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uber drivers faking english

offline EpicMegatrax from Greatest Hits on 2023-01-03 00:43 [#02623694]
Points: 24389 Status: Addict

if there's any talk in an uber, i pay very close attention
to first few responses, because that's when you'll learn if
they speak english [functionally] or not. if you ask, like,
"is it busy tonight?" it ranges from

1) Not a word; Fumbly panic: "Uhhh, um, I..." or going as
far as to not even reply verbally; just shaking their head
noep... and, alright, you don't speak a word, it's cool

2) Handful of phrases; good enough: "WALGREENS YES SIR" and
alright, i asked if it was busy, you've just gotten past
fumbly panic and memorized some basics and that's it you're
done, it's cool

3) Conversational, arguably, but 2/3 unintelligible, super
eager to chat, trying to buddy up and fish for tips: This is
not cool this is obnoxious

4) Talking with some Ugandan guy about weed culture there;
They make a poutice they rub on sick chickens. At this point
you're a fully functional english speaker, you actually know
if you're being annoying or not.

and thus concludes our range -- 1) starts us from nothing;
4) is basically your diploma.

tonight -- this guy was the most hardcore 2) i've ever
encountered. unlike the people who are just all "YES SIR
VERY WALGREENS TONIGHT" he would stick to short answers:
yes, no...

...but then also, like "ahhh, ok" and he's putting
intonation on these responses, that actually makes
contextual sense. finally i decide i want a smoke and to
walk the rest of the way -- nothing to do with him at all;
just my whim -- and i said as such.

here, however, it went horribly wrong. he kind of snerked
and laughed. and.. what? natively, it read as, "pppf, yeah
right, screw that, i'm not stopping here."

briefly, i get a bit freaked out, obvs. but, then it hits
me: this man doesn't speak a word of english.

sort of like how a native english speaker learns to say,
"ohhh, that's interesting!" on autopilot, he's just
memorized the tonal inflects as part of the script. i've
never seen anyone take 2) that far. wild


offline EpicMegatrax from Greatest Hits on 2023-01-03 01:47 [#02623698]
Points: 24389 Status: Addict

a #3 uber driver having a bad day can be a nightmare.

getting mad at me for being unable to understand... like,
that sentence is a dead baby fed into a blender; the only
way i can get meaning out of the carafe is with doritos --
tiny bits, a little at a time. then they're mad at because
they keep having to repeat things, so i have a chance to
dorito out enough meaning to reply topically.

instead of attempting to go into what an asshole they're
being, i usually just blame my headphones, and this has
never not worked. then if they keep it up, i put on my
headphones and wait for them to say something three times,
not listening to any of it, before tearing them off, and
saying: "...sorry, what?" then make them repeat it a few
more times. then put my headphones back on. they go off into
a pit of rage in their heads -- can see it in their driving
-- and it's quiet the rest of the way. then i give them a
one star rating and never see them again.

i gave the guy from tonight five stars. all i can say is i
suspect he's such a talented mimic that it's actually become
a handicap and given him little reason to progress on
english any further. gobsmacked how fooled he had me for how


offline EpicMegatrax from Greatest Hits on 2023-01-03 03:47 [#02623701]
Points: 24389 Status: Addict

if you want the details -- because, in one of my threads,
who doesn't? -- roughly, it was:

the app says he's in cambridge, and that he'll be there in
five minutes. i think: man, either that is wrong, or that's
some real science fiction shit, because even the men in
blackmobile in musk's hyperloop couldn't get here from
cambridge in five minutes. can your car teleport?

this is me amusing myself so i'm not frustrated: is there
car going to be here in five minutes or 25? it's there in
five. confusingly. it's dark and this is making it hard to
find the car

seeing me waiting, he flashes his lights very crisply. very
deftly timed, minimal, as he's stopping. so going in, i am
thinking: this guy knows how to drive, he has a clue at
uber, because the way he just emoted at me with his car was
some real sharpshooting there

so i get in, and begin explaining the GPS mishap: "so it
said you were in cambridge, then you popped over here,"

"oh, yeah, haha" he kind of laughs. not a hint of accent; no
clues. i presume he knows english, and continue, "some
sci-fi shit" and he dutifully chuckles.

i say, "i just wasn't sure if i should go out and wait or
not, and i don't mind waiting..." and crap, this is starting
to sound like a complaint, whoops. he says nothing.

"...really i just wanted to warn you, because that was
weird, and it might do it again." he nods and says thanks. i
put on my headphones and let him drive. his driving is very
american. 112% masshole really

some confusing one-way turn, it's faked out many uber
drivers, i'm all: "no, no, you can't go in there." he
replies "oh" and turns the proper way. retrospect, however, when i said, "no, you can't go
there," i was pointing, more or less, at a "do not enter"
sign, and i'm sure he knew that.

so he's reading the cues related to his job; pointing at
signs... but otherwise, he just knows that people make
English Warble ABC when someone does Tone Of Voice XYZ

talks worse than GPT-3 drives better th


offline EpicMegatrax from Greatest Hits on 2023-01-03 03:47 [#02623702]
Points: 24389 Status: Addict

an a tesla


offline EpicMegatrax from Greatest Hits on 2023-01-03 04:25 [#02623703]
Points: 24389 Status: Addict

knowing when it sounded like i'd just cracked a joke, and to
chuckle, and how, and how much. saying very little, but
everything said, is perfect. i can see how you could learn
to read that, blind of the language; just from tone. from
context, from how previous uber passengers reacted. be good
at reading people, be a brilliant mimic, trial and error
until you have a script down... and no one is the wiser.

until... you get someone like me who asks to do something
unusual like, "ohhh, just pull over here, i want to walk a
bit" -- that i imagine most people are like "when ~i~ take
an uber, i feel like, ~I PAID FOR THIS~ and so to just
throw $1.28 of it out the door so you can stretch and smoke
a zig;
WHO DOES THAT?" and this is a trick
tangent: you know the sort of people who talk like this, and
i'm sure he does too, in his own way. there's a definite
tone and cadence to it. that shifts with the emotional

...but, anyways, i broke his machine by getting out to walk
the last bit, because probably no one ever freaking asks for
that. he misinterpreted it as, i think, some witty or snarky
remark about the mess of a construction site we were passing
by. so his kind of "*snerk, ppf*" response -- flawlessly
rendered -- was assuming i'd said something akin to, "wow,
looks like crap, dunnit" and he's being all "yeah totally"

but instead i'm asking please stop the car, sir, i'd like a
smoke. and his response comes across as "pppf, yeah, right,
who are you to ask that"

and it totally blew the whole thing to smithereens. like i
said, i was a bit freaked at first -- isn't that clever; in
response to a potentially dangerous situation my heart rate
goes up, my brain moves faster, and -- five seconds later,
the truth hit me like a ton of bricks. then i was no longer
afraid. i was, as i said, gobsmacked

wasted talent.


offline ijonspeches from 109P/Swift-Tuttle on 2023-01-03 08:45 [#02623706]
Points: 7626 Status: Regular | Show recordbag

does it matter in terms of getting where you want?
only read the first line.


offline EpicMegatrax from Greatest Hits on 2023-01-03 09:18 [#02623707]
Points: 24389 Status: Addict | Followup to ijonspeches: #02623706

i can accommodate you here, sir. you want to simply read one
of these posts -- one of the shorter ones, even:
#02623698. i didn't get into how to give directions to
uber drivers who genuinely do not share a common language
with you, but that's another ramble. that one post is both a
real thing a proven strategy for not trucking with that

the rest of it is about: this uber driver had me flawlessly
convinced he some english quite fluently for almost 25m and
then it popped like a bubble when he made a bad pick; i was
asking him to pull over early. since i did not physically
gesture or make any sort of fuss, he thought i was making
some sarcastic remark about ugly construction and delivered
a response wrong enough to be arguably interpreted as, "you
can't tell me when to stop and let you out of the car."
because i was asking for something unusual and he parsed it
as something usual and delivered the wrong bird call. and it
has me all into thinking about the meta-layers of human
communication, below words. but if you find that boring,
well, i find it boring that you find it boring; good day sir


offline EpicMegatrax from Greatest Hits on 2023-01-03 09:25 [#02623708]
Points: 24389 Status: Addict

end of the story, boring, really. there's five seconds of
everything connecting in an adrenaline panic like the black
mirror mushroom episode, then i'm in kind of a haze,
processing, starting to write posts that are too long in my


offline EpicMegatrax from Greatest Hits on 2023-01-03 09:51 [#02623709]
Points: 24389 Status: Addict

driver greets you; there's never not information about the
driver in this. however the way a driver says good day,
goodbye, have a good one, good luck with that thing we were
talking about the whole way, or even curtly driving off
without saying a word -- given their hello, you know where
we started, and given the goodbye... the goodbye contains
information about yourself. or, rather, their perception of
you, limited as it may be. casually studying these bookends
makes you easier to get along with and more of what you

so, yes, i was lost in thot; let him just drive me to to the
dot. then, though... yes, all my lasers were on him as i'm
getting out. i know he's a good parrot, but if it'd actually
been... "you can't tell me when to pull over," the heart
rate on that goodnight wouldn't have been so deeply low and
relaxed. if you're going to attitude on someone like that,
you don't change your mind 45 seconds later. he was
responding to what he was guessing i said based on context
and tone and he had no fucking clue how hard he'd blown it.
he probably still doesn't.


offline ijonspeches from 109P/Swift-Tuttle on 2023-01-03 10:31 [#02623710]
Points: 7626 Status: Regular | Show recordbag

alright read most of it (and no pun here but i didnt
understand all of it) i can see how that can be painful and
annyoing and not getting you where you want to be.

what im wondering about now is: do they all use google maps
navigation? i thought when you call an uber its via an app
where you put in pick up and destination. so, there really
isnt anything to talk about except you know a better route
in traffic and on second note, isnt it way cheaper than a
cab? i cannot afford either btw, one to three drives are
basically what i spend for myself per month.


offline EpicMegatrax from Greatest Hits on 2023-01-03 10:39 [#02623711]
Points: 24389 Status: Addict | Followup to EpicMegatrax: #02623709

oh, charming, i just noticed.

>i know he's a good parrot

two hours before i was in a car with this man, i was having
a giggle bashing out something i wrote in my head [BECAUSE I
Flow Parrot

and life sent me a right proper flow parrot promptly. the
whole day had that feel, really. the pharmacy is out of this
and we'll switch it to that and.. is that my phone ringing?
and i'm tumbling into my equipment as i'm wondering five
mintues or 25?

seems like a positive nudge, in any case, even if i can't
really quantify it.


offline EpicMegatrax from Greatest Hits on 2023-01-03 10:44 [#02623712]
Points: 24389 Status: Addict | Followup to ijonspeches: #02623710

alright read most of it (and no pun here but i didnt
understand all of it) i can see how that can be painful and
annyoing and not getting you where you want to be.

oh, hey, no kidding -- about the first part, i mean. you
didn't understand it. this is not a thread complaining about
uber. i tangent into it in pockets; you seemed to want that,
so here you go, the one post where i'm really tearing into

the rest is sort of marveling at... did you know there
exists a language that depends on cardinal direction? that
the way you say hello literally depends on whether or not
you are facing north, south, east or west

point being, this man is operating as [arguably, one of the
better uber drivers i've had in recent weeks] treating
everyone that gets into his car as the charlie brown wuh-wuh
trumpets... but then, you get into, like, how the fuck does
this man operate like this? and you realize you're cracking
the door to a deep and intricate machine. it's very outsider


offline EpicMegatrax from Greatest Hits on 2023-01-03 10:48 [#02623713]
Points: 24389 Status: Addict

if you want something more immediately, comfortingly,
stuffingly intellectual, please go over to the "great
debate" thread and see my response about the holographic

(Cool Band Name w/ Debut Album ~ Holographic Duel -- Nerd


offline EpicMegatrax from Greatest Hits on 2023-01-03 11:12 [#02623714]
Points: 24389 Status: Addict | Followup to ijonspeches: #02623710

what im wondering about now is: do they all use google
maps navigation?

guy can at least read maps. he knows a few english words;
possibly even many. given the area, given a downtown traffic
dispute, i also suspect he would, for a brief moment, be
stunningly articulate has he told the other driver to
[boston] because he'd do that just as well of the rest of
it. perhaps the man runs TempleOS. religion could have
something to do with that level of isolation

did u noe? i drove for uber for a while. so: they have
choice of a few GPS fings. many operators rock both the
car's built-in GPS along w/the rideshare app's GPS. but then
you're not _obligated_ to use the rideshare's GPS; some like
waze or whatnot. so then some people use two phones to run
both rideshare GPS and waze, and we keep going up until we
get up to the neurotic boffin whose doctor is like, "based
on your body shape, i'd not make any long-term plans" who
has three phones and a tablet. dashboard cam. camera
recording me. i used the digital mirror to perfect shots of
myself picking my nose.


offline EpicMegatrax from Greatest Hits on 2023-01-03 11:19 [#02623715]
Points: 24389 Status: Addict | Followup to ijonspeches: #02623710

so, there really isnt anything to talk about except you
know a better route in traffic and on second note, isnt it
way cheaper than a cab? i cannot afford either btw, one to
three drives are basically what i spend for myself per

true fact: it utterly blew my mind that people do not have
clothes dryers in europe. like... are you joking? you're
kidding, right?

my next response: we're sitting on a gold mine, here. you
have to try these things

and i'm still right about that, on some levels -- shit,
guys... you have to try these things -- but then finally i
was enough of a pain that i got real answers about how all
the buildings are made of concrete and it's a nightmare to
vent a dryer and get them up 60 floors and then energy costs
and people just seem to appreciate leaving things flapping
outdoors for eight times as long to gather pollen and
whatever pollutants are on tap. but that's just me

so, maybe this is just you, sir. boston's road map goes back
hundreds of years. designed for horses, then add on some
carriage roads, and by the time cars need roads, it's
already fucked to shit, cobblestone, one way. then you get
out to the suburbs and all that shit was designed 40 years
ago for about 1/5 the capacity.

so, me? fuck yes, i need to talk to the uber driver. because
no GPS ever says, "you need to be in the left lane because
people won't let you into it in time, then you need to use
the middle turn lane that's shared between traffic in both
directions, yes, there, where that gigantic pickup is
heading dead at us, point us right at the grill, and then
it's the place with the blue... no the other..."

if you miss that turn it's literally 15 minutes in traffic.
i. am. not. kidding


offline mermaidman on 2023-01-03 12:40 [#02623716]
Points: 8028 Status: Regular

you ask if it’s busy and the dude isn’t allowed to


offline mermaidman on 2023-01-03 12:41 [#02623717]
Points: 8028 Status: Regular | Followup to ijonspeches: #02623706

i read more than that half of first post


offline EpicMegatrax from Greatest Hits on 2023-01-03 13:14 [#02623718]
Points: 24389 Status: Addict

there was some random bit on NPR where a linguist man was
talking about his favorite vocal quirks -- which come and go
like trends -- was: adding "uh" onto the end of things. his
explanation was boring and mine will actually be shorter.

that it needs to be a little dramatic to start, at least.

so we start with

come-onnnnn ~ which is a widely shared thing in early
teens, then boys ditch it and men keep it

and it is mostly women, late teens, early 20s who


...and it's funny, i always kind of took that for granted.
like, stahp. QUITTIT!~ etc

once i sat down and tried to count the number of riffs on
"oh my god" i could come up with, and i quickly lost count.
like. oh. mygawd


offline EpicMegatrax from Greatest Hits on 2023-01-03 13:19 [#02623719]
Points: 24389 Status: Addict

w/rt omg ~ i was essentially trying to create a sample
playlist in my head before, i suppose. perhaps it's best not
to try and catalog them like bugs. instead, do they share an
underlying structure? common routes and conceits in
intonation that can be structured into a tree

sounds like a good laugh. i'll keep thinking about it


offline ijonspeches from 109P/Swift-Tuttle on 2023-01-03 18:48 [#02623723]
Points: 7626 Status: Regular | Followup to EpicMegatrax: #02623715 | Show recordbag

^^ dryers, yeah thats differences in our
area/markets/culture :)
imho they truly are a waste. well, some places where you
cant vent properly or have low temperatures at all times, i
guess i wouldnt wanna live without one. luckily i dont live
in a place like that, it would make me go crazy in many
ways. and im not allergic, but not avoiding pollen helps to
keep it that way. i dont mind waiting a day in winter or 1-2
hours in summer til the clothes are dry, its not like i have
to watch it in the meantime. unless you need to hide a crime
of course, i hate to ask this: but, are you a criminal?!

some towns are shit traffic and parking wise and i
appreciate you´re not owning a car. you think using a
public transport might be better at some times?
anyway hope youre staying sane and safe in traffic man.


offline EpicMegatrax from Greatest Hits on 2023-01-04 22:57 [#02623756]
Points: 24389 Status: Addict

so the thousand shades of "oh my god" thing

when two women of a certain stripe who haven't seen each
other in a while ~ ohmyGAWWD ~ you start at the root
(oh), go up 3 semitones (my) and then jump to an octave
above the root note (the rest, articulated) ~ starts low,
little jump of 3 semitones to give the octave jump more
weight. major feel

when a gal can't fucking believe this shit ~ [valley girl]
oh. mygawd. ~ [other] oh. my. gawd. ~ kind of like... oh
(start note) my (up 1 semitone from start note) gawd (down
five semis from start note) ~ the "oh" kind of like "oh, ew,
look at that" and then the rest is, like, here's how to
react now that you're looking at the that. minor kind of

i could keep going. i am, in my hed

i am figuring maybe it could be a rosetta stone of sorts for
me, if i keep going. or possibly just a good track. or hell
at least i'll amuse myself


offline EpicMegatrax from Greatest Hits on 2023-01-04 23:00 [#02623757]
Points: 24389 Status: Addict

it's not just notes, obvs -- there's timing and inflection.
transcribing it into stylized word processor copy made more
intuitive sense to me than anything else. because... it does
come back out the other end. that i'll think: right, i need
to play the keys italic here


offline ijonspeches from 109P/Swift-Tuttle on 2023-01-05 09:40 [#02623764]
Points: 7626 Status: Regular | Followup to EpicMegatrax: #02623757 | Show recordbag

maybe we could get the site to have a liner notes background
and write in melodic text. it could make people understand


offline EpicMegatrax from Greatest Hits on 2023-01-10 03:12 [#02624037]
Points: 24389 Status: Addict


i was just messing around with my gear and... oh, lol, i've
wandered into it. so i kept going. just a toe in the water
really. a test, a basic version, then oh my god [a flying
saucer] and will keep going but now want to have a walk and
listen to em


offline EpicMegatrax from Greatest Hits on 2023-01-11 18:20 [#02624073]
Points: 24389 Status: Addict

yeah, okay, third one, flying saucer, listen to that. two
days later, this is quite solid.

the three tracks there, first one, just recorded a bit in
case the gear stopped cooperating. second, recorded a basic
track. third, i've stretched it into this 50's sci-fi
theremin thing, all the moves warmed up, firing on all
cylinders. moog bass going ohMygod throughout, articulate in
a building way throughout. made it properly talk a little at
the end. the moog is also responsible for that lovely
exciting spark of noise in between the two bent tom-toms and
unmuting the 808, which constitutes The Drop


offline EpicMegatrax from Greatest Hits on 2023-01-11 18:22 [#02624074]
Points: 24389 Status: Addict

also, sh101, left channel, just building some tension, then,
giggle, i'm doing 50's scifi? i can just mash the mod to
pitch and do the 50's computer thing, the saucer getting
right up in ur face. oh my god


offline EpicMegatrax from Greatest Hits on 2023-01-11 18:43 [#02624075]
Points: 24389 Status: Addict

there's also something very El-P about flying saucer. like
i stole something from cancer for cure, it feels like. but
maybe it's not anything direct and just a bit of him coming
back out of me, then i'm listening to it and wondering what
i stole


offline EpicMegatrax from Greatest Hits on 2023-01-11 18:59 [#02624076]
Points: 24389 Status: Addict

drones over brooklyn probably.


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