Uber History Becomes Uber Dating Advice: Ibrahim

Date: Friday, August 30th

Pickup: Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport

Drop-Off: 3500 St. Laurent Blvd 

*Ibrahim does not pull up to the curb. He parks in the middle of the arrivals lane, leaving behind a queue of angry cabbies and Uber drivers, the sound of which is drowned out by Burnaboy’s “On The Low” coming from the aftermarket speakers of a tattered Corolla.

Banter: Ibrahm?

Ibrahim: Yes, yes, I am Ibrahim, get in, brother.

Banter: Great. I’ll just throw my bag in the trunk, if that’s alright.

Ibrahim: Yes. It’s open. Bag can go in there.

*throws bag in trunk, enters vehicle (which, troublingly, is effusing a musky aroma of malt liquor and cannabis), honking intensifies*

Banter: Yeah, I don’t think you’re really allowed to park here…

Ibrahim: What do you say?

Banter: The cars behind us… It’s just that, I think they’re mad that you’re blocking the lane. I don’t know if we’re allowed to be parked here.

Ibrahim: Oh, yes, the cars behind. Fuck them. 

Banter: What?

Ibrahim: Fuck those people with the cars. They can fuck themselves.

Banter: Oh, aha… Okay. What?

Ibrahim: Relax, brother. Where are we going?

Banter: What?

Ibrahim: You are here for Uber, no?

Banter: Yes. Yes, I am. Uhhh… Yeah, sorry. I’m pretty sure it’s the same address that’s on the app: 3500 St. Laurent Blvd.

Ibrahim: Ahh, yes, downtown. I know this place.

Banter: Yeah, downtown, but it’s the specific address on the app… So, I guess just, like, follow the directions your phone gives you if it’s inputted already? Ahah…

Ibrahim: I got you, brother. Relax. We will go there.

Banter: Hey, so… 

Ibrahim: What?

Banter: Hey s-

*Ibrahim turns down Burnaboy, just a bit* 

Banter: Hey, so I edit a magazine, and one of the series we do is called Uber History, where we just ask our Uber drivers for a history lesson and see what they can tell us. Is it okay if I ask you a few questions?

Ibrahim: Of course, brother. You ask me anything, but if it is hard question, then I might not know. Questions are about Montreal? Because I only have been living here for, like, one or three years, but I know the city very well. It is good city. You will like it.

Banter: Yeah, it’s definitely a wonderful city. I live here too, actually. No, the questions are history questi…. Uhhh… Hey… I think this might be an 80 zone. 

Ibrahim: What?

Banter: The speed. Are we in an 80 zone right now?

Ibrahim: Oh, do not worry, brother. Yes, is 80 here, but I never get speeding ticket on this road. Relax brother. We go downtown this way. You will be there soon.

*Ibrahim had been going 160 for a while, weaving in and out of traffic, and he had already nicked multiple construction pylons. I was worried about having my face demolished by the windshield, not about a speeding ticket.*

Banter: Right, it’s just that… uhhh… Yeah, okay, so… The questions are history questions. Where did you live before Montreal?

Ibrahim: Guinea. I come to Montreal after leaving there. 

Banter: Right on. And… Can you give me a brief lesson on the history of Guinea? 

Ibrahim. You know Guinea? 

Banter: Well, yes. I know that it’s a country, but I couldn’t tell you much about it. 

Ibrahim: Ahh, yes—is country. Very hot there. It’s like Montreal in the summer, but no winter there, there’s just more summer.

Banter: Yeah, it definitely sounds hot! Do you know anything about its history?

Ibrahim: I do not know the history before I was born, really. It is very old place though, but I cannot say much about it from long time ago. 

Banter: Yeah, I bet. Uhh.. I know that there are a lot of Francophones there. It used to be a French colony, right?

Ibrahim: Yes. Okay, I do know a bit of history because I know that it was France before it was Guinea but I do not know very well. But this is why there are so many people who speak French in Guinea.

*Fact Check: Up until the end of the nineteenth century, the area that is now Guinea was ruled by a series of indigenous West African emperors, variously belonging to the Sosso Kingdom and the Mali Empire. Beginning in the late sixteenth century, a series of warring Islamic rulers came to power, including the Fulani and then the Wassoulu. In 1898, French colonial forces defeated Islamic Mansa Samori Touré, a victory which lead to the creation of French Guinea. This colony endured for the better part of a century as a state in the federation of French West African Territories. In 1958, the nation gained its independence from France as a sovereign republic. In modern times, it’s been a real messy place—a ton of corruption, a ton of poverty, and a ton of war, each variable a pernicious cause and consequence of the others. *

French colonial buildings in Conkary, Guinea

*Ibrahim’s phone rings*

Ibrahim: I take this, brother. You understand, of course.

Banter: Oh, yeah, for sure. No worries. It’s just that I think it might fuck up the directions if you take it off th—

Ibrahim: Noemy, I’m almost there, baby.

Noemy: I text you an hour ago. Where are you?

Ibrahim: I am almost there, baby. Relax.

Noemy: You’re with her right now, aren’t you?

Ibrahim: No, I’m alone, baby, I am coming to get you. Relax. I am on my way to get you, baby.

Noemy: Where are you? 

Ibrahim: I am driving on Gilford. I will get you very soon, baby. You better not leave.

*in reality, we are still going 160 on the freeway*

Noemy: You’re a fucking bum, and a fucking dog. I don’t know why I even have your number still. I am done with you.

Ibrahim: Relax. Trust me, baby. I am on my way to get you. I will be there very soon.

Noemy: When my gyal tell me, “Noemy, why do you even mess with that bum-ass-wasteman,” I did not listen. But you know what? I should have. Keep playing these games with me.

Ibrahim: Relax, baby. I will call you when I get there. Do not go out. 

Noemy: Okay, like you even will. How you fi’ do me like that? You’re waste. You fucking clown me.

Ibrahim: Relax, baby. 

*call ends*

Ibrahim: These bitches, you know?

Banter: *nervous laughter* Uhh.. yeah? Can’t live with em’, can’t live without em’!

Ibrahim: No, I do not live with her. Never let them stay in your house, brother. For one night only, or sometimes more.

Banter: Yeah, no, it’s just an expression.

Ibrahim: She lives with her sister. But she will call again, trust me brother. Sh-

Banter: Oh, yeah, I don't think we can turn here. This is a one way. You have t-

Ibrahim: Fuck. My mistake, brother.

Banter: Fuck. Yeah, okay. Shit! Ummm, okay, fuck. Try to turn in there. 

*passenger side nearly gets t-boned*

Banter: Oh, fuck. Go, go, go!

*Ibrahim leans out window*

Ibrahim: Go fuck yourself, motherfucker!

Banter: Oh, fuck. Man, you have to go now!

Ibrahim: I think it’s up there.

*we continue 50m in the wrong direction on a one way street*

Banter: Yeah, but you can’t go up here.

Ibrahim: This is St. Catherines. Oh, yes, okay, I know this place now. 

Banter: Yeah, but we need to keep going further down.

Ibrahim: Actually, she's probably here now.

Banter: She?

Ibrahim: That bitch on the phone. She call me all the time, crying about some “Oh, baby, me miss you so much. How come you never come get me?” But she will be out at the club drinking and bubbling pon’ a mans when she calls. They go to this spot round the corner.

Banter: It’s not this turn.

Ibrahim: It is right here, brother. Trust me.

Banter: I mean the drop-off, not the club.

Ibrahim: It’s right here, on the left. You see her?

Banter: Yeah, we should stay in this lane though.

Ibrahim: You see her in the line?

Banter: Your girlfriend?

Ibrahim: Yes.

Banter: I don’t know what she looks like.

Ibrahim: She is not my girlfriend anyway. She just hangs around me because she wants this real ***** dick.

Banter: Umm… Yeah. Don’t turn here. Don’t turn here. Just keeping going straight.

Ibrahim: You know what I mean?

Banter: I mean, that seems fairly self-explanatory. 

Ibrahim: That’s why they all hang around, brother. Trust me.

Banter: How many are there?

Ibrahim: Many, brother. But you cannot let them know, otherwise they no fi want you.

Banter: Let them know what?

Ibrahim: Nothing. Tell them nothing. She ask you, “Baby, how you feeling?”, you tell her “fine.” She ask you where you are, you tell her to relax. She cannot know about you. Until eventually, she finds out the hard way.

Banter: What? 

Ibrahim: If she act up, she play games, do not talk to her, do not call her. She will find out.

Banter: Turn left up there… Wait, what?

Ibrahim: She will know if you are a real rastaman, and she come after you. But you can’t let her know, brother. You have to let her find out.

Banter: What?

Ibrahim: Like a real fucking rastaman.

We’ve cut the rest of the exchange to spare our readers from what was becoming fairly egregious (and unquestionably criminal) relationship advice. It’s for the best. Trust me, brother.