Those of you who know me (which, let's face it, is my entire readership at the mo') know that I LOVE a good chat in a crowdsourced vehicle. Lyft, Uber, even Sidecar...I am down to get to know your life story! Chatting with the drivers and other passengers reminds me of how amazingly multi-faceted human beings are and (yes, I'm gonna say it) fills me with a rare happiness that stems from hope in humanity and the sweet promise of arriving at a destination.
Let's dive in: It was Saturday night and I got off work at 10 pm. I was fixin' to skidaddle over to the "Westsiiiiide" for an ole co-workers birthday party. Because my journey promised to cost the entire wage I earned that night, and I was destined to spend a week's worth of income on drinks and drunchies once I got there, I decided on an "Uber-pool" in an attempt to balance out my spendthrift ways.
Things got off to a rocky start because I decided to order two street tacos when the Uber was 3 minutes away, and they were not in my possession until the driver called me SO I had to engage in what a passerby described as "defensive eating," (aka leaning over a trashcan shoveling whole tacos in my mouth) while the other passenger - a glamorous brazilian woman - stared out the window at me, her eyes narrowed like drawn blinds.
I spent the beginning of the ride profusely thanking the driver, George, and the other passenger, while George tried increasingly to make the woman laugh by making fun of uber-pool (not sure if those were indirect insults being hurled at me, or he just was genuinely not a fan of the whole concept.) Things were looking bleak...until passenger number three, Sunjeev, stumbled out of a Ramen restaurant and into the Prius, wearing an LL Bean backpack and high-waisted jeans with white tennis shoes -- the telltale signs of an American STEM nerd!
The conversation quickly progressed to "what do you do?" and low and behold, Sunjeev is a data scientist! (A much more compelling profession to dissect than "actor/hostess at a restaurant"). But not just ANY data scientist! He is a data scientist for EHARMONY.COM.
This news spurred a unique response in each of us. My eyes bulged with excitement and I yelled out "WHAAT, THAT'S SO COOL!" George, burst into hysterical laughter, but the lovely Brazilian woman, Mariana, replied:
"I want to personally thank you for your job."
Something about the intense sincerity in her voice cut George and I off and we all swiveled our heads right at her, like meerkats desperate to know what was on the horizon. Right on cue, Mariana proudly confessed:
"I met my husband on match.com. He was the first date I went on. I signed up for the site, and three hours later he contacted me, two days later we went on our first date, and one year later we got engaged."
I've never seen a man so validated as Sunjeev was, knowing that his hours of analyzing the numbers behind what people really want beyond specifying a certain height or education level all paid off! There was at least one real life couple that got married because of internet dating. They really should have a show -- we're in LA for Christ's sake!
We spent the rest of the ride discussing the dynamics of their relationship, and of online dating, from the fact that if you have a picture you are nine times more likely to be messaged (this seems so "DUH"...but think about it? People can still put a fake pic up!), to the idea that she and her hubby should be brand ambassadors and in all the match.com commercials...
I have always been a little dubious of facts and figures and formulas...I don't like things that are too cut and dry. They scream boring to me. However, this story has reminded me to look beyond what I view as mere "surface" data and see how it can be married with the crazy, unpredictable, emotional elements of life. Yes, Mariana and her hubby did have to fill out a 180 question survey to start their profiles. BUT Mariana did not even have the time to fill out the survey entirely or complete her profile before her now hubby messaged her! She may never have met him without the internet....but it was their in person connection that fueled the fire of their love.
This, my friends, is the stuff of dreams!! I feel as though my placement in this Uber was the cosmos telling me to start believing in the internet, and moreover in the bizarreness of love! Mariana insisted it was the best investment she ever made and had me convinced that if I had seventy dollars to spare, I would have used it to sign up for an intense online dating website during that ride.
While I haven't quite decided how to translate this hopeful experience into my own life, I can tell you that this week I am going on a date with a man I met in a parking garage, a date that's going to be recorded for a podcast, AND my boss caught me "tindering" while at work...so basically, I am really mature and love will find me soon. #justkeepswiping