Insider

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As an Uber driver, you get used to passengers talking to each other and ignoring you. At times, I enjoy being a fly on the wheel and eavesdropping on their conversations. But when these chats occur in another language, then I really feel like an outsider. What are they talking about? Me? Are they saying how crap the music is? Or wondering how old their grey haired driver might be? On one trip, my Chinese passengers actually started whispering to each other. What the? Why? Still, it was mildly amusing to have a literal ‘Chinese Whispers’ situation going on in the back. But on another occasion, my two Chinese passengers – a couple of international students I picked up near the University of NSW, weren’t bothering to whisper, happily yabbering away. As it was an Uber Pool trip, I had another pick up on the other side of the uni. I pulled over and a pale, big bodied woman in her early thirties got in the front. After the usual greeting, I drove off. She sat in silence, something a bit intense about her. The students continued their Chinese chit chat in the back until I dropped them off. Expecting the woman to remain intensely silent, I was surprised when she piped up. “Those two have no idea about women.” I turned to her. “Oh – is that right?” She shook her head. “No. One was saying that women only like you if you’re cool. The other agreed but then said that if you had money, it didn’t matter if you were cool or not – they’d still want to be with you.” I laughed. “So you understood them?” “Yes,” she replied, “I majored in Mandarin and lived in China for four years.” Ah – fantastic. I briefly consider asking if she’s available to accompany me on more trips. But in the end, decide such a request is way too creepy.