I got into an Uber recently, and the driver had an air freshener hanging from the rear-view window. It was shaped like a tree but labelled “black ice.” I’d seen these before in my Uber adventures and couldn’t detect the smell but wondered:
What is black ice supposed to smell like? Danger?
This prompted the obvious question: why would an Uber driver want the car to smell like danger? I had been mildly wondering this for some time without really thinking about it. But this time, the fellow had two of them dangling there, and now, I could really smell it. Really really smell it. It smells like men’s cologne.
Two of these in a confined space smells exactly like you are in a barbershop having aftershave slapped directly on your face for the entire length of the Uber drive, which in this case was about twenty minutes.
I emerged from the car gasping for breath.
The driver clearly didn’t speak a word of English, but even if he had, I wouldn’t have complained. I figure: it’s your car, scent it how you want. Maybe he ate very farty food and the smell of cologne was the only thing that neutralized it. It’s funny, because I recently complained at a restaurant when something that was clearly advertised as a meal turned out to be a tiny appetizer. Boy, was I cheesed off! But my Karen-ing tendencies do not apparently extend to complaining about olfactory torture.
I just shrugged about the black ice and walked away, thinking it was funny.
The difference between the two offenses, I guess, was that I believed the restaurant had deliberately mislead the consumer, whereas the Uber driver simply had different taste than me, which I consider everyone’s right. Interestingly, in discussions with friends, I found some of them found the black ice incident outrageous but would not have reacted to the restaurant thing. A psychologist could probably write a thesis on what this means about the deep inner mind of humanity, but I’ll just warn you: steer clear of black ice! and leave it at that.