horseshoe Casino to wind out the evening.
Oh and hey, they offer free parking at the casino! And, well, I do enjoy free parking. Almost as much as puppy kisses, back rubs, and bourbon.
We decided, then, to start the evening by parking at the casino and leaving the car there until we needed it later. Then we just needed to somehow meet up with everyone else from the Group. Only problem, though, is that Group Rally Point A was a hotel some 12+ blocks away. Which, yeah, I know, 12 blocks is really Not Worth Complaining About For Urban People. But, in my defense, the ambient temperature outside was hovering somewhere between “the daytime surface temp of Mercury” and “a billion and a half degrees”. Plus, I’d already spent most of the day sweltering in the sun on a golf course. I didn’t want to get all shiny and sticky again just before dinner.
The fact is, I had plans for sweating that evening already, but those plans were based on the Celebratory Meat Sweats, not your average, run-of-the-mill OMG There A Ball of Nuclear Fusion In The Sky Spitting Radiant Heat Upon Us All Sweats.
Also, the Puddinette and I were dressed reasonable well for once, and I didn’t want to ruin our Swank Factor so earlier in the evening. Admittedly, when I say “reasonable well dressed,” I, obviously don’t mean that I was rocking a tux with tails or anything. Let’s face it, if I was going to be the kind of primate with any manner of rear adornment anyway, I think we all know I’d be that baboon with the angry red butt.
But I digress.
Point is, yes, we could have walked, but it wasn’t an attractive option. Now, if the city had some kind of rail system—say, a streetcar—we could’ve hoped aboard for a buck or two and ridden to the rendezvous point without a concern. But uh, the streetcar isn’t set to the open until 2015, I guess. Or 2016? One of those. Either way, not this weekend.
And that’s when I remembered Uber.
If you haven’t heard of it, Uber is a car service (new to Cincinnati but in lots of other cities) that hooks people in need of a ride with drivers interested in earning a few dollars by getting John Q. Passenger from Point A to B. The whole thing is managed by an app on your phone, including paying and tipping your driver. Which means that if you’re an introvert like me and the thought of having to make small talk with the guy with your life in his hands at 40+ M.P.H. fills you with a kind of cold, liquid, existential dread, it’s the most magical service ever created in the history of services. You click “Request car”. You watch the GPS map on your phone as the car makes it way to you. The car arrives. You get in. You’re driven to where you wanted to get dropped off. You get out (saying “Thanks” and “Goodbye” are optional, but introvert doesn’t have to mean jerkknuckle). You go about living the rest of your life. Uber emails you a receipt. The world is full of rainbows, unicorns, and lollypops.
Even better, I got a promotional credit for signing up for an account, meaning that the company picked up the $12 tab for Saturday’s ride and the next one, at least.
From there, the evening only got awesomer. It was filled with a massive, delicious steak, good times with great friends, and even an improbably up night at the casino.
Of course, the biggest problem with having an awesome weekend is that the Monday toll man inevitably rolls in and reminds you of just how far you can fall from Life’s peak to valley in 24 short hours.
And thus I am today, drinking my bitter Monday brew, basking in the warm glow of Saturday’s memories.
And also wondering why baboons have such funny colored butts.