Day Cabbie

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

Being the passenger

On Friday night I slipped out of 1015 around 3am. My black hood was on my head and my dark green coat was draped over my shoulders like a cape. I was feeling dark and I liked it. I squatted down against the wall and dialed the number of Santos, my best cabbie buddy. Unfortunately he wasn't driving.

A DeSoto van pulled up in front of 1015 and I slipped in. I said to the driver "You will not believe what I am about to tell you." He said "Oh yeah? What is it?" "I'm a DeSoto driver too." I think I need to get over myself. It's not that extraordinary that I'm a taxi driver but that I also go to clubs in platform boots on the weekends. Or maybe I don't need to get over myself. The last thing a cab driver probably expects a girl getting into his cab in the middle of the night to say is "Hey, I drive a taxi too." I do think I am very special, oh yes.

This guy had only been driving for a week. He had me give him directions to my house.

I told him that I had been at the Chinese New Year's party at 1015. I told him that it was the Year of the Pig now. I also told him that we just ended the Year of the Dog. I said "Ha! Dog! And Pig! Now wonder I have been meeting nothing but dogs and pigs." He said "All the guys you have been meeting are dogs and pigs? Is that what you're saying?"

"Yeah, that's what I'm saying."**

"So the right guy for you - what does he have to have?"

"Mmmmm, he has to wear make-up."

"Make-up? Like in the bedroom?"

"When he goes out."

"Oh my."

"He has to be skinny. He has to be psychic. And he has to looooove talking about feelings."

"I don't wear make-up, so I guess I'm not your guy."


"But that doesn't mean I'm a bad guy; it just means I'm not the right guy."

"Right. The right guy is out there somewhere; I can already feel him. He is looking for me too. We just haven't met yet."

** I didn't actually mean that.

Costume Cabbie: Valentine's Day

Costume Cabbie: Valentine's Day
Originally uploaded by Verabug.

My friend Philo called me around 2:30pm on Valentine's Day and said "Are you spreading Valentine's cheer?" I said "Yes! I am!"

This is what I looked like when I drove a taxi on Valentine's Day. I played a special Valentine's Day mix CD all day long. This was the soundtrack:

The Beatles - All You Need is Love
New Order - World
Justin Timberlake - My Love
Madonna - Justify My Love
Nada Surf - Always Love
Joy Divison - Love Will Tear Us Apart
Sisters of Mercy - Temple of Love
The Cure - Lovesong
Ulrich Schnauss - Crazy For You
Stacey Q - Two of Hearts
Blümchen - Herz am Herz
Lamb - Gorecki
New Order - Someone Like You
Risto - Nina, olen palasina
Björk - Joga
Blur - You're So Great
The Cure - Friday I'm In Love

My favorite passenger that day was this guy I picked up Market and Castro. He got in my cab and said "I love your wig. You totally just made my day. I feel so much better already." He then told me that my outfit reminded him of the 80's when he used to be a club kid in New York City. He said he used to dress like that all the time in the 80's and that it was so fun and that he hadn't thought about those times in a while. And then Two of Hearts from Stacey Q played on my CD, and he said that he used to dance to that song at all the gay clubs in New York City. He also told me that he had been HIV-positive for 20 years.

Singing experiment

My good friend Philo, also a cab driver, and I made a promise to each other recently that we would both sing along to a song while a passenger was with us, preferably a stiff businessman.

Well, the person I sang along with was not a stiff businessman. I feel like I kind of took the easy way out by picking a short, unintimidating guy who didn't speak English very well as my sing-along passenger. But nevertheless, I picked him and I sang along to the song The Perfect Kiss by New Order while he was in my cab. I didn't sing at the top of my lungs but I did sing so that he could hear me. I know he heard me. And I think he liked it because he called me again for another ride later that day.

New apron!

New apron!
Originally uploaded by Verabug.
My friend and fellow girl cab driver Susan made me this baby blue apron! I absolutely love it. It's for keeping money in and for looking cute.

Also, check out my Fuck taffeta shirt. I absolutely love that too. It fits so well. And what amuses me is that
1) I don't even know what taffeta is.
2) I certainly don't know how to pronounce it.

But hey, fuck it!

The news show guys

One of them was wearing the ear piece of a headset. We were going to the airport.

"Are you guys from California?"

"No, Colorado."

"Are you allowed to talk on your cell phone while driving there?"


"I just found out today that starting next year, it will be against the law here. You'll have to wear a headset. My parents will be very happy. They live in Germany and it's against the law there. And I call them from my cell phone while driving all the time. And they always ask me 'Are you allowed to do that?' They ask me that every single time."

"Do you go back to Germany much?"

"About once a year."

"We work for a television news show, and I did a story in Germany once, about an airforce base closing down."

"Ah. So you work for a local news show in Colorado?"

"No, it's a national show, on PBS."

"Do you get recognized a lot?"

"No. We don't have a large audience. Only about four million."

"Do you like getting recognized?"

"Not really."

"Have you ever done a story about anything related to taxi driving?"

"Yeah, a long time ago. It was about a cab driver in Denver who had Christmas lights strung along the inside of his cab and serenaded all his passengers while driving."


"It was about 25 years ago."

"You know, I want someone to do a story about me too. I have been wearing costumes."

"Maybe you need to start serenading people if you want to be on TV."


"So do you always wear this blue costume?"

"No, I wear a different costume every day. Like, last Friday, I wore a goth costume."

"There was a story recently about a woman in Palo Alto who works as a programmer. And she comes to work in full goth attire every day, and even her cubicle is decorated in all goth."

"Well, if a goth cubicle worker can be on TV, then so can a costume-wearing cabbie, no?"

"I suppose so. Unfortunately we don't have our crew with us, so we can't start filming you."

"Maybe next time then."

Costume Cabbie: All turquoise

Costume Cabbie: All turquoise
Originally uploaded by Verabug.
This was today's costume cabbie outfit. After getting coffee, I crossed Valencia Street to get back in my cab. A woman driving on Valencia Street stopped and said "Do you have hair to match every outfit?" And I said yep and laughed, and she laughed too and kept driving. A DHL delivery truck guy had witnessed the scene and smirked at me. When he saw me get back in my blue DeSoto cab, he said "You even match the cab!"

Later in the day I was driving a big family from Pasadena from Blowfish Sushi to the Fairmont Hotel. Two of the family members were twin boys. I think they were probably about 12 years old. One of them said "Your hair-do is really cool." I said "Thanks." He said "What does your hair look like underneath?" I said "It's black with a little bit of blue. I'll show you." I pulled off my wig to show him. Then I said "Are you guys twins?" "No, we are cousins," they joked. I said "Well, I thought one of you guys looked a little bit taller." "Yeah, but which ones of us is sexier?" one of the boys asked. He was totally flirting with me. He was TWELVE.

Psychic Valentines

My Moo MiniCards arrived!
Originally uploaded by Verabug.
Today I gave out some personalized Psychic Valentines to my taxi passengers. Some of them just received a generic one that said

TO: [their name]
FROM: Vera
BECAUSE: You were in my cab today!

But there were a few passengers who received a special message because they were special.

The first one was my regular passenger Tony, who calls me every Sunday for his early Monday morning ride to the airport. This is what his Psychic Valentine said:

TO: Tony
FROM: Vera
BECAUSE: You call every week!

Then there was Deborah-Jean. She got into my cab and said

"This is kind of a weird request. I don't normally ask cab drivers to do this but.. I haven't had any coffee yet this morning. Would you mind stopping somewhere so I can get coffee? I don't even care where."

"Sure, no problem at all."

"Is there something on the way?"

"Oh yeah, lots of places. How about Ritual on Valencia? That's kind of on the way. Have you ever been there?"

"Yeah, a long time ago. Sure, that's great."

"I just had coffee from there earlier."

"Another great place is Philz. You should go there sometime. He makes them one cup at a time."

"Oh yeah, I've been to Philz. I love that place. Do you want to go there instead? It's kind of on the way too."

"No, Ritual is great."

When I stopped in front of Ritual, she asked me if I wanted a refill. I said no thanks. When she came back out, she handed me a small paper bag. She said "I got you some zucchini bread."

This is what her Psychic Valentine said:

TO: Deborah-Jean
FROM: Vera
BECAUSE: You have great taste in coffee!

Finally, there was Damon. He asked me what had brought me to San Francisco. I said

"A relationship. We were living in Virginia and really wanted to move back to Los Angeles. But that didn't work out. We ended up moving here, and now I am so happy to be here and not in Los Angeles. Sometimes life knows what you need better than you do. If it had been up to me, we would have moved back to Los Angeles, but luckily life had me move here."

"Yeah, sometimes when things don't work out, there is a good reason for that."

"I'm so glad you just said that! I recently had a relationship that didn't work out and it really bugs me. But I just have to remember that there is probably a very good reason it didn't work out, and I will eventually find out what it is."

A little later I told him that in the fall I want to convert my studio apartment into an open studio to show my art. I said

"I don't know why I didn't think to do that last year. I should have."

"You were probably in a relationship then, huh?"

"Ha! You are good. You are getting at all my stuff."

This is what his Psychic Valentine said:

TO: Damon
FROM: Vera
BECAUSE: You said all the right things!

Costume Cabbie: Goth chick

Costume Cabbie: Goth chick
Originally uploaded by Verabug.
I pouted all day and listened to The Cure in my taxi. Nobody commented, except when I was about to take this toothless guy who I think was a little bit crazy and who kept saying "Is it gonna be safe? Promise?", and this guy on Chestnut Street said to him "I think this is about the best cab in the city you could have." I think he said that because I am female, friendly and not ugly. Just a hunch.