Day Cabbie

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

Running late

Another cab driver I had only met once said to me in passing at the cab company office "Hi! How are you?" I said "Good. And you?" He said "Pretty good. But I'm running late." I said "So am I!" And that was that. He was off and I was off.

My second customer that morning was a white woman. She told me she had overslept but I don't remember the circumstances or where I was taking her.

Shortly after that a black woman flagged me down at the bus stop at Market and Powell. She got in and was silent for about 30 seconds. Then she said "Damn, I overslept today!" When she noticed that I was open to discussing this with her, she smiled and told me the whole story of what had happened with her alarm that morning. "Between 6:15 and 6:45 I usually hit the snooze button four times or so, and then I get up. And this morning I hit it a few times and the last time was at 6:40. And next thing I know is me waking up at 7:20! I have no idea what happened. I don't know if I turned the alarm off completely, or if the alarm kept ringing and I didn't hear it because I was sleeping, or if I kept hitting the snooze button but I don't remember it because I was sleeping." Her smile kept getting bigger and bigger as she told this story. I said that it was hard to know something like that sometimes. "It's not like I went to bed really late last night or anything, " she continued. "I went to bed at 10." I said "You're smart. You're giving yourself enough sleep." She said "Well, I have to. I can't do my job if I'm tired." I admired her for not even thinking about compensating for lack of sleep with caffeine. She worked as a security guard.

My next customer was a young Hispanic guy who flagged me down and shyly climbed into my cab. He said with a heavy accent "Eight and Clement, please." I said "Are you running late for work too? Did you oversleep today?" It was now 7:50am. He nodded and smiled, silver blinking at me from his open mouth. I made a motion with my hand, the typical gesticulating cab driver motion I had seen other drivers make before I ever became a cab driver, and exclaimed "You're the third person in my cab today that overslept! Everybody is running late today!" And I turned around and smiled at him. He smiled too. But I wasn't positive he had understood me. I wasn't even positive that he had really overslept. I said "You have to be there at 8, huh?" He said yes. We were silent for the rest of the ride to Eighth Avenue And Clement.

Later that day, half an hour before the car I was driving was due back at the cab company, the dispatcher sent me to pick up a woman at a mechanic shop at South Van Ness and Division. She was going to the Inner Sunset. I told the dispatcher that the woman he just had me pick up was going to the Inner Sunset and that that was going to make me a few minutes late in returning my car. He grumbled but didn't object. The woman going to the Inner Sunset ended up becoming a regular customer of mine.

I returned the car about ten minutes late. It had been a good day.

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