When uber and ola began their sharing rides, little did they know that they were creating a meeting ground for the single, the lonely, the business hungry, and the plain old extroverts. Little did they think that their supposed car pooling system would soon turn into a speed (literally) dating set up between strangers who may never even meet again, which in an ideal speed dating world is the perfect way to go about it.
So how did I think of this? I won't lie to you. I've never been in an uber pool or an ola share or any of the other sharing cabs that have joined the bandwagon.
And Disclaimer: Uber/Ola have not paid me to talk about them.
A friend of mine who is a frequent traveller by Ola came across this rad driver one day. Who played music similar to her taste and then went on to play her favourite songs. She, for one, was shocked at his taste in music and then overwhelmed that he could hum the same songs that she would otherwise have played on her earphones. She texted me that instant out of disbelief. The very next day, she spoke to a passenger in her Ola cab and their conversations led them to exchange numbers and soon had them chatting over WhatsApp.
It's an easy game for the extroverts. They're not shy, they're welcoming, they're happier in conversation than in quiet rides home. But let's take, for example, another friend of mine. Who takes an Uber share home 4 times a week. A drive of 20-30 minutes generally means that much time for her co-passenger to initiate conversation.
Now, an introvert is often thrust with anxiety, over conversations she does not want to engage in, and here comes mister 'I like this song, have you heard it before?' while an old Coldplay number hits the station on the Ubers system. Reluctantly, she shakes her head and looks out the window, not necessarily meaning to be mean but quite promptly indicating she does not want to converse. But that doesn't stop mister 'hello' from trying his best to take this conversation forward and soon my friend is texting me to try and seem busy so she does not have to engage in social interaction.
And this is exactly what got me thinking. This wasn't the first time someone in her cab tried to make a connection. And I use the term connection because she's been offered business cards from passengers too. And days that she can breathe easy are the ones where she knows there's an introvert sitting beside her.
Yet another friend narrated her experiences to me after I asked her if she had any conversations with co-passengers.
She too is one to plug in her earphones but is definitely more likely to engage in a conversation than the friend I metioned earlier. She said she made her first commute-buddy on an Uber pool ride. They happened to be alloted the same cab every day as their destinations and routes were the same. Soon, they both started booking private Ubers instead of pool just so that they always got the same cab home.
Another time a passenger began asking her where she worked and what was her job like. This conversation ended with an exchange of Snapchat IDs and warm smiles. Today they check each other's stories but never really engage in conversation. Sounds like a lot of tinder matches too.
Yet another ride had an old man engaging in a jolly conversation about his 'zamaana' and ended with some blessings for great success ahead.
My friend does think that it's unnecessary conversation. After a long day at work, all you wanna do it get home quick and listen to music on your way there. However, she's a little more patient with strangers and even happened to help a first-time Uber pool rider.
Oh but the number of times they've tried to find a common ground! I'm not paranoid. I'm the kind who would generally engage in this conversation. But I trust my friend when she says there have been remarks that have sometimes crossed the line of 'co-passenger' and that really got me questioning if Uber is the next tinder.
So you can see, there's a lot of mix matching out there and while you keep swiping right on tinder, some lucky person just booked the same cab as his soulmate.
Think about it, Uber/Ola are probably sitting on the next big dating app and they don't even realise it.