Day Cabbie

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

Another junkie

He was standing at the corner of 9th and Market. I was about to make a left on Market when I saw him waving at me. I hesitated for a moment because he looked like a homeless person. I asked myself "Where does a homeless person get the money for a cab?" But I decided that clearly he wouldn't be hailing a cab if he didn't have the money to pay for it. So I picked him up.

He said "Thank you so much for stopping." People always say that when they have been waiting for a while. I was sure that he had been passed up by quite a few empty cabs.

"I'm going to 25th and York."


"You could have made a left there." We were going west on Market at 11th Street.

"No, I couldn't. There are no left turns off of Market until Valencia."

"Okay, that's fine, sweetie. Do what you have to. I've got money today."

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah, I sold a lot of payments today."


"Yeah. Paynments."



"What are painments?"

"No. Pain. Meds."

"Ahhhh. Pain medication."

"Yeah. I sold $200 worth today."

"Where do you get them from?"

"I have a prescription. But I don't sell them to drug addicts. That's my rule."


"Blah blah blah methadone."

"You're on methadone?"

"Yeah. I'm on a treatment program."

"How long have you been on it?"

"About two years."

"And how long had you been addicted to heroin?"

"Oh. A long time."

"Since you were a teenager?"

"Pretty much. I was having a really hard time. I was diagnosed as mentally ill when I was 9 years old."

"What kind of mental illness?"

"I don't know. But when I was 13, I was diagnosed as a psychopath. And ever since then, nobody has let me do anything."

"You were diagnosed as a psychopath? Wow."

"Yeah, isn't that horrible? I was only 13 and they told me I was a psychopath."

"That is horrible."

"They put me in the military to do experiments on me in the 70's."

"Really? What kind of experiments?"

"Experiments with medication."


"Blah blah blah HIV positive."

"You're a HIV positive?"

"I have full-blown AIDS, honey."

"Oh. Did you get it from sharing needles?"

"No. I was raped once."

"In the military?"


He had me stop at Rose, a liquor store on Potrero, so he could "pay his phone bill." He gave me a $20 before he left the cab. I waited in the cab. At one point I looked inside the liquor store and saw my passenger in front of the cash register, bowing with hands clasped and thanking somebody.

When I dropped him off at 25th and York, it was raining. He said "Thanks so much, sweetie. Have a good day now, okay?" I saw what was left of his teeth, and it looked like they were being eaten by his gums.


At 11/29/2006 12:19:00 AM, Anonymous Catherine said...

Do you drive at night? You have interesting stories -- keep 'em coming.

At 11/29/2006 06:43:00 PM, Blogger Vera said...

I drive during the day only.


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