Day Cabbie

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

A couple of junkies

I pulled up at the corner of Turk and Taylor where I had been told somebody had been waiting for a cab for a while. A couple was getting into a Luxor cab. But when they saw me, they gesticulated with the Luxor driver and then walked towards my cab. They had called my company and decided to get into the cab they had actually called. I appreciated this since it meant that I hadn't shown up for nothing. But I did feel bad for the Luxor driver. I'm sure it was frustrating for him to be flagged and then let go.

"We're going to the methadone treatment center in Bayview."

"You're on methadone, huh?"

"Yeah, we've been on this program for ten years now." The guy was talking.

"Both of you?"


"So you haven't done heroin in ten years."

"I didn't say that."


"But I haven't been in a jail for a long time."

"What were you in jail for?"

"Well, you know, you're a junkie, what do you do?"

"Steal stuff?"


"So you stole stuff."

"Yeah. Never from people though. Only from businesses."


"Big businesses. Like Macy's."

They were going to the methadone treatment center to get their "take home" methadone. Both of them were talking at the same time for most of the ride. They were talking over each other constantly, but neither of them seemed to be bothered by this.

"I'm Ron and this is Shannon."

"Nice to meet you guys."

"Do you have a card?"

"I do."

"Do you wanna do a deal where you do round-trips for like $35?"

"Sure. Just give me a call next time."

When we got to the methadone center, they had me wait outside for them. They said it would take ten minutes tops. They were right.

When they got back in the cab, Shannon was crying.

"They screwed her over," Ron said.

"They did?"

"Yeah, they wouldn't give me my take-home," Shannon sobbed.

"Why not?"

"'Get it from your MD,' they said. Your MD!" Shannon was sobbing.


"I told them I needed something for my leg because my leg has been acting all weird. But they wouldn't give it to me. They said I need a new letter first."

"A new letter, huh?"

"Yeah, from the doctor."

Ron and Shannon spent the rest of the ride back talking shit about doctors and social workers and rehab counselors. According to their perspective, none of them knew what they were doing and were constantly screwing them over. While before I had been actively engaging in conversation with them, all I could muster now was an "uh-huh" every ten or so seconds. Their conspiracy theories were exhausting to listen to, but I did think that they were both nice people. And I felt honored to meet some real-life junkies. I find addiction fascinating and have been reading books and watching movies about heroin addiction for many years. I don't want to say that it was "nice" to meet some junkies because their predicament certainly isn't nice, but it was definitely interesting, and I appreciate the experience. I would have liked to ask them lots more questions, not about their social workers but about their addiction.


At 7/19/2008 08:02:00 PM, Anonymous Kristina said...

I came across your blog via a Google news alert I receive for Methadone which led me to a reccomendation from someone who was touched about your story about the woman who couldn't get a ride to the clinic. I was touched and decided to visit your blog. I am a recovering addict and in a methadone program myself so I was curious to see other stories you might have. I was isappointed to see the title of your blogs using the term "Junkie". I realize the experience you have had with those suffering from addiction has been negative and may have skewed your opinion of us but you seem open minded so I will give you an opportunity to learn a little about our disease since you seem interestede. Also, I believe education is the key to removing the stigma that we as addicts face as well as those of us attending Methadone clinics. I am an RN who became addicted to pain pills after a motorcycle accident which damaged 9 of my vertabre. I noticed your references to Heroin so I wanted to clarify most Methadone clinics these treat more prescription addictions to Oxycontin, Vicodin, etc. than Heroin. Also, the people you picked up seemed to be abusing their program. This is not the case for most patients and standards/regulations have been put in place to prevent this type of behavior. I created a video that shows a lot of the misconceptions regarding Methadone which clinics show to new patients called Finding Normal: The truth About Methadone which I hope you will watch as well as a web site. The video is on my "Home page" at Thank You for taking the time to read this and being an open minded individual. Kristina P. Rn, BSN. Advocate & Patient

At 11/13/2008 08:36:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now that we're living in the "crack age", junkies and drunks seem almost tame by comparison!


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