Day Cabbie

San Francisco taxi stories from one of the very rare female drivers


I was dispatched to an address in the Tenderloin. Approaching the building I got a little bit nervous. There were guys sitting on the steps in front of the building next door. I don't know why but whenever I see guys sitting on steps in front of a building that does not look like a place where they work, I assume that they are recovering drug addicts. So I thought the guys were recovering drug addicts. I was afraid that the person I was about to pick up was a recovering drug addict that had relapsed and that was going to try to steal my money. These are my assumptions and prejudices, and I am not proud of them but I do have them.

A short woman with black hair came out of the building and got into my cab. She said hi and smiled. She had an accent. She said "19th and Geary, please." When I heard 19th, I immediately thought of 19th Street, but then I said "19th Avenue and Geary?" and she confirmed.

I don't remember how we started talking but somehow we did. She was telling me about her studio apartment in which she lived with her husband. She was very friendly and smiled a lot. I asked her what the place next door to her building was, the one that the guys were sitting in front of? She said it was a coffee shop. I said ahhhh. At some point I asked her where she was from. Even though she could have been South or Central American, I didn't think she was. She said "I'm from Fiji," putting extra emphasis on the word Fiji. I said "Fiji?" She said "Yes, do you know where that is?" I said "Yeah, it's an island, right?" She said yes. I said that it was a popular destination for honeymoons and such. She said yes yes. I wanted to say that I heard that Fiji was very beautiful, so why did she leave? But I had already made a lot of assumptions earlier and didn't want to make another assumption that just because a place is beautiful, it's also the perfect place to live. After all, a lot of people think that Germany is beautiful, and I left that place ten years ago.

I asked her which language she grew up speaking. She said she grew up with Fijian and English. I said "Fiji?" She said "Fijian." I said "Fijian?" She said yes. I asked her what kind of language it was, if it was related to any other languages. She said that it was kind of similar to Hawaiian. Then I asked her if people asked her the same questions that I was asking her all the time and she said "Yes, all the time." God knows people ask me the same questions when they find out where I'm from. At that point her husband called her on her cell phone and I actually got to hear what Fijian sounds like.

After she hung up, she said to me "Do you know Nick Lashay?" I said "Nick Lashay?" She said "Yeah, Nick Lashay. Do you know him?" I said "No, I don't think I do." She said "You know, the singer that used to be with Jessica Simpson?" I said "Oh, you mean Nick Lachey. Yes, I do know him." She said that she used to work at this resort in Fiji and Nick Lachey came to visit once. She said he was taking some surfing lessons but then he stopped because he was afraid of sharks. I said "Nick Lachey was afraid of sharks?" She said yes and started giggling. I started giggling too and said that she should have called up some tabloids and told them that story and the tabloids could have written about how Nick Lachey was afraid of sharks. She and I both started cracking up.

A few blocks later, she got out at 19th and Geary. She smiled and said "Nice talking to you." I said "Yeah, you too." It really was. Fiji.


At 8/21/2006 05:07:00 PM, Blogger laminar_flow said...

Tenderloin your normal route?


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