Several weeks ago I picked up a party at Chick’s Oyster Bar on a weekend. And I mean party. Four young women having a good time. It was the kind of group I most enjoy Ubering–laughing and loose but not rude or obnoxious. And they included me in the fun.
“I’d like to introduce you to Flat Mary,” said Lisa, the front-seat passenger. She held up a homemade paper doll. It wore a floral blouse and skirt. The face was cut out from a photograph.
“Hello, Flat Mary,” I said. “Nice to meet you.”
The car was alive with the gregarious chatter of slightly inebriated twenty-somethings.
“So, what’s up with Flat Mary? Real Mary couldn’t make it?” I asked.
“Right. Mary is our friend. She usually goes out with us, but she’s out of town on a business trip tonight, so we brought along Flat Mary to take her place.”
“And Flat Mary has been wild!” someone in the back said.
“Yup,” said Lisa. “She talked to all kinds of guys. She sang with the band. She even crowd surfed.”
She showed me some pictures on her phone. The group recorded all the fun Flat Mary had been having and were texting the photos and videos to Real Mary all night.
“Sounds like Flat Mary might even be more fun than Real Mary,” I said.
They laughed louder. “That’s what we’ve been saying all night!”
“Maybe you should kick Mary out of the group and replace her with Flat Mary permanently.”
“No. We love Mary. We’ll let her come along next time.”
“You know, I write a blog about my best Uber rides.” I handed out some cards. “I think Flat Mary just might make the blog.”
“Yes! That would be awesome! You have to put Flat Mary on the blog! Let me take your picture with Flat Mary. I’ll email it to you so you can post it.”
When we arrived at their destination, I held Flat Mary and grinned cheesily as the flash blinded me.
They were still giddy as they tumbled out.
I waited for the email from Lisa, but the photo never came. I consequently forgot about doing a Flat Mary post. Until last night.
I was at Chick’s again (It’s a really popular Uber location) and picked up a young couple who sat together in the back. I had the radio on, listening to a college basketball game. After greeting them and verifying the destination, I turned it up a bit.
The broadcast made it hard to hear their conversation, but they weren’t talking to me anyway. Then, above the noise, I overheard the words, Flat Mary.
I turned down the radio. “Did you just say Flat Mary?”
“Yes?” said the female passenger.
“How do you know about Flat Mary?” I asked, weirdly enthusiastic.
“How do you know about Flat Mary?” she said, wide-eyed.
“I was the Uber driver for Flat Mary a couple weeks ago!”
“You’re the Uber driver?!” she said. “Oh my god, you have Jolly Ranchers and everything! You are the Uber driver! I’m Mary!”
“No way! That’s crazy. Do you know how many Uber drivers there are in this area? I can’t believe you ended up in my car.”
“I know. This is amazing. I’m so excited. Wait. I have your picture.”
She thumbed through her photos and pushed it forward so I could see my over-exposed mug grinning next to Flat Mary. “That’s you!”
“That’s definitely me. Your friend said she was going to send me the photo for my blog, but I never got it.”
“I’ll send it to you!” she said.
“It’s like having a celebrity in my car,” I said.
“Yup. You’ve seen Flat Mary. Now you’ve seen Round Mary.”
“Hm. Round Mary. That’s not very flattering. I’d go with 3-D Mary.”
“Yes, I like that better,” she said.
Unfortunately, I still haven’t received my picture with Flat Mary. I’m hoping one of the group will see this post and get it to me.