Day Cabbie

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

You think you know how open-minded you are, until you are confronted

It was one of those weird early mornings where all your fares are leftovers from last night, rather than brought in fresh for today. By that I mean that I had slept whereas they hadn't.

Around 6:30am I picked up a guy at 16th and Mission. He was a fast-talker with a lot of energy, possibly on amphetamines. He offered me some food from the paper bag he was carrying. I assumed it was from McDonald's since there is one at 16th and Mission. I said no thanks.

We had to pick up his friend, who he told me was really cute, at Guerrero and 14th before traveling on to Twin Peaks. After we picked up his cute friend, the fast talker offered me a soda. He said that it was either Dr. Pepper or Coke. I like Dr. Pepper so I accepted it. After taking a few sips I was pretty sure that it was Dr. Pepper.

They talked amongst themselves. I found out that the fast talker was 44, and his cute friend was 37. I also found out that they were both HIV positive.

And that's when I freaked out. Omg, the soda! I thought. He gave me a soda, and I am drinking it. Can I get HIV from that?

Of course not, I thought, I cannot get HIV from drinking a soda that an HIV-positive person has touched.

I asked myself whether there was any way the soda I was drinking had been in contact with any of the fast talker's body fluids. I was pretty sure that there wasn't. It was in a paper cup with a lid on it, and he had handed me a wrapped straw. I had been the one to unwrap the straw. I was also pretty sure that even in the rare case that one of his body fluids had touched the soda, I still couldn't get infected. Unless I was inserting the body fluid soda mix into my vagina. Or something! I just wasn't sure!

My heart was pounding. I thought about getting tested for HIV at my earliest opportunity. Had anybody ever contracted HIV without having sex with an HIV-positive person or receiving HIV-positive blood intravenously? People like that probably existed. But I was pretty sure that nobody had ever contracted HIV by drinking a soda gifted by an HIV-positive person.

After I dropped them off in Twin Peaks, I dropped off the remaining soda at the nearest trash bin. I felt safter, but I also felt incredibly ashamed and foolish. I knew that throwing the soda in the trash was silly and unnecessary, but I also knew that I wanted a 0% risk of contracting HIV.

In hindsight, judgmental isn't the right word to describe how I feel. Ignorant is probably more accurate.


At 1/29/2008 02:38:00 AM, Blogger Paradise Driver said...

Isn't it amazing how irrational fears can overwhelm logic?

I would have tossed the soda also. Actually, I wouldn't have accepted it in the first place.

At 2/04/2008 02:06:00 PM, Anonymous lauren said...

I would have thrown it away, too.

You would only have been judgemental or ignorant if you'd made an unfair assertion that the two men were HIV-positive, but since they told you (or spoke openly about it), there's no shame in feeling fear about contracting an incurable disease!

Wow, what a long-winded way to say that I agree :)

I've just discovered your blog and it's one of my most favourite ones.. I'm from Dublin, Ireland and I wish we had taxi drivers like you here! :D


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