Day Cabbie

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

It could be sexism but it doesn't have to be

My first customer on Friday was a butch girl who wore short hair, a baseball cap, a loose tank top, and loose, low-riding pants. She asked me how my day was going. I told her that I had just started my day but that it was going pretty good so far. She told me that I was the first female cab driver she had had in a year. I said that yes, we were a rare breed.

She asked if customers ever gave me a hard time because I was female, if I ever felt threatened. I said no but that sometimes I felt the cab company treated me differently because I was female, but that I wasn't sure. I said that that morning when I had arrived to pick up my car, there had been two other guys there. Then several other guys started arriving. I told her that every single one of those guys was assigned a car before they ever gave one to me. I said that it might be because I'm female or because I'm still new, or even because I have had a small accident, and that maybe they give preference to drivers who are completely accident-free, but that I was going to feel it out a little longer and then maybe one day I might say something.

She said "Yeah, I work at a bar and I'm the only female there. Whenever somebody gives me shit, I complain right away, and then it stops. Now the guys never give me a hard time because I deal with it right away."

She asked "Are you friends with any of the other cab drivers?"

I responded that some of them were really nice, but that the nicest one had just moved away to Georgia. And I said that I wondered about some of the other ones. It seemed that they didn't take care of themselves. Many of them had missing teeth or were limping. The girl suggested that sometimes what happens to older single men is that they have nobody to care that they don't take care of themselves, so they stop caring and don't take care of themselves.

I said "Yeah, that makes sense. But it's like, if I lose a tooth, I'm going to replace it, you know? I just don't understand how people can walk around with a tooth missing out of the middle of their face. You know?"

The girl started laughing loudly. She said that some older single men just don't care what happens to their bodies or what their bodies look like, that they literally are not aware of their bodies anymore. I thought that she truly had a better grasp and understanding of people who lose their teeth and don't replace them. I admired her for her compassion and understanding. What was wrong with me? Why did I have no patience for people with missing teeth?

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