Day Cabbie

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

Another memorable Memorial Day

I love driving on holidays. As a day driver, I rarely have to deal with drunk humans, for which I am thankful as a rule, but it's entertaining to entertain drunk humans once in a while. That's why, for the second year in a row, I kept going to the End Up on Memorial Day morning because most of the humans there were intoxicated and had been up all night.

It's so interesting to be a sober, well-rested observer of the party scene. I can sometimes be found partying and being intoxicated myself--though rarely at 8 in the morning. Seeing the humans pile out of the club, I wondered if, when intoxicated, I, too, am that sloppy, talk that loudly, have such lumbersome motor skills. I cringingly admitted to myself that the answer was probably yes, though I told myself arrogantly that I did it with better style than "these people."

Yes, I was having a judgmental morning. With every other human that exited the club, I thought "Oh, I hope I don't get them in my cab." It didn't help that a very haggard-looking guy in pinkish sweatpants was milling about outside, who kept getting into altercations and mini chases with the doormen and who had now pulled down his sweatpants and was whirling around his penis at the doormen. I guess that's how he expressed his contempt.

I was lucky in that all the fares I ended up with were, in my estimation, respectable intoxicated beings and didn't make me too uneasy: a guy with an Eastern European accent who didn't talk at all, a girl who recounted her entire night to a friend on the phone, three Thai kids on Ecstasy who asked me how old I was and told me that I was "so cool." Then there was the guy with whom I had a conversation abut the very thing I had been contemplating all morning: being the critical sober observer. He had been there himself, even if this morning he was neither observing nor sober.

Around 11 I had my first non-End Up fare, and that marked the end of the intoxicated humans and the beginning of the humans just going about their holiday. When I was sitting and knitting at the taxi stand at the Marriott, two guys who were cute in a geeky way and reminded me of Harold and Kumar stood outside my window and stared at me with curiosity. I rolled down the window and said "Yes?" I wasn't next in line yet, hence the hesitation. "Can you take us somewhere?" Looking at the three cabs in line in front of me, I said sure, justifying it with the fact that they had chosen me as their Memorial Day cab driver, and who was I to deny two cute geeky boys their Memorial Day wish?

"So what are you knitting?" one of them asked as they slid into the backseat. I folded the knitted rectangle around my hand and said "Fingerless gloves. See?" "Ah."

Later, at Gough and Market, a beggar stood on the corner with a cardboard sign. His long hair and Native American looks tugged at my heart. I rolled down the window. He, sensing motion in his peripheral vision, looked my way and then walked over to collect the dollar bill I was holding up. He thanked me, blessed me and smiled, exposing a swollen lower lip. When he was back at his corner and after I had rolled up my window, we glanced at each other one more time, both smiled shyly and quickly looked away again. Now that was a memorable moment.


At 6/04/2008 09:52:00 AM, Anonymous Teff said...

Sounds like quite the eventful day. That was really nice of you to give that man some money. Some people just get angry and start yelling at them, I hate that. We were at Superstore and this man just starts yelling at this poor guy who was just waiting for people to abandon carts because the carts have dollars in them, and I wanted to yell at the guy who was yelling at him. It's not like he was hurting anybody!

At 9/10/2008 09:11:00 PM, Blogger Tweety said...

I am slowly getting to love your entries. I like your way of looking at the world.


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