Day Cabbie

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


I took a couple from a hotel downtown to a car rental place at Fisherman's Wharf. It turned out that the woman was German. She had moved to America at the age of 18. I had been 20 when I came. She felt like the kind of woman my mom would be friends with. They were about the same age too.

We spoke in German for a little bit but then switched back to English so that her companion could understand us. She was from Berlin. I told her that if I had stayed in Germany, I would have wanted to live in Berlin. We agreed that Berlin and San Francisco had a similar feel. We also agreed that Cologne was a great city but a little stuffier than Berlin. She told me that she loved America and loved living here, but that she was German at heart. She asked me if I felt the same way. I told her that I was going through a phase where I was feeling very bitter about my German upbringing and that I was having a hard time seeing any positive in it. I asked her how she was able to prefer it here while at the same time appreciating her Germanness. She told me that some of her American friends of 40 years have helped her see how valuable some of her German traits were, such as that she was honest and hard-working.

I told her that I hoped to some day get to where she was today, and that it didn't feel good to be so negative about one's origin.

I dropped them off near Fisherman's Wharf, we shook hands, and I found out that her name was Dörte. I was about to get back into the car and leave.

"Vera," she called me back, pronouncing my name the German way. I turned back.

"One thing only: Keep the faith. You will get to where you want to go." She held both of my hands in front of her chest and said it with such emphasis and sincerity that I almost started crying.

Later, at the corner of 9th Avenue and Irving, I saw a couple standing on the street, kissing and hugging good-bye. When the girl had left and the boy was facing the street ready to cross it, our eyes met, and I wondered what he was thinking.


At 9/12/2008 12:15:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Russian word for faith is "vera."

At 1/08/2009 10:56:00 AM, Blogger Gwendolyn H. Barry said...

vera, these are excellent, simple yet powerful stories. and I'm learning things from your experiences..ta! I'm only on the road for 6 wks... so I feel as though I've struck counseling gold with your blog! ghb


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