Day Cabbie

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

At the risk of sounding like The Bitch, I will call him The Asshole

It was an obscure street, somewhere in the foothills of Twin Peaks. I had never heard of this street, much less been on it.

I arrived a little bit early. When I pulled up in front of the address, I saw somebody through the window. Cool, I thought. They can see me. They know their cab is here.

I waited for about a minute but nobody came out. I was only mildly annoyed by this. I was early after all.

I got out of the cab and knocked on the door. The Asshole opened the door, chewing and holding a plate of spaghetti.

"Did you call a cab?"

"Green Cab?"


"I'll be out in a sec."

You better, I thought. And you better not finish that plate of spaghetti before you come out.

As I got back into the cab, a Yellow Cab tried to squeeze by me on the narrow road. He slowed down to almost a stop and looked at me suspiciously.

The Asshole came out shortly thereafter. I don't think he had finished the spaghetti. I heard him have a conversation with the Yellow Cab driver. I didn't hear the words that were exchanged, but as he got into my cab, I heard The Asshole dismissively say "Sorry!"

"Did you call two cabs?" I asked.

"Me? No."

"Was that driver here for 112 Teslin*?"

"That's my address."

"What did the driver say to you?"

"He asked if I called two cabs but I didn't."

I knew he was lying. He had so called two cabs. He had called Green Cab and he had Yellow Cab, and he didn't want to admit it. But I could see right through him.

He had to go to Chestnut and Sansome. I didn't talk to him for the whole ride because I was mad, less for calling two cabs but for lying about it. Our eyes met in the rear view mirror once, on Larkin near Eddy, and at that moment I knew that he knew that I knew he was lying. Liar.

When we got to his destination, the meter was at $16.60.

"Here you go." He handed me a twenty.

"Thanks," I said. Then, after a beat: "Do you need any change?"

"Uh. Yeah. Give me a buck."

After he left my cab, I kept shaking with disgust that The Asshole had asked for one dollar back. That's just petty. To me, it put the icing on The Asshole. But maybe I was just mad at myself for asking if he needed change. I think he had originally intended for me to keep the change, but since I asked, he decided to take a dollar. I don't always want to assume that all the change is for me, so I ask. In this case though, I wish I had assumed.

I got on the phone to the dispatcher.

"That 112 Teslin*? He called two cabs."

"Really? Did you get him though?"

"Yes, I got him, but he called Yellow too."

"Okay. I'm putting him on our blacklist."

"Thank you."

*Address made up to protect The Asshole.

When a lawyer makes your day

This wasn't the first time that a surprisingly humorous 30-something male lawyer has made my day via a really enjoyable conversation.

Today's specimen flagged me down at Castro and Market. He asked me if 2180 Montgomery was an address. I said that Montgomery was a street but that its numbers only went up to about 900. He called somebody and asked them to get back to him about where he was supposed to be going for "the deposition". Then he hung up.

"So you don't know where you're going--"

"180 Montgomery. Let's try that."


"I went all the way over here to Market and Castro because I thought the meeting was supposed to be here. And now I have to go all the way back. Isn't that annoying?"

"I don't know. I think it's kind of nice. You get to take a break."

"That's an interesting way of looking at things."

"Even if you don't get to do anything fun, at least you get to take a break from sitting at a desk or pushing papers or whatever else you do. I mean, I'm sure you do lots of other things than that..."

He nodded. Then he said "Well, mostly I do a lot of sitting at a desk, and pushing papers, and pulling papers." When he said the p's of the pushing and pulling, he pursed his lips as if he was doing a comedy routine. It made me laugh.

Then he said "I hope 180 Montgomery is right. If not, I might have to have you turn around and take me somewhere else."

"That's okay. I've got nothing better to do."

"Okay. That's an interesting way of looking at things."

"Well, I'm here to drive people around. So I'll take you wherever you want to go." He seemed very pleased with this.

After a while he asked me the dreaded question.

"So where are you from?"

"Germany." I looked at him in the rear view mirror and braced myself for the follow-up questions and anecdotes. Where in Germany? How long have you been here? I've been to Heidelberg. My uncle has been to Munich.

But he didn't give me any such bullshit. Maybe it's because he is Jewish, but all he did was give me one of those lips-pressed-together-tightly smile and an attempted approving nod. I wanted to hug him.

He did end up having a Germany conversation follow-up a few minutes later though: "Merkel. That's who is in charge there right now, right?"

"Yes," I laughed. I can deal with a Merkel comment. I hadn't gotten that one before. I like it when people surprise me.

I asked him where he was from. He said New York, New York. I told him that I had always been jealous of people who grew up in big cities. I felt like they had more street smarts, knew more about how the world works, had some kind of advantage over me.

"Yeah, but look at you now. Footloose and carefree in San Francisco." That made me laugh again.

I dropped him off at Montgomery and Bush and was sad that our conversation had to end. I think mostly what I liked about him was his ability to make me feel special. Saying "That's an interesting way of looking at things" twice will do that.