Every month, the licensing board in my state puts out a list of disciplinary actions that it has doled out to MFTs, Clinical Social Workers, and other practitioners of the behavioral sciences. I read every single one of those. It’s trashy, I know. It’s amazing what people do to lose their license (or put it in peril). Reading the disciplinary actions is a good reminder to make sure I don’t do something silly, willfully or not.
Everyone loves a shit show when they’re not part of the shit show, but other peoples’ mistakes – willful or not – are for all of us to learn from.
The most common mistake I’ve read: a social worker drives drunk.
Besides being illegal, it’s criminally stupid to drive drunk. It’s not exactly forgetting to get a Release of Information, but in my California, both will result in disciplinary action.
I can somewhat understand how a person can rationalize their drive from point a to b while drunk, but no matter how short, easy, or familiar the ride is, the potential for catastrophic consequences is not worth throwing away life (yours and your victim’s), money, freedom, education, and training.. right in the dumpster.
Work Hard Play Hard
It’s important to unwind. Some people crack a book and drink tea. Others do yoga. Some exercise. Some people like to hang out with friends. And some people like to have a drink or 6 when they’re with friends. In the company of friends, it’s easy to let time pass as you think you’re okay to drive.
When you find yourself in a situation where you’re drinking, it’s important to have a designated driver, number to a taxi company, or an Uber account.
[I’m using “Uber” as a general term to describe your ride-sharing service of choice… This is the one I’m most familiar with and that I’ve used. This is not a paid post, however, clicking on links on this blog post to sign up benefits you and I because we both get a $20 credit for you signing up with my code.]
Uber is “your personal driver”. On your smartphone, you can summon somebody to come pick you up and take you from Point A to Point B. Uber currently serves the following locales.
Signing up is easy, but I recommended to do on a desktop (the app can be a little more cumbersome than it should be). You’ll provide your:
- Basic information
- Payment/Billing information
Once your account is set up, it’s as easy as downloading the app, plugging in your credentials, and telling the app to come and get you.
Pricing. I’m not quite sure what the formula is for Uber to charge you, but according to my receipt, they charge a base fee plus mileage plus time. You can always get an estimate by plugging in your starting and ending destination.
Surge Pricing. When a lot of people are requesting rides, (or when Uber decides it should raise the price for whatever reason,) rides start to cost more than the baseline amount.
Split sharing. Did you know you can split the fare of your ride? That’s right! You make social work wages, so your pals can help out with the ride if they’re with you.
Getting picked up. Uber will show you who’s coming to get you, including their name, model of car, and license plate number.
Engage in Awkward Small Talk. Some Uber drivers will engage, others are less than amenable to making small talk. Can’t go wrong with either choice.
Obey The Golden Rule. Treat other cars as yours would want to be treated.
Arrive at Destination. Get out of the car. Say thank you.
My Experience Using Uber
I have used Uber to take me to gathering with friends at their home, our bar, or restaurant. Even if I limited myself to one drink, and in spite of my BMI number being higher than my caseload count), In my state, if I am pulled over with alcohol in my system, I can get hit with a “wet reckless” which my board will still punish. Which is secondary to the risk of hurting myself or someone else. Better safe than sorry.
The first time I used Uber was a little awkward. First thing was that on 7 PM on a Saturday, I hit surge pricing, meaning that my trip was going to cost something like 1.7X the normal amount that it would… But I waited five minutes and the pricing went back to normal.
I summoned my ride, told the app my exact location, and saw a little car start driving in my direction with the Uber [U] decal on the front windshield. A young guy about my age drove up to me standing on the sidewalk. The guy was cool and the car smelled new. We made small talk and he must’ve been new because I had to give him directions as to when to turn, etc. I was wondering, do I tip? Turns out that you don’t have to. There’s a minimum fare you have to pay (I think mine was around $9) and if your trip doesn’t meet the minimum, it rounds up to the minimum.
Uber is part of the Sharing or “gig” Economy, meaning that people who own a vehicle that falls within Uber’s standards can essentially use it to taxi people around and make extra money on the side. AirBnB is another example of sharing the home that you own (or rent) to strangers for some side money while they use your pad for lodging. There have been times in my life where I’ve wanted to earn an extra buck or two outside of my main gig, out of necessity. I’m all for folks trying to make extra income to pay for their needs while providing a service to people, drunk or not. I’m also game for competition between Uber, Lyft, and Taxis with better service and pricing for consumers.
- Cover: Photo used in work by David Prasad (2011). “Night Driving to Yosemite”
- Blog Graphic 1: Photo used in work by Steven W (2009). “Pulled Over”
- Blog Graphic 2: Photo used in work by Uber.