Day Cabbie

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


I was on my way to Ocean Beach to watch the moonset. A friendly-looking gray-haired guy was standing at a bus stop in the deep Richmond, and I pulled over. I knew right away that our paths had crossed before.

He was going to the VA hospital just a few blocks away.

"I am pretty sure I have met you or seen you before."

"Uhhh.." He didn't seem to recognize me.

"Do you work with the public?"

"No, but I used to own a café."

"Which one?"

"It was on Page and Octavia-"

"That's it!" I suddenly saw him standing behind the counter of that café with a friendly smile on his face. I recognized this image as a memory of mine. "I used to come in there all the time!"

"Ah. What a coincidence."

"I used to come in there for a bagel with sun-dried tomato cream cheese all the time." It is true.

"You're making me hungry for some coffee or tea."

When I dropped him off, I said "It was nice to see you again."

"It was nice to see you again too. Coincidence."

This was the second time he talked about a coincidence. But I knew that it wasn't a coincidence because earlier that morning I had been tired and cranky, and I had asked the universe to lead me to a better-feeling place. And after this encounter, I was feeling better.


It was the day of dead Christmas trees. They were on almost every street corner.

A guy with stylish glasses and shaggy black hair flagged me down at Market and Van Ness.

"24th and Church, please."

I wanted to say "Hey, that's my neighborhood!" but I didn't. In fact, I didn't say anything during the whole ride, and neither did he. But the radio was playing Radiohead, and I got the sense he appreciated and enjoyed that.

On 24th, right before Church, I said "Can I drop you off here?"

"Across the street, please," he said, so I crossed Church.

'I bet he works at the Shoe Biz,' I thought, so I stopped right in front of the Shoe Biz.

I watched him after he got out of the cab, and he walked across the street, to a new clothing store called Cary Lane. The store was still closed, and he unlocked it.

Since 24th Street is my neighborhood, I knew that Cary Lane had only been there for a month or two. I also knew that before the store was empty for a few months, there had been a small grocery store in there that I had loved going to until it went out of business. I still miss it. I wondered if my passenger knew about the grocery store and ever felt the ghosts of vegetables and loaves of bread.

A little later for lunch, I tried to go to the Indian restaurant another cabbie had recommended to me a while ago. Unfortunately it was no longer there, and a Thai restaurant was there instead. I decided to eat there, and the Tofu Prik King was actually really tasty. I wondered if the friendly girls working there ever felt the ghosts of Naan and Paneer Tikka Masala.