We Are Traffic: An Uber Adventure

20/08/22

Assembly Rooms, George Street (Drawing Room), Edinburgh

Jonathan Tipton-Meyers’ account of his years as an Uber-driver has a vaguely confessional feel – Confessions of a Taxi-Driver, anyone? Hurting badly from the break-up of his marriage and the failure of his business venture, Tipton-Meyers’ solution is to get into his car and drive at top speed, away from the scene of the accident.

When he needs to earn some money, he becomes an Uber-driver or, rather, an employee of Rideshare as it was originally known. Now, a few years down the line, he laments the fact that it’s no longer possible for a guy down on his luck to earn a decent living from ferrying friendly strangers around Los Angeles. Because, when Uber comes along, everything changes. A lot of money is still being made but not by the drivers – and even having to stop for a toilet break becomes a major issue.

What’s more, driving around the highways and byways gives him new insights into the quirks and disparities of his adopted city – and of the inherent racism that underpins it.

Tipton-Meyers shares anecdotes about some of the eccentric characters he meets on his travels – about the levels of abuse he sometimes faces from drunken passengers – and he gives us a glimpse into his hopes for a better future. He’s an affable narrator, but sometimes there’s the feeling that he’s still somehow a little too close to that breakup, that the wounds are too raw for him to arrange it all into a satisfactory story arc.

But it’s an agreeable way to pass an hour on the Fringe and a life-affirming lesson about chasing your dreams and never giving up on them.

3 stars

Philip Caveney

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