I had the worlds chattiest Uber driver this morning. I wasn’t really in the mood, but I feel the immense burden of having to keep my rating at a perfect five stars and so I humored him.
The conversation started out mildly enough with a soliloquy about his stolen hubcaps, but then quickly escalated into how all woes were caused by the Tokolosh. Initially I thought he was referring to his woes specifically, but by the end of it, I’m pretty sure that particularly malevolent sprite has expanded his domain into all things macro-economic. I suppose its possible. We should be blaming someone. Or something. Might as well be Veld-goblins and bad ju-ju.
From there we lurched into the hot topic of the moment, Kobe Bryant. As one does. Which I thought was an interesting segue.
I should probably add at this point that I know absolutely nothing about Kobe Bryant. I mean other than through tidbits I’ve gleaned through the osmosis of living. Apparently everyone has an opinion and some sort of emotional investment in this though. Even Uber-drivers in Johannesburg.
His death made a lot of people incredibly sad. And some people gleefully happy. Both types took to twitter to express themselves. And then troll each other. Its at times like this that I will often worry about myself. Because I felt nothing. People die. That’s it. Isn’t it?
My driver was in the sad camp and I could sense he was trying to illicit some sort reaction out of me. I scrolled through the response options in my mind, but they all felt disingenuous and fake.
So instead I asked him what he thought about people ‘bad-mouthing’ the dead. For additional context I threw in Bryant’s rape allegation.
I could tell this was pure anathema to him. Although why this should be intrigued me. He didn’t know Kobe Bryant.
I remember when Christopher Hitchens died. Someone I had liked and how people came out of the woodwork to dance on his grave. Did that make me angry? I can’t remember now. Maybe. I probably thought it in bad taste. The same thing when Ronald Reagan died… I also kinda liked him. So maybe if I’d liked Kobe I’d also be disgruntled if someone were to harp on the darkness instead of the light.
The truth is I just don’t know. We all assign different weights to different aspects of peoples lives I suppose. Some ascribe more weight to a rape allegation. Others focus purely on his skill as basketball player and celebrity -paragon.
Does that make some people wrong and other people right? Is this something we should even have an opinion on? An opinion that we shout out into ether from our little soapbox pulpit?
In any event hopefully he didn’t downgrade me. I’d be upset if I lost my five star rating over a carefully crafted neutral attitude towards someones demise. I tipped him a little bit extra just to nudge me back into the good books. Ha ha. Don’t judge me… a lot of my self-esteem is wrapped up in that rating.