In Why I Quit Ordering From Uber-For-Food Start-ups Robin Sloan writes about his about discomfort with this increasingly common convenience.
A harried courier extracts your meal from a fat insulated bag; you say “thank you,” close the door, and feel bad for a moment about the differences between your lives. Five stars.
I feel that, and of course I wonder how the person on the other side of the transaction feels, too. But I’m not sure that my feelings are all that relevant, in the scheme of things. It’s a huge middle-class-person luxury to merely feel guilt about one’s relative wealth, and a very reductive type of empathy.
I think it’s our responsibility as we make choices both commercial and civic — it’s just a light responsibility, don’t stress — to extrapolate forward, and ask ourselves: Is this a system I want to live inside? Is this a system fit for humans?
The trouble is, it ISN’T a light responsibility, because simply asking the question is going to be no match for the weight of sheer convenience afforded by Ubers-for-everything. By the time we realise what’s gone, there will be no turning back, although as usual, there will be a place – a market, if you will – for nostalgic return, accessible only to those well-off people who fucked everything up in the first place.
Anyway, I’ll just return to feeling helpless and guilty.