The Uber of My Eye: Finding Love in a Rideshare
It was 20 minutes before I was due to a 10pm photography-and-drinks meeting clear across the city, but I was still applying mascara. The sense of urgency was mounting. Time to go, Kristina, I thought.
I was on my way to meet my politico-journalist girlfriend Alana*, who I hadn't seen in about a year, for drinks and a fun night shoot. Our plans were actually for the evening before, but she had to reschedule at the last minute due to receiving multiple violent threats on Instagram earlier in the week. The prices we pay for living a public life! Hightailing out of my room, I grabbed my camera bag, my beanie, and my phone, and made it to the top of my staircase. Then, out of nowhere, I decided to sit down and meditate.
Despite the pressure to GTFO of Hayes Valley and over to Chinatown ASAP, I listened to that inner voice telling me to slow down. I looked at my phone and figured I'd call an Uber after this impromptu moment of zen. A few minutes later my vibe was centered, but I was unable to shake that weird, sudden urge to find my inner zen. What was that?
An Uber twist of fate
When I opened the front door of the car that had come to pick me up, I didn't even notice there was someone sitting in the backseat. I usually try my best to avoid contrived human interaction, but every now and then you get some Chatty Cathy who starts schmoozin' you up about where you live, and then the inevitable, "So what do you do?" We were a few blocks into the ride and I was fidgeting with my camera settings when he finally said, "Hey."
I can't stand small talk and I definitely don't take Uber to meet people because I actually suffer from some pretty crippling social anxiety. Feigned friendliness -- especially in rideshares -- makes me want to turn my skin inside out. But when he asked about my camera, I answered politely because awkward car rides are even worse. It was dark and he was slouched in the backseat, but there was something sparkly about his smile. I was instantly intrigued.
Our cross-town conversation yielded one main common denominator: a mutual determination to hustle the San Francisco music journalism scene. Him as a writer, me as a photographer. I flexed my upcoming guest-list spot at The Independent, offering up an invitation to join as my plus-one. We immediately exchanged contact info and suddenly, the timing of this pool situation started to feel fated. I see you, fairy godmother.
As our ride came to an end, he stepped out of the car with the bravado of a man who just won over the too-cool chick that initially swerved his advances. I still didn't quite know what he looked like, so I watched as he walked around the car and into his destination. We made prolonged eye contact while he flashed one last big, boyish grin. I remember thinking, "Holy shit, he looks like Liam Hemsworth." I volunteer!
"Dude," I said to Alana, "I think I met the love of my life in the Uber over here." I said the line theatrically, fully aware I was pulling the ultimate rom-com trope. She laughed, indulging my premonition, and we began gushing over drinks. It was cute. We were both blissed on cloud nine that night -- me, for this strange meeting; her, because she'd recently gotten back together with her ex who was also a dear friend of mine. We toasted to their newly rekindled relationship, and to the culmination of a bizarre, unanticipated FBI investigation that had prompted our change in plans.
And Mai Tais. Lots of Mai Tais.
A week later, I went on my first date with Ryan. I was shooting a prominent Bay Area MC for a local music blog and asked Ryan to write a short blurb about the show to accompany my gallery. He saw my quick write-up request and raised me a full, live review. The piece, once submitted, got re-posted by the artist across all his social platforms. Our attraction was already mutually strong, but having our article validated by the artist's camp was like an added steroid shot for our budding romance. Something told me this was the beginning of something rare.
Ryan and I formed a creative alliance adjacent to our honeymoon phase. We went on to tag-team several shows and music festivals for local and national publications, like Fest300 and The Guardian. Within five months, we were falling in love and achieving multiple professional goals together. We were basically like Jay Z and Beyonce, drunk in love and in bylines.
Coming up on our one-year Uber-versary, I still revel in the synchronicities that brought us together. The timing of it all happened so organically, but not without a tinge of deus ex machina. And we might not have met on Tinder or OkCupid, but ultimately it was still an algorithm that brought us together. Truly a modern romance in the digital age, born in the tech capital of the world.
*Name has been changed
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Kristina Bakrevski still takes photos and uses UberPool. Find her at KristinaBakrevski.com.