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."

"Okay."

"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."

"Payments?"

"Yeah. Paynments."

"Paynments?"

"Painments."

"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?"

"No."

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.

2 Comments:

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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